Main Menu (Mobile)- Block
Main Menu - Block
Individual carbocyanine dye molecules in a sub-monolayer spread have been imaged with near-field scanning optical microscopy. Molecules can be repeatedly detected and spatially localized (to approximately lambda/50 where lambda is the wavelength of light) with a sensitivity of at least 0.005 molecules/(Hz)(1/2) and the orientation of each molecular dipole can be determined. This information is exploited to map the electric field distribution in the near-field aperture with molecular spatial resolution.
Commentary: A paper of many firsts: the first single molecule microscopy; the first extended observations of single molecules under ambient conditions; the first localization of single molecules to near-molecular precision ( 15 nm), the first determination of the dipole axes of single fluorescent molecules; and the first near-molecular resolution optical microscopy, when a single fluorescent molecule was used to map the evanescent electric field components in the vicinity of a 100 nm diameter near-field aperture. Although eventually supplanted by simpler far-field methods, this paper ushered in the era of single molecule imaging and biophysics, and inspired the concept that would eventually lead to PALM. Even today, near-field single molecule detection lives on in the “zero mode waveguide” sequencing approach promoted by Pacific Biosciences.