PITA Fiscal Year 2008 Projects - Information and Systems Technology

Novel Methods And Applications For Chemical Image Analysis

The scope of the proposed research will be novel applications and development of advanced algorithms for image analysis as practiced in the chemical process industry. Image-based quantification of chemically-relevant properties provides an efficient complementary method to chemical analysis. We develop novel mathematical algorithms for several important chemical image analysis tasks including image segmentation, image matching, image recovery (e.g. de-noising and de-blurring), and tracking and change quantification in videos. An example application is quantifying chemically-relevant properties of fluid and foam in a laboratory setting based on pictures of test tubes containing fluid-and-foam mixtures. The key issues are that manual measurement of many properties for each test tube can be time consuming and some geometric/dynamic properties are difficult or impossible to be quantified manually.

We propose automated and semi-automated image analysis methods to facilitate measuring properties of fluid and foam in chemical processes. Quantitative information extracted by image analysis can also be correlated with fluid identity to create a database, perform data mining and help design future models of experimentation. Funding is sought for: (a) developing de-noising algorithms to process images of fluid-and-foam mixtures, (b) developing image matching algorithms to calibrate image acquisition and correct misalignment, (c) developing image segmentation methods for finding various regions of interest such as the fluid layers, foam, bubble, instrument, etc., (d) quantifying chemically-relevant fluid/foam properties based on image analysis results and performing statistical analysis, (e) writing a software prototype in Matlab to implement the proposed image analysis algorithms, (f) testing the software on a large number of images and based on the test results, keep improving the algorithms and implementation in an iterative manner, (g) supporting a full time Ph.D. student for 2 years, and supporting part time research by 2 undergraduate or masters students over the 2 years. The full time Ph.D. student experience will be complemented by 20 weeks of summer internship at Air Products, Inc.