Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

A Simple Metric for Determining Resolution in Optical, Ion, and Electron Microscope Images



Alexandra Curtin, Aric W. Sanders, Ryan Skinner


A resolution metric intended for the resolution analysis of arbitrary spatially calibrated images is presented in this paper. By fitting a simple sigmoidal function to the pixel intensities across slices of the image taken perpendicular to light-dark edges, the mean distance over which the light-dark transition occurs can be determined. A fixed multiple of this characteristic distance is then reported as the image resolution. The prefactor is determined by analysis of direct scanning transmission electron microscope high-angle annular dark field (STEM HADDF) images of Si[110]. This metric has been applied to optical, scanning electron microscope (SEM), and helium ion microscope (HIM) images. This method provides quantitative feedback about image resolution independent of the tool on which the data was collected.
Microscopy and Microanalysis


resolution, precision imaging, microscopy


Curtin, A. , Sanders, A. and , R. (2015), A Simple Metric for Determining Resolution in Optical, Ion, and Electron Microscope Images, Microscopy and Microanalysis, [online], (Accessed July 21, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created May 26, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018