Quantifying accuracy and heterogeneity in single-molecule super-resolution microscopy.
IF: 17.694
Cited by: 9


The resolution and accuracy of single-molecule localization microscopes (SMLMs) are routinely benchmarked using simulated data, calibration rulers, or comparisons to secondary imaging modalities. However, these methods cannot quantify the nanoscale accuracy of an arbitrary SMLM dataset. Here, we show that by computing localization stability under a well-chosen perturbation with accurate knowledge of the imaging system, we can robustly measure the confidence of individual localizations without ground-truth knowledge of the sample. We demonstrate that our method, termed Wasserstein-induced flux (WIF), measures the accuracy of various reconstruction algorithms directly on experimental 2D and 3D data of microtubules and amyloid fibrils. We further show that WIF confidences can be used to evaluate the mismatch between computational models and imaging data, enhance the accuracy and resolution of reconstructed structures, and discover hidden molecular heterogeneities. As a computational methodology, WIF is broadly applicable to any SMLM dataset, imaging system, and localization algorithm.

MeSH terms

Computer Simulation
Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
Single Molecule Imaging


Mazidi, Hesam
Ding, Tianben
Nehorai, Arye
Lew, Matthew D

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