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Super-Resolution Optical Microscopy

Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy

  1. Jason J. Han1,
  2. Andrew P. Shreve1,
  3. James H. Werner2

Published Online: 12 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/0471266965.com128

Characterization of Materials

Characterization of Materials

How to Cite

Han, J. J., Shreve, A. P. and Werner, J. H. 2012. Super-Resolution Optical Microscopy. Characterization of Materials. 1–15.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Los Alamos National Laboratory, Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, Los Alamos, NM, USA

  2. 2

    University of New Mexico, Center for Biomedical Engineering, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 12 OCT 2012


Far-field super-resolution optical microscopy is a young and rapidly developing technology that enables optical imaging with unprecedented sub-diffraction-limited spatial resolution. These imaging methods have been developed primarily within the context of biological imaging, but show great potential as a new and complementary tool for characterization of nanostructural material features traditionally inaccessible by conventional optical imaging methods. In this article, we introduce the working principles of super resolution optical microscopy, suggest specific materials that should be good candidates for these new techniques, and discuss practical aspects that should be considered for its implementation for materials characterization.


  • super-resolution;
  • optical nanoscopy;
  • stimulated emission depletion microscopy;
  • STED;
  • photoactivated localization microscopy;
  • PALM;
  • structured illumination microscopy;
  • SIM