The hessian blob algorithm : precise particle detection in atomic force microscopy imagery
Imaging by atomic force microscopy (AFM) offers high-resolution descriptions of many biological systems; however, regardless of resolution, conclusions drawn from AFM images are only as robust as the analysis leading to those conclusions. Vital to the analysis of biomolecules in AFM imagery is the initial detection of individual particles from large-scale images. Threshold and watershed algorithms are conventional for automatic particle detection but demand manual image preprocessing and produce particle boundaries which deform as a function of user-defined parameters, producing imprecise results subject to bias. Here, we introduce the Hessian blob to address these shortcomings. Combining a scalespace framework with measures of local image curvature, the Hessian blob formally defines particle centers and their boundaries, both to subpixel precision. Resulting particle boundaries are independent of user defined parameters, with no image preprocessing required. We demonstrate through direct comparison that the Hessian blob algorithm more accurately detects biomolecules than conventional AFM particle detection techniques. Furthermore, the algorithm proves largely insensitive to common imaging artifacts and noise, delivering a stable framework for particle analysis in AFM.
Marsh BP, Chada N, Sanganna Gari RR, Sigdel KP, King GM. The hessian blob algorithm: precise particle detection in atomic force microscopy imagery. Sci Rep. 2018;8:978. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-19379-x.12 pages.