ANSOM — apertureless near-field scanning optical microscope is able to resolve less than 10 nm. Prior versions could only get to about 20nm. The Stephen Quake group, California Institute of Technology, developed a new phase filtering method. The fluorescence near-field microscope can distinguish single molecules.
The microscope’s phase filtering method can also be applied to such things a nanoantennas and supersharp carbon nanotube probes. The resolution of both of these instruments could be improved with the group’s process. Additionally, the microscope could be altered to work on a level that approaches the resolution of an electron microscope.
This new microscope, if properly adapted, could image live cells. It could look at things in motion. Observe proteins that are on the cell surface membranes. This microscope offers a powerful new tool for imaging single molecules and nanostructures.