This paper considers the problem of detecting lines in speckle imagery, such as that produced by synthetic aperture radar (SAR) or ultrasound techniques. Using the physical principles that account for the speckle phenomenon, we derive the optimal detector for lines in fully developed speckle, and we compare the optimal detector to several suboptimal detection rules that are more computationally efficient. We show that when the noise is uncorrelated, a very simple suboptimal detection rule is nearly optimal, and that even in colored speckle, a related class of detectors can approach optimal performance. Finally, we also discuss the application of this technique to medical ultrasonic images, where the detection of tissue boundaries is considered as a problem of line detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1700-1714
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


  • Optimal detection
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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