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Spatial encoding speeds up single-molecule fluorescence technique

Single-molecule spectroscopy and imaging has been an essential workhorse in biophysics and many other areas. Particularly, an array based detector such as EMCCD or sCMOS camera is a powerful tool for the simultaneous study of a large number of molecules with high sensitivity. However, its frame rate has not much improved over two decades (from 30 fps to 50 fps), which precludes investigating fast dynamics of biomolecules.

Jialei Tang, a graduate student of Optical Nanoscopy Lab led by Dr. Kyu Young Han, has devised a novel method that increases the temporal resolution of any type of array detector by > 5-fold with full field-of-view. Inspired by a technique used in fast photography, he spread single-molecule spots to adjacent pixels by rotating a mirror in the detection path during the exposure time of a single frame. He has demonstrated its feasibility by monitoring fast blinking of an organic dye, the dissociation kinetics of very short DNA and conformational changes of biomolecules with much improved temporal resolution than the conventional method. His method will be a valuable tool in single-molecule biophysics. This work was accomplished by the collaboration with Dr. Shuo Pang’s lab, and has been published in this week Scientific Reports.

Posted Saturday, September 9, 2017

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