Quality assessment in light microscopy for routine use through simple tools and robust metrics

Orestis Faklaris, Leslie Bancel-Vallée, Aurélien Dauphin, Baptiste Monterroso, Perrine Frère, David Geny, Tudor Manoliu, Sylvain de Rossi, Fabrice P. Cordelières, Damien Schapman, Roland Nitschke, Julien Cau, Thomas Guilbert
Journal of Cell Biology. 2022-09-29; 221(11):
DOI: 10.1083/jcb.202107093

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Although there is a need to demonstrate reproducibility in light microscopy acquisitions, the lack of standardized guidelines monitoring microscope health status over time has so far impaired the widespread use of quality control (QC) measurements. As scientists from 10 imaging core facilities who encounter various types of projects, we provide affordable hardware and open source software tools, rigorous protocols, and define reference values to assess QC metrics for the most common fluorescence light microscopy modalities. Seven protocols specify metrics on the microscope resolution, field illumination flatness, chromatic aberrations, illumination power stability, stage drift, positioning repeatability, and spatial-temporal noise of camera sensors. We designed the MetroloJ_QC ImageJ/Fiji Java plugin to incorporate the metrics and automate analysis. Measurements allow us to propose an extensive characterization of the QC procedures that can be used by any seasoned microscope user, from research biologists with a specialized interest in fluorescence light microscopy through to core facility staff, to ensure reproducible and quantifiable microscopy results.

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