vLUME: 3D Virtual Reality for Single-molecule Localization Microscopy

Alexander Spark, Alexandre Kitching, Daniel Esteban-Ferrer, Anoushka Handa, Alexander R Carr, Lisa-Maria Needham, Aleks Ponjavic, Mafalda Da Cunha Santos, James McColl, Christophe Leterrier, Simon J Davis, Ricardo Henriques, Steven F Lee (see publication in Journal )


Super-Resolution (SR) Microscopy based on 3D Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy (SMLM) is now well established and its wide-spread adoption has led to the development of more than 36 software packages, dedicated to quantitative evaluation of the spatial and temporal detection of fluorophore photoswitching. While the initial emphasis in the 3D SMLM field has clearly been on improving resolution and data quality, there is now a marked absence of 3D visualization approaches that enable the straightforward, high-fidelity exploration of this theme of data. Inspired by the horological phosphorescence points that illuminate watch-faces in the dark, we present vLUME (Visualization of the Universe in a Micro Environment, pronounced 9volume9) a free-for-academic-use immersive virtual reality-based (VR) visualization software package purposefully designed to render large 3D-SMLM data sets. vLUME enables robust visualization, segmentation and quantification of millions of fluorescence puncta from any 3D SMLM technique. vLUME has an intuitive user-interface and is compatible with all commercial VR hardware (Oculus Rift/Quest and HTC Vive). vLUME accelerates the analysis of highly complex 3D point-cloud data and the rapid identification of defects that are otherwise neglected in global quality metrics.