New J. Phys. 19 (2) 025013 [2017-02-27; online 2017-02-27]
A common method to assess the performance of (super resolution) microscopes is to use the localization precision of emitters as an estimate for the achieved resolution. Naturally, this is widely used in super resolution methods based on single molecule stochastic switching. This concept suffers from the fact that it is hard to calibrate measures against a real sample (a phantom), because true absolute positions of emitters are almost always unknown. For this reason, resolution estimates are potentially biased in an image since one is blind to true position accuracy, i.e. deviation in position measurement from true positions. We have solved this issue by imaging nanorods fabricated with DNA-origami. The nanorods used are designed to have emitters attached at each end in a well-defined and highly conserved distance. These structures are widely used to gauge localization precision. Here, we additionally determined the true achievable localization accuracy and compared this figure of merit to localization precision values for two common super resolution microscope methods STED and STORM.