Persistent angular structure: new insights from diffusion magnetic resonance imaging data
We determine a statistic called the (radially) persistent angular structure (PAS) from samples of the Fourier transform of a three-dimensional function. The method has applications in diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which samples the Fourier transform of the probability density function of particle displacements. The PAS is then a representation of the relative mobility of particles in each direction. In PAS-MRI, we compute the PAS in each voxel of an image. This technique has biomedical applications, where it reveals the orientations of microstructural fibres, such as white-matter fibres in the brain. Scanner time is a significant factor in determining the amount of data available in clinical brain scans. Here, we use measurements acquired for diffusion-tensor MRI, which is a routine diffusion imaging technique, but extract richer information. In particular, PAS-MRI can resolve the orientations of crossing fibres. We test PAS-MRI on human brain data and on synthetic data. The human brain data set comes from a standard acquisition scheme for diffusion-tensor MRI in which the samples in each voxel lie on a sphere in Fourier space.