Wednesday, October 08, 2014

2 Americans, 1 German Wins Nobel Prize In Chemistry

Professor William E. Moener of Stanford University, Stanford, California (Pictured), Stephen W. Hell of Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, and German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany and Eric Betzig, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 for the development of super resolved microscopy. Image courtesy of Stanford University.

 Two separate principles are rewarded. One enables the method stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, developed by Stefan Hell in 2000. Two laser beams are utilized; one stimulates fluorescent molecules to glow, another cancels out all fluorescence except for that in a nanometre-sized volume. Scanning over the sample, nanometre for nanometre, yields an image with a resolution better than Abbe’s stipulated limit.


Eric Betzig and William Moerner, working separately, laid the foundation for the second method, single-molecule microscopy. The method relies upon the possibility to turn the fluorescence of individual molecules on and off. Scientists image the same area multiple times, letting just a few interspersed molecules glow each time. Superimposing these images yields a dense super-image resolved at the nanolevel. In 2006 Eric Betzig utilized this method for the first time.
Today, nanoscopy is used world-wide and new knowledge of greatest benefit to mankind is produced on a daily basis.
------------The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
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