Research ArticleOPTICS

Photoswitchable single-walled carbon nanotubes for super-resolution microscopy in the near-infrared

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Science Advances  27 Sep 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 9, eaax1166
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax1166


The design of single-molecule photoswitchable emitters was the first milestone toward the advent of single-molecule localization microscopy, setting a new paradigm in the field of optical imaging. Several photoswitchable emitters have been developed, but they all fluoresce in the visible or far-red ranges, missing the desirable near-infrared window where biological tissues are most transparent. Moreover, photocontrol of individual emitters in the near-infrared would be highly desirable for elementary optical molecular switches or information storage elements since most communication data transfer protocols are established in this spectral range. Here, we introduce a type of hybrid nanomaterials consisting of single-wall carbon nanotubes covalently functionalized with photoswitching molecules that are used to control the intrinsic luminescence of the single nanotubes in the near-infrared (beyond 1 μm). Through the control of photoswitching, we demonstrate super-localization imaging of nanotubes unresolved by diffraction-limited microscopy.

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