Journal article

Fast Interscale Wavelet Denoising of Poisson-Corrupted Images

We present a fast algorithm for image restoration in the presence of Poisson noise. Our approach is based on (1) the minimization of an unbiased estimate of the MSE for Poisson noise, (2) a linear parametrization of the denoising process and (3) the preservation of Poisson statistics across scales within the Haar DWT. The minimization of the MSE estimate is performed independently in each wavelet subband, but this is equivalent to a global image-domain MSE minimization, thanks to the orthogonality of Haar wavelets. This is an important difference with standard Poisson noise-removal methods, in particular those that rely on a non-linear preprocessing of the data to stabilize the variance. Our non-redundant interscale wavelet thresholding outperforms standard variance-stabilizing schemes, even when the latter are applied in a translation-invariant setting (cycle-spinning). It also achieves a quality similar to a state-of-the-art multiscale method that was specially developed for Poisson data. Considering that the computational complexity of our method is orders of magnitude lower, it is a very competitive alternative. The proposed approach is particularly promising in the context of low signal intensities and/or large data sets. This is illustrated experimentally with the denoising of low-count fluorescence micrographs of a biological sample.

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