Dark pixel intensity determination and its applications in normalizing different exposure time and autofluorescence removal

J Microsc. 2012 Apr;246(1):1-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.2011.03581.x. Epub 2011 Dec 22.


The purpose of this study is to investigate how to scale pixel intensity acquired from one exposure time to another. This is required when comparing grayscale images acquired at different exposure times and other image processing such as autofluorescence removal. Pixel intensity is linear to exposure time as long as images are acquired at the linear range of a camera, but importantly there exists an intercept, which is set by the camera. We termed this intercept as dark pixel intensity, as it is the pixel intensity under conditions of no light and zero exposure time. Dark pixel intensity is determined by camera's readout noise (electron/pixel), gain, and DC offset. Knowing dark pixel intensity, image acquired from one exposure time can be linearly scaled to an image at a different exposure time. Dark pixel intensity can be directly measured by obtaining an image at no light and zero (or minimum) exposure time. It can be also indirectly calculated by capturing images at a series of exposure times. Finally, the prestained and poststained images were acquired at their optimal exposures and autofluorescence was completely removed by normalizing images with the exposure time ratio and dark pixel intensity followed by subtraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / standards*
  • Pathology / methods*
  • Pathology / standards*
  • Skin / pathology