Using Super-Resolution Microscopy to Probe Exchange Pathways (a joint venture of chemistry and mathematics)

A super-resolution microscope is an optical instrument that allows imaging of object that are smaller than the wavelength of the light used, which is physically not possible with a classical optical microscope. The inventor of this microscopy technique just received the Nobel prize in chemistry 2014. The measurements taken by such microscope, as well as the processes one wishes understand, are of random nature. Therefore, the interpretation of the data requires knowledge of probability theory and appropriate stochastic modelling. Remco van der Hofstad and the speaker were approached in May 2013 to assist to interpret the images taken by such a microscope in Eindhoven. The aim was to gain a quantitative understanding of molecular exchange of functional molecules along supramolecular fibers, in other words: How do smaller molecules attach to an existing very-long string-like molecule? In the talk we explain the mode of operation of super-Resolution Microscopes, our experimental design and our result. Refers to: Probing Exchange Pathways in One-Dimensional Aggregates with Super-Resolution Microscopy; Lorenzo Albertazzi, Daan van der Zwaag, Christianus M. A. Leenders, Robert Fitzner, Remco W. van der Hofstad, and E. W. Meijer; Science 2 May 2014: 344 (6183), 491-495. [DOI:10.1126/science.1250945]