New insights into the fractional order diffusion equation using entropy and kurtosis

Carson Ingo*, Richard L. Magin, Todd B. Parrish

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Fractional order derivative operators offer a concise description to model multi-scale, heterogeneous and non-local systems. Specifically, in magnetic resonance imaging, there has been recent work to apply fractional order derivatives to model the non-Gaussian diffusion signal, which is ubiquitous in the movement of water protons within biological tissue. To provide a new perspective for establishing the utility of fractional order models, we apply entropy for the case of anomalous diffusion governed by a fractional order diffusion equation generalized in space and in time. This fractional order representation, in the form of the Mittag-Leffler function, gives an entropy minimum for the integer case of Gaussian diffusion and greater values of spectral entropy for non-integer values of the space and time derivatives. Furthermore, we consider kurtosis, defined as the normalized fourth moment, as another probabilistic description of the fractional time derivative. Finally, we demonstrate the implementation of anomalous diffusion, entropy and kurtosis measurements in diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging in the brain of a chronic ischemic stroke patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5838-5852
Number of pages15
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2014


  • Anomalous diffusion
  • Continuous time random walk
  • Entropy
  • Fractional derivative
  • Kurtosis
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mittag-Leffler function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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