Maximum-likelihood methods for processing signals from gamma-ray detectors

Harrison H. Barrett, William C.J. Hunter, Brian William Miller, Stephen K. Moore, Yichun Chen, Lars R. Furenlid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


In any gamma-ray detector, each event produces electrical signals on one or more circuit elements. From these signals, we may wish to determine the presence of an interaction; whether multiple interactions occurred; the spatial coordinates in two or three dimensions of at least the primary interaction; or the total energy deposited in that interaction. We may also want to compute listmode probabilities for tomographic reconstruction. Maximum-likelihood methods provide a rigorous and in some senses optimal approach to extracting this information, and the associated Fisher information matrix provides a way of quantifying and optimizing the information conveyed by the detector. This paper will review the principles of likelihood methods as applied to gamma-ray detectors and illustrate their power with recent results from the Center for Gamma-ray Imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5075989
Pages (from-to)725-735
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Depth of interaction
  • Gamma-ray detectors
  • Maximum-likelihood estimation
  • Scintillation cameras
  • Semiconductor arrays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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