single molecules with a digital camera!

April 19, 2006 at 4:58 pm | | cool results, everyday science, hardware, single molecules

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!


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  1. […] It looks like a tiny sun. But it’s just a fluorophore solution that has dried up and left some large aggregates (which emit at a longer wavelength—the green is the normal emission). You can also see a bleached region in the middle of the green from the peak of the laser excitation region, and a swath of bleached dye where I moved the stage up and down before the picture. You might even make out some single molecules in the center. Quite impressive for a simple digital camera! […]

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  2. […] I just don’t get enough of looking at single fluorescent molecules while I’m at lab. I miss them when I’m home. So we decorated our living room so that I […]

    Pingback by Everyday Scientist » single-molecule feng shui — November 14, 2007 #

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