We developed an adaptive imaging framework for optimizing spatial resolution and signal strength in a light-sheet microscope. The framework, termed AutoPilot, comprises hardware and software modules for automatically measuring and compensating for mismatches between light-sheet and detection focal planes in living specimens. We prepared a protocol to document the implementation and use of this framework. This protocol enables researchers to introduce adaptive imaging capabilities in an existing light-sheet microscope or use our SiMView microscope blueprint to set up a new adaptive multiview light-sheet microscope. The protocol describes (i) the mechano-optical implementation of the adaptive imaging hardware, including technical drawings for all custom microscope components; (ii) the algorithms and software library for automated adaptive imaging, including the pseudocode and annotated source code for all software modules; and (iii) the execution of adaptive imaging experiments, as well as the configuration and practical use of the AutoPilot framework. Setup of the adaptive imaging hardware and software takes 1–2 weeks each. Previous experience with light-sheet microscopy and some familiarity with software engineering and building of optical instruments are recommended. Successful implementation of the protocol recovers near diffraction-limited performance in many parts of typical multicellular organisms studied with light-sheet microscopy, such as fruit fly and zebrafish embryos, for which resolution and signal strength are improved two- to fivefold.
The publication of the AutoPilot protocol is available from the literature section (Royer, Lemon, Chhetri and Keller 2018, Nature Protocols).
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