These are single fluorescent molecules imaged using a microscope and a hand-held consumer digital SLR camera (i.e. Nikon D90):
I think that’s pretty impressive. Usually, we use expensive, cooled CCD cameras which are very sensitive and designed for scientific imaging. Here, I used a (cheaper) conventional digital camera and even got a color image. This is possible in part because this fluorophore (one of the Moerner/Twieg labs’ DCDHF dyes) is super bright and long-lived!
A fellow labmember showed me how to use MatLab to make a 3-dimensional surface from an image of single fluorescent molecules, where z is the intensity. Here’s a taste. I converted this:
The funny thing is that the pretty image is only that: it actually contains less information than the 2-d grayscale image, becuase it needed smoothing and convolving with Gaussians to make it look so nice. But that kinda shit brings in the big $$.