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Posted: February 10, 2009

Optical nanoscopy breakthrough defeats defraction limit by one order of magnitude

(Nanowerk News) A collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Stanford University has demonstrated a breakthrough in optical nanoscopy, the science of imaging and sensing of nanoscale objects.
The research, led by professors Rafael Piestun of electrical and computer engineering at CU-Boulder and William E. Moerner of chemistry at Stanford, also involved doctoral students Sri Rama Prasanna Pavani of CU and Michael Thompson at Stanford.
The interdisciplinary work has demonstrated for the first time a method for three-dimensional optical imaging of objects smaller than 20 nanometers over a wide spatial range, hence defeating the so-called fundamental optical diffraction limit by one order of magnitude.
The findings are being published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences under the title "Three-Dimensional Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging Beyond the Diffraction Limit Using a Double-Helix Point Spread Function."
Optical imaging at these scales is of great interest in biomedical sciences and nanotechnology. The new findings, which provide a powerful tool for the "super resolution" of single molecules, have implications for characterizing defects in materials, the characterization of nanostructures, and the three-dimensional, biophysical and biomedical imaging of tagged molecules inside and outside of cells.
About University of Colorado at Boulder
As the flagship university of the state of Colorado, CU-Boulder is a dynamic community of scholars and learners situated on one of the most spectacular college campuses in the country. As one of 34 U.S. public institutions belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) – and the only member in the Rocky Mountain region – we have a proud tradition of academic excellence, with four Nobel laureates and more than 50 members of prestigious academic academies.
CU-Boulder has blossomed in size and quality since we opened our doors in 1877 – attracting superb faculty, staff, and students and building strong programs in the sciences, engineering, business, law, arts, humanities, education, music, and many other disciplines.
Source: University of Colorado at Boulder