Optical Sciences

Biomolecules and nanostructures

The Optical Sciences group studies the interaction of light and matter. Our current focus is on detection and sensing/imaging with an emphasis on the development of integrated photonics. We are part of Twente University's Department of Science and Technology and member of the MESA+ institute.


Cell biology beyond the diffraction limit: near-field scanning optical microscopy

(full pdf)

de Lange F, Cambi A, Huijbens R, de Bakker B, Rensen W, Garcia-Parajo M, van Hulst N, Figdor CG
vol 114 issue 23: p4153-p4160 DEC 2001

Throughout the years, fluorescence microscopy has proven to be an extremely versatile tool for cell biologists to study live cells. Its high sensitivity and non-invasiveness, together with the ever-growing spectrum of sophisticated fluorescent indicators, ensure that it will continue to have a prominent role in the future. A drawback of light microscopy is the fundamental limit of the attainable spatial resolution - similar to 250 urn - dictated by the laws of diffraction. The challenge to break this diffraction limit has led to the development of several novel imaging techniques. o­ne of them, near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM), allows fluorescence imaging at a resolution of o­nly a few tens of nanometers and, because of the extremely small near-field excitation volume, reduces background fluorescence from the cytoplasm to the extent that single-molecule detection sensitivity becomes within reach. NSOM allows detection of individual fluorescent proteins as part of multimolecular complexes o­n the surface of fixed cells, and similar results should be achievable under physiological conditions in the near future.
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