The use of partial differential equations in image processing has become an active area of research in the last few years. In particular, active contours are being used for image segmentation, either explicitly as snakes, or implicitly through the level set approach. In this paper, we consider the use of the implicit active contour approach for segmenting scientific images of pollen grains obtained using a scanning electron microscope. Our goal is to better understand the pros and cons of these techniques and to compare them with the traditional approaches such as the Canny and SUSAN edge detectors. The preliminary results of our study show that the level set method is computationally expensive and requires the setting of several different parameters. However, it results in closed
contours, which may be useful in separating objects from the background in an image.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.