This group has the potential to change the way in which microscope quality control procedures are performed and reported. Quantitative fluorescence microscopy techniques necessitate the standardisation of acquisition protocols but, reporting the performance of the microscope itself, arguably as important for such measurements, has hitherto not received much attention.
An inevitable consequence of the standardisation of microscope assessment procedures will be the want to make inter- and intra- manufacturer comparisons. However, we view with more importance the ability to longitudinally follow and report system performance for a given period.
If successful, the project will allow microscopists to streamline QC procedures and compare microscope metrics longitudinally to facilitate long-term system monitoring. Importantly, the tools and procedures developed will allow the optical imaging community to easily embrace and adopt microscope quality control procedures. It will also make them more accessible to inexperienced microscopists. Ultimately, better quality control procedures will lead to more reproducible and robust imaging data and improve the quality of microscopy-based research.
Researchers (often, inexperienced microscopists): simplification and interpretation of QC procedures.
Publishers or those interpreting images: microscope performance metrics can be shared alongside imaging data.
Microscope custodians: reduction in the amount of time spent on QC procedures.
Microscope manufacturers: time-resolved microscope metrics will help to identify common microscope performance issues which will feed into future product development.
Funding bodies: through improved QC approaches, quality of imaging data and scientific output will increase.
Microscope user: better understanding of microscope performance