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Many biological questions require fluorescence microscopy with a resolution beyond the diffraction limit of light. Super-resolution methods such as Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM), STimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy and Single Molecule Localisation Microscopy (SMLM) enable an increase in image resolution beyond the classical diffraction-limit. Here, we compare the individual strengths and weaknesses of each technique by imaging a variety of different subcellular structures in fixed cells. We chose examples ranging from well separated vesicles to densely packed three dimensional filaments. We used quantitative and correlative analyses to assess the performance of SIM, STED and SMLM with the aim of establishing a rough guideline regarding the suitability for typical applications and to highlight pitfalls associated with the different techniques.

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Animals, COS Cells, Cercopithecus aethiops, Humans, Macrophages, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Microtubules, Optical Imaging, Single Molecule Imaging