Unbiased choice of global clustering parameters for single-molecule localization microscopy

Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 29;12(1):22561. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-27074-1.


Single-molecule localization microscopy resolves objects below the diffraction limit of light via sparse, stochastic detection of target molecules. Single molecules appear as clustered detection events after image reconstruction. However, identification of clusters of localizations is often complicated by the spatial proximity of target molecules and by background noise. Clustering results of existing algorithms often depend on user-generated training data or user-selected parameters, which can lead to unintentional clustering errors. Here we suggest an unbiased algorithm (FINDER) based on adaptive global parameter selection and demonstrate that the algorithm is robust to noise inclusion and target molecule density. We benchmarked FINDER against the most common density based clustering algorithms in test scenarios based on experimental datasets. We show that FINDER can keep the number of false positive inclusions low while also maintaining a low number of false negative detections in densely populated regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Microscopy* / methods
  • Nanotechnology
  • Single Molecule Imaging* / methods