A New Perspective on Nanoscale Structure and Dynamics with Ultrasensitive Optical Microscopy

October 18th, 2017 PHILIPP KUKURA University of Oxford

The fundamental goal of optical microscopy is to visualise and thereby enable the study of dynamics on the microscopic or even nanoscopic scale. The past decades have been dominated by fluorescence-based approaches, in particular super-resolution methodologies. Despite the advantages of fluorescence imaging, the requirement of introducing labels can be both complex and perturbative, while photophysics and photochemistry limits imaging speed, precision and duration. I will highlight the capabilities of an alternative approach to optical microscopy based on light scattering called interferometric scattering microscopy (iSCAT), which achieves sensitivities approaching and possibly rivalling those of a fluorescence microscope. Importantly, this sensitivity has wide-ranging applications for studies of nanoscale phenomena in general, such as phase separation, dynamics at interfaces, bilayers or biological filaments. In fact, recent results demonstrate that iSCAT functions as a single molecule mass spectrometer in solution, which could be transformative for our ability to study protein-protein and protein-substrate interactions. Beyond biological applications, this sensitivity, however, can also be exploited for microspectroscopic applications aimed at deciphering electronic and structural dynamics down to nanometer length and femtosecond timescales.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 12:00. ICFO’s Seminar Room

Hosted by Prof. María García-Parajo