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Rapid, accurate particle tracking by calculation of radial symmetry centers

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I introduce an algorithm for subpixel localization of imaged objects based on an analytic, non-iterative calculation of the best-fit radial symmetry center. This approach yields tracking accuracies that are near theoretical limits, similarly to Gaussian fitting, but with orders-of-magnitude faster execution time, lower sensitivity to nearby particles and applicability to any radially symmetric intensity distribution. I demonstrate the method with several types of data, including super-resolution microscopy images.

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Figure 1: Illustration of particle tracking based on radial symmetry.
Figure 2: Characterizations and applications of radial symmetry–based particle localization.

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  • 21 June 2012

    In the version of this article initially published online, the accepted date was incorrect. The error has been corrected for the print, PDF and HTML versions of this article.


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I thank H. Deberg, W. Draper, G. Hunter, J. Liphardt, P. Lu, P. Selvin, M. Tjioe, E. Weeks and D. Weitz for sharing and discussing experimental data, and E. Corwin and D. Grier for comments and discussions. This work is supported by the US National Science Foundation (award numbers 0746038 and 1006171).

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R.P. is the sole contributor to this work.

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Correspondence to Raghuveer Parthasarathy.

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Parthasarathy, R. Rapid, accurate particle tracking by calculation of radial symmetry centers. Nat Methods 9, 724–726 (2012).

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