Stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy has demonstrated that, contrary to a longstanding notion, diffraction-unlimited spatial resolution is viable with conventional lenses and visible light. Currently providing 15–70 nm resolution, it is entering the life sciences at a fast pace, while still undergoing technical improvements. Scientists from Max Planck Institute summarized its principles and recent outcomes. The whole summary should be found from optics.org.
A simple stage-scanning STED setup. Inset: overlay of the excitation focus (green) and the STED efficiency (red) for three different STED laser powers. Credit: Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.