Biological research increasingly demands the use of non-invasive and ultra-sensitive imaging techniques. The Airyscan technology was recently developed to bridge the gap between conventional confocal and super-resolution microscopy. This technique combines confocal imaging with a 0.2 Airy Unit pinhole, deconvolution and the pixel-reassignment principle in order to enhance both the spatial resolution and signal-to-noise-ratio without increasing the excitation power and acquisition time. Here, we present a detailed study evaluating the performance of Airyscan as compared to confocal microscopy by imaging a variety of reference samples and biological specimens with different acquisition and processing parameters. We found that the processed Airyscan images at default deconvolution settings have a spatial resolution similar to that of conventional confocal imaging with a pinhole setting of 0.2 Airy Units, but with a significantly improved signal-to-noise-ratio. Further gains in the spatial resolution could be achieved by the use of enhanced deconvolution filter settings, but at a steady loss in the signal-to-noise ratio, which at more extreme settings resulted in significant data loss and image distortion.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited