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Due to the optical principle and some imperfections of the conversion process, phase contrast microscopy images contain artifacts such as the bright halo surrounding the specimen and shade-off (the intensity profile of a large specimen gradually increases from the edges to the center, and even approaches the intensity of the surrounding background medium). Over time, biologists have learned how to overcome or even exploit those artifacts for interpreting phase contrast images. When computer-based microscopy image analysis began to relieve humans from tedious manual labelling (House et al., 2009; Li et al., 2008; Smith et al., 2008; Yang et al., 2005), those artifacts presented significant challenges to automated image processing. In particular, they hinder the process of segmenting images into cells and background, which is the most critical step in almost all cell image analysis applications.
(Yin., 2012) Understanding the Phase Contrast Optics to Restore Artifact-free Microscopy Images for Segmentation. Med Image Anal.