Super-resolution orientation estimation and localization of fluorescent dipoles using 3-D steerable filters
Fluorophores that are fixed during image acquisition produce a diffraction pattern that is characteristic of the orientation of the fluorophore’s underlying dipole. Fluorescence localization microscopy techniques such as PALM and STORM achieve super-resolution by applying Gaussian-based fitting algorithms to in-focus images of individual fluorophores; when applied to fixed dipoles, this can lead to a bias in the range of 5-20 nm.We introduce a method for the joint estimation of position and orientation of dipoles, based on the representation of a physically realistic image formation model as a 3-D steerable filter. Our approach relies on a single, defocused acquisition. We establish theoretical, localization-based resolution limits on estimation accuracy using Cramér-Rao bounds, and experimentally show that estimation accuracies of at least 5 nm for position and of at least 2 degrees for orientation can be achieved. Patterns generated by applying the image formation model to estimated position/orientation pairs closely match experimental observations.