Volume 88 Issue 47 | p. 36
Issue Date: November 22, 2010

Ultrasensitive Detection

Three groups use absorption to detect single molecules at room temperature
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Analytical SCENE
Keywords: single-molecule detection, fluorescence, absorption, microscopy, ground-state depletion microscopy, photothermal microscopy

For the first time, scientists have detected single molecules at room temperature by their tendency to absorb light. Because the amount of light one molecule absorbs is so small, its detection requires very high sensitivity.

Single-molecule spectroscopy has up to now focused primarily on fluorescence emission, which is a lot easier to detect but is limited to molecules containing fluorophores. Detecting single-molecule absorption “is a major scientific advance since it will allow detection of weakly . . .

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