Knowledge Base

Have you ever wondered how superresolution microscopy works? What’s the difference between STED, STORM, and MINFLUX? What is “resolution” and what is a “PSF”? What is so special about the STEDYCON? Read on to find out.

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Everything about microscopes, dyes and superresolution

How the donut changed the world

Nobel laureate Stefan W. Hell shows a donut, the symbol for his groundbreaking idea of a donut-shaped laser beam.

For over a century, we stood at the edge of microscope resolution and cursed the inexorable blur of diffracted light. Instruments improved, but the fog never lifted. Then, one man stopped trying to control how light behaves. Armed with a donut-shaped laser beam, he instead commanded where it shines and untethered resolution forever.

So, you thought you knew what resolution is but were surprised to find out that light caps the detail of microscope images. There are workarounds, however, that bring increasingly fine detail into focus. Those workarounds push the boundaries of what we can resolve by manipulating where and when we detect signals from a specimen and thus, expand the levers we have to shrink the distance between two points.