We use a new delivery tool for fluorescent molecules based on a Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope (SICM). SICM utilizes a nanopipette composed of a hollow glass capillary. Due to the nanopippette's small tip diameter of 10 to 200nm, we are capable to deliver spatially separated, small amount of molecules to a specific target.
Our two main research areas are:
1. Nanoinjection in living cells combined with super-resolution microscopy:
Applying super-resolution microscopy to living cells is a major challenge in fluorescence microscopy. Nanoinjection acts similar to the microinjection principle and offers a simple way to inject fluorescent probes directly into a single living cell without significantly harming the cell. This approach allows us to stain single cells in a few seconds. This live staining procedure is immediately followed by super-resolution imaging with direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM).
2. High precision delivery of molecules:
Delivering molecules in a spotwise manner is the key for "writing" nanostructures. With a nearly infinite reservoir of molecules, nanopipettes can be used to create these spots at nanometer scales. Delivery of a specified amount of fluorescent molecules to a soft and conducting surface enables us to create fluorescent structures near the diffraction limit. In combination with the capability for super-resolution imaging this enables us to separate single molecules.