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Estimating small signals by using maximum likelihood and Poisson statistics

Hannam, Mark and Thompson, William J. 1999. Estimating small signals by using maximum likelihood and Poisson statistics. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment 431 (1-2) , pp. 239-251. 10.1016/S0168-9002(99)00269-7

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Abstract

Estimation of small signals from counting experiments with backgrounds larger than signals is solved using maximum likelihood estimation for situations in which both signal and background statistics are Poissonian. Confidence levels are discussed, and Poisson, Gauss and least-squares fitting methods are compared. Efficient algorithms that estimate signal strengths and confidence levels are devised for computer implementation. Examples from simulated data and a low count rate experiment in nuclear physics are given.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords: Upper limit; Confidence intervals; Maximum likelihood; Poisson statistics; Gaussian distribution; Least squares
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0168-9002
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:51
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/28134

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