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Keywords:

  • gold;
  • nanostructures;
  • silver;
  • single molecules;
  • super-resolution microscopy

Abstract

Photoactivation localization microscopy (PALM) was applied to study surface-enhanced fluorescence (SEF) on metal nanostructures (SEF-PALM). The detection of fluorescence from individual single molecules can be used to image the point-spread-function and spatial distribution of the fluorescence emitted in the vicinity of a metal surface. Due to the strong scattering effect, the angular distribution of the fluorescence is altered by metals, resulting in a spatial shift of fluorescence spots with respect to the metal nanostructures, and has to be taken into account in the analysis. SEF-PALM can be used to discriminate effects of labelling density when estimating the enhancement factor in SEF. Furthermore, nanostructures with sizes below the diffraction limit can be resolved using this technique. SEF-PALM is established as a powerful tool to study plasmon-mediated phenomena on metal nanostructures.