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The diffraction barrier responsible for a finite focal spot size and limited resolution in far-field fluorescence microscopy has been fundamentally broken. This is accomplished by quenching excited organic molecules at the rim of the focal spot through stimulated emission. Along the optic axis, the spot size was reduced by up to 6 times beyond the(More)
We overcame the resolution limit of scanning far-field fluorescence microscopy by disabling the fluorescence from the outer part of the focal spot. Whereas a near-UV pulse generates a diffraction-limited distribution of excited molecules, a spatially offset pulse quenches the excited molecules from the outer part of the focus through stimulated emission.(More)
The radiative and nonradiative decay rates of lissamine dye molecules, chemically attached to differently sized gold nanoparticles, are investigated by means of time-resolved fluorescence experiments. A pronounced fluorescence quenching is observed already for the smallest nanoparticles of 1 nm radius. The quenching is caused not only by an increased(More)
The fluorescence quantum yield of Cy5 molecules attached to gold nanoparticles via ssDNA spacers is measured for Cy5-nanoparticle distances between 2 and 16 nm. Different numbers of ssDNA per nanoparticle allow to fine-tune the distance. The change of the radiative and nonradiative molecular decay rates with distance is determined using time-resolved(More)
We report on the generation of various hole-centered beams in the focal region of a lens and investigate their effectiveness to break the diffraction barrier in fluorescence microscopy by stimulated emission. Patterning of the phase of the stimulating beam across the entrance pupil of the objective lens produces point-spread-functions with twofold,(More)
Nanoparticles of noble metals belong to the most extensively studied colloidal systems in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Due to continuing progress in the synthesis of nanoparticles with controlled morphologies, the exploration of unique morphology-dependent properties has gained momentum. Anisotropic features in nonspherical nanoparticles(More)
Gold nanostars provide high sensitivity for single nanoparticle label-free biosensing. The nanostars present multiple plasmon resonances of which the lower energy ones, corresponding to the nanostar tips and core-tip interactions, are the most sensitive to environmental changes. Streptavidin molecules are detected upon binding to individual, biotin-modified(More)
In traditional DNA melting assays, the temperature of the DNA-containing solution is slowly ramped up. In contrast, we use 300 ns laser pulses to rapidly heat DNA bound gold nanoparticle aggregates. We show that double-stranded DNA melts on a microsecond time scale that leads to a disintegration of the gold nanoparticle aggregates on a millisecond time(More)
Two-photon direct laser writing (DLW) lithography is limited in the achievable structure size as well as in structure resolution. Adding stimulated emission depletion (STED) to DLW allowed overcoming both restrictions. We now push both to new limits. Using visible light for two-photon DLW (780 nm) and STED (532 nm), we obtain lateral structure sizes of 55(More)
We observe an enhancement of fluorescence from a single fluorescent sphere, which is sandwiched between two individual gold nanoparticles, forming a hot spot of strong field enhancement. The fluorescence enhancing hot spot is custom-designed by the deliberate assembly of gold nanoparticles with an atomic force microscope cantilever. The fluorescence(More)