Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Clarifying real-time fluorescence microscopy imaging by limiting shot noise using a deep learning method

06 January 2023

Noise Cancelling

How much information is lost in the noise? Often randomness – or stochasticity – in weak signals creates a muffling background babble, making it difficult to pick out subtle sights or sounds. Here, researchers use a new approach called DeepCAD-RT to see through the noise when watching immune cells called neutrophils (stained with green fluorescence) moving through an injured mouse brain under a microscope. But they are limited by compromise – signals must be bright enough to capture, but not so bright as to harm the living tissue – the small numbers of light particles or photons often scatter and fall randomly, creating shot-noise. The team fed pairs of consecutive images from the movie on the left into a neural network, training it to spot the tell-tale movements 'real' fluorescent signals. On the right, they cancel the noise – producing a clearer, real-time video of the moving cells. Similar approaches could be applied to other noisy biology.

Written by John Ankers

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