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Breaking through the diffraction limit: Super Resolution Microscopy as a chemistry tool

Caitlin Cato
University of Georgia
Chemistry Building, Room 400
Analytical Seminar

Traditionally used in cell biology, super resolution microscopy (SRM) has become a valuable tool for observing chemistry in action. With resolution capabilities down to 10 nm, SRM has succeeded in observing samples below the theoretical limit of light microscopy. The major SRM techniques utilize the chemical potential and photoactivation characteristics of fluorophores as well as deconvolution of raw image data to obtain high resolution images. Development of these super resolution techniques won Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, and William E. Moerner the 2014 Nobel prize in chemistry. The greatest strength of this tool is that it provides a way to visualize specimens in real-time with single molecule resolution without the harsh sample preparation required of electron microscopy. As chemists, this tool enables the observation and characterization of chemical reactions, supramolecular structures, and chemical composition in a way that is impossible to analyze using any other technique.

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