Image-Based Size Analysis of Agglomerated and Partially Sintered Particles via Convolutional Neural Networks

07/11/2019
by   Max Frei, et al.
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There is a high demand for fully automated methods for the analysis of particle size distributions of agglomerated, sintered or occluded primary particles. Therefore, a novel, deep learning-based, method for the pixel-perfect detection and sizing of agglomerated, aggregated or occluded primary particles was proposed and tested. As a specialty, the training of the utilized convolutional neural networks was carried out using only synthetic images, to avoid the laborious task of manual annotation and to increase the quality of the ground truth. Despite the training on synthetic images, the proposed method performs excellent on real world samples of sintered silica nanoparticles with various sintering degrees and varying image conditions. In a direct comparison, the proposed method clearly outperforms two state-of-the-art methods for automated image-based particle size analysis (Hough transformation and the ImageJ ParticleSizer plug-in), with respect to precision and speed, thereby advancing into regions of human-like performance and reliability.

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