Classical biological techniques focus on describing the behavior of large ensembles of molecules. However, this method doesn’t allow for the identification of subpopulations within the ensemble or show how these subpopulations behave under differing experimental conditions. The only way to investigate the behavior of single molecules or subpopulations is under strict experimental conditions, guaranteeing that each molecule is in the same state, one at a time.
Single-molecule fluorescence microscopy represents a subset of fluorescence microscopy that uses fluorescent tags to detect and analyze individual single molecules. This allows the activity of single molecules to be visualized with high signal-to-noise without disturbing the physiological conditions of the biological system.
Image courtesy of Kevin Freedman, University of California Riverside
Image courtesy of Thomas Etheridge, University of Sussex
Image courtesy of Christoph Baumann, University of York
Image courtesy of Madhavi Krishnan, University of Zürich
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