Imaging and Probing Cells Beyond the Optical Diffraction Limit

Mark Schüttpelz, Thomas R Huser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Super-resolution microscopy techniques have seen a dramatic increase in activity in recent years. The origins of super-resolution optical microscopy are closely tied in with the first experimental realization of near-field optics, which enabled optical imaging beyond the diffraction limit. The first successful demonstration of far-field super resolution optical microscopy was achieved using the concept of stimulated emission depletion (STED). In the mid-2000s, wide-field microscopy approaches utilizing the localization of single fluorescent molecules have emerged. The most prominent implementations of this concept, such as photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) or stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) use photoswitching of molecular fluorescence emission to identify individual molecules, the coordinates of which are then located on the nanometer scale. This chapter discusses the most prominent far-field super-resolution optical microscopy approaches in greater detail and also explains some of their recent successes, and speculate on their potential and further developments for the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiomedical Photonics, Spectroscopy, and Microscopy
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781119011804
ISBN (Print)9781118225554
StatePublished - Feb 27 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffraction limit
  • Nanometer scale
  • Optical imaging
  • Photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM)
  • Stimulated emission depletion (STED)
  • Stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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