Single-shell high angular resolution diffusion imaging data (HARDI) may be decomposed into a sum of eigenpolynomials of the Laplace-Beltrami operator on the unit sphere. The resulting representation combines the strengths hitherto offered by higher order tensor decomposition in a tensorial framework and spherical harmonic expansion in an analytical framework, but removes some of the conceptual weaknesses of either. In particular it admits analytically closed form expressions for Tikhonov regularization schemes and estimation of an orientation distribution function via the Funk-Radon Transform in tensorial form, which previously required recourse to spherical harmonic decomposition. As such it provides a natural point of departure for a Riemann-Finsler extension of the geometric approach towards tractography and connectivity analysis as has been stipulated in the context of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), while at the same time retaining the natural coarse-to-fine hierarchy intrinsic to spherical harmonic decomposition.
Keywords: High angular resolution diffusion imaging · Diffusion tensor imaging · Tikhonov regularization · Orientation distribution function · Riemann-Finsler geometry.