In this article we study both left-invariant (convection-)diffusions and left-invariant Hamilton-Jacobi equations (erosions) on the space R3 x S2 of 3D-positions and orientations naturally embedded in the group SE(3) of 3D-rigid body movements. The general motivation for these (convection-)diffusions and erosions is to obtain crossing-preserving fiber enhancement on probability densities defined on the space of positions and orientations.
The linear left-invariant (convection-)diffusions are forward Kolmogorov equations of Brownian motions on R3 x S2 and can be solved by R3 x S2-convolution with the corresponding Green’s functions or by a finite difference scheme. The left-invariant Hamilton-Jacobi equations are Bellman equations of cost processes on R3 x S2 and they are solved by a morphological R3 x S2-convolution with the corresponding Green’s functions. We will reveal the remarkable analogy between these erosions/dilations and diffusions. Furthermore, we consider pseudo-linear scale spaces on the space of positions and orientations that combines dilation and diffusion in a single evolution.
In our design and analysis for appropriate linear, non-linear, morphological and pseudo-linear scale spaces on R3 x S2 we employ the underlying differential geometry on SE(3), where the frame of left-invariant vector fields serves as a moving frame of reference. Furthermore, we will present new and simpler finite difference schemes for our diffusions, which are clear improvements of our previous finite difference schemes.
We apply our theory to the enhancement of fibres in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques (HARDI and DTI) for imaging water diffusion processes in fibrous tissues such as brain white matter and muscles. We provide experiments of our crossing-preserving (non-linear) left-invariant evolutions on neural images of a human brain containing crossing fibers.