Cell biology beyond the diffraction limit: near-field scanning optical microscopy.
SourceJournal of Cell Science, 114, Pt 23, (2001), pp. 4153-4160
Article / Letter to editor
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Cell Biology (UMC)
Journal of Cell Science
iss. Pt 23
Throughout the years, fluorescence microscopy has proven to be an extremely versatile tool for cell biologists to study live cells. Its high sensitivity and non-invasiveness, together with the ever-growing spectrum of sophisticated fluorescent indicators, ensure that it will continue to have a prominent role in the future. A drawback of light microscopy is the fundamental limit of the attainable spatial resolution--approximately 250 nm--dictated by the laws of diffraction. The challenge to break this diffraction limit has led to the development of several novel imaging techniques. One of them, near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM), allows fluorescence imaging at a resolution of only a few tens of nanometers and, because of the extremely small near-field excitation volume, reduces background fluorescence from the cytoplasm to the extent that single-molecule detection sensitivity becomes within reach. NSOM allows detection of individual fluorescent proteins as part of multimolecular complexes on the surface of fixed cells, and similar results should be achievable under physiological conditions in the near future.
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