The automated tape-collecting ultramicrotome (ATUM) makes it possible to collect large numbers of ultrathin sections quickly-the equivalent of a petabyte of high resolution images each day. However, even high throughput image acquisition strategies generate images far more slowly (at present ~1 terabyte per day). We therefore developed WaferMapper, a software package that takes a multi-resolution approach to mapping and imaging select regions within a library of ultrathin sections. This automated method selects and directs imaging of corresponding regions within each section of an ultrathin section library (UTSL) that may contain many thousands of sections. Using WaferMapper, it is possible to map thousands of tissue sections at low resolution and target multiple points of interest for high resolution imaging based on anatomical landmarks. The program can also be used to expand previously imaged regions, acquire data under different imaging conditions, or re-image after additional tissue treatments.
Keywords: ATUM; connectomics; imaging software; scanning electron microscopy; serial-section electron microscopy; tape collection; ultramicrotome; volume EM.