Super-resolution microscopy (SRM) describes any optical technique used to resolve structures beyond the diffraction-limited resolution of conventional light microscopy. The fine mapping of cellular structures such as neural synapses, golgi apparatus, and nuclear membranes reveals more biological information when components are resolved beyond the diffraction limit and features can be elucidated at the sub-organelle level.
In conventional microscopy, due to interactions between visible light and the surrounding medium, a single fluorophore—which is less than a few nanometers in diameter—can only be resolved as a point spread function that is roughly half the light wavelength for lateral resolution and roughly twice that in depth. This means that if two or more fluorophores are within a few hundred nanometers of one another, their images become blurred together, limiting resolution.
SRM offers techniques to approach the resolution historically reserved for electron microscopy with all the benefits of targeting and multiplexing for biological context. To achieve optimum performance in the various SRM techniques and more traditional two-photon microscopy, different fluorophore requirements must be met for each (details below).
We are a leader in fluorescence technology, and Molecular Probes® products are widely published in SRM applications. The Molecular Probes® product range offers multiple dye combinations that can be selected for multiplexing in any of the SRM techniques. Individual SRM techniques are highlighted below. Select the technique you're interested in, and the linked pages will help you identify the dyes that work best for that application. Check back frequently; this is a rapidly developing field with regular updates to both products and publications.
Molecular Probes® Handbook