Molecules and their chemical interactions lie at the heart of the world around us. To understand biology, physics, and materials science on the molecular scale, it is therefore imperative that we bridge the gap between the angstrom-to-nanometer scale of molecules and the micron scale of traditional optical microscopy. Our research group is addressing this fundamental challenge by developing single-molecule fluorescence imaging as a flexible, general technology for ultrahigh-resolution, real-time imaging.
Single-molecule methods have had high impact across the disciplines because they enable high-sensitivity measurements, eliminate heterogeneity in characterization, resolve positions on the nanometer scale, and characterize motions and features in situ—even in live cells. With these approaches, we are answering fundamental questions in bacterial cell biology and metal nanoparticle plasmonics.