The point spread function (PSF) of a widefield fluorescence microscope is not suitable for three-dimensional superresolution imaging. We characterize the localization precision of a unique method for 3D superresolution imaging featuring a double-helix point spread function (DH-PSF). The DH-PSF is designed to have two lobes that rotate about their midpoint in any transverse plane as a function of the axial position of the emitter. In effect, the PSF appears as a double helix in three dimensions. By comparing the Cramer-Rao bound of the DH-PSF with the standard PSF as a function of the axial position, we show that the DH-PSF has a higher and more uniform localization precision than the standard PSF throughout a 2 μm depth of field. Comparisons between the DH-PSF and other methods for 3D superresolution are briefly discussed. We also illustrate the applicability of the DH-PSF for imaging weak emitters in biological systems by tracking the movement of quantum dots in glycerol and in live cells.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.