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Biological research increasingly demands the use of non-invasive and ultra-sensitive imaging techniques. The Airyscan technology was recently developed to bridge the gap between conventional confocal and super-resolution microscopy. This technique combines confocal imaging with a 0.2 Airy Unit pinhole, deconvolution and the pixel-reassignment principle in order to enhance both the spatial resolution and signal-to-noise-ratio without increasing the excitation power and acquisition time. Here, we present a detailed study evaluating the performance of Airyscan as compared to confocal microscopy by imaging a variety of reference samples and biological specimens with different acquisition and processing parameters. We found that the processed Airyscan images at default deconvolution settings have a spatial resolution similar to that of conventional confocal imaging with a pinhole setting of 0.2 Airy Units, but with a significantly improved signal-to-noise-ratio. Further gains in the spatial resolution could be achieved by the use of enhanced deconvolution filter settings, but at a steady loss in the signal-to-noise ratio, which at more extreme settings resulted in significant data loss and image distortion.

Original publication




Journal article





Publication Date





41 - 41


Airyscan, confocal and super-resolution microscopy, signal-to-noise-ratio, microscopy