Researchers have developed a novel method for optical microscopy. Using biological motors and single quantum dots, they acquire ultra-high-resolution images. The resolution of conventional optical microscopy is limited by the fundamental physical principle of diffraction to about one half of the wavelength of the light: If the distance between two objects is smaller than this so-called "diffraction limit," they can no longer be visually separated their image appears "blurred ."
To acquire optical images at the scale of few nanometers, this is clearly not sufficient. The study was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. In a new study, physicists from the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) and the Technische Universität Dresden now show that it is possible to measure these near-fields with significantly less effort. They used a biomolecular transport system to slide many extremely small optical nano-probes over a surface.