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Nano Lett. 2010 Jan;10(1):211-8. doi: 10.1021/nl903295p.

Localizing and tracking single nanoscale emitters in three dimensions with high spatiotemporal resolution using a double-helix point spread function.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Three-dimensional nanoscale localization and tracking of dim single emitters can be obtained with a widefield fluorescence microscope exhibiting a double-helix point spread function (DH-PSF). We describe in detail how the localization precision quantitatively depends upon the number of photons detected and the z position of the nanoscale emitter, thereby showing a approximately 10 nm localization capability along x, y, and z in the limit of weak emitters. Experimental measurements are compared to Fisher information calculations of the ultimate localization precision inherent in the DH-PSF. The DH-PSF, for the first time, is used to track single quantum dots in aqueous solution and a quantum dot-labeled structure inside a living cell in three dimensions.

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