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J Microsc. 1994 Oct;176(Pt 1):23-33.

Scanning microphotolysis: a new photobleaching technique based on fast intensity modulation of a scanned laser beam and confocal imaging.

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Institut für Medizinische Physik und Biophysik, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany.


The fluorescence photobleaching method has been widely used to study molecular transport in single living cells and other microsystems while confocal microscopy has opened new avenues to high-resolution, three-dimensional imaging. A new technique, scanning microphotolysis (Scamp), combines the potential of photobleaching, beam scanning and confocal imaging. A confocal scanning laser microscope was equipped with a sufficiently powerful laser and a novel device, the 'Scamper'. This consisted essentially of a filter changer, an acousto-optical modulator (AOM) and a computer. The computer was programmed to activate the AOM during scanning according to a freely defined image mask. As a result, almost any desired pattern could be bleached ('written') into fluorescent samples at high definition and then imaged ('read') at non-bleaching conditions, employing full confocal resolution. Furthermore, molecular transport could be followed by imaging the dissipation of bleach patterns. Experiments with living cells concerning dynamic processes in cytoskeletal filaments and the lateral mobility of membrane lipids suggest a wide range of potential biological applications. Thus, Scamp offers new possibilities for the optical manipulation and analysis of both technical and biological microsystems.

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