Sheth, L. K.; Piotrowski, A. L. & Voss, N. R. Visualization and quality assessment of the contrast transfer function estimation. J Struct Biol, 2015, 222-234
The contrast transfer function (CTF) describes an undesirable distortion of image data from a transmission electron microscope. Many users of full-featured processing packages are often new to electron microscopy and are unfamiliar with the CTF concept. Here we present a common graphical output to clearly demonstrate the CTF fit quality independent of estimation software. Separately, many software programs exist to estimate the four CTF parameters, but their results are difficult to compare across multiple runs and it is all but impossible to select the best parameters to use for further processing. A new measurement is presented based on the correlation falloff of the calculated CTF oscillations against the normalized oscillating signal of the data, called the CTF resolution. It was devised to provide a robust numerical quality metric of every CTF estimation for high-throughput screening of micrographs and to select the best parameters for each micrograph. These new CTF visualizations and quantitative measures will help users better assess the quality of their CTF parameters and provide a mechanism to choose the best CTF tool for their data.