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Keywords:

  • absorption;
  • photothermal imaging;
  • single-molecule detection
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

The detection of single-molecule absorption under ambient conditions is a very challenging task, because the tiny change in transmission is difficult to discriminate against the noise from the light beam and from scattering. By pushing the detection limits of photothermal contrast imaging, single-molecule absorption has been measured by the refraction index change induced in the environment by the heat released from the molecule (see image).