Improving resolution in a label-free imaging method is desirable in various fields. Surface plasmons have been used in the field of microscopy to visualize and characterize the underlying physical properties of cells and tissues. One drawback of surface plasmon microscopy remains its poor resolution due to longer propagation length of surface plasmons. The authors of this article have come up with a method to improve the spatial resolution of surface plasmon microscopy, calling it spatially-switched surface plasmon microscopy or ssSPM. In this method, coherent illumination of a sample in a total-internal reflection (TIRF) mode is done from two opposing directions and the resulting images are reconstructed by minimum filtering: where minimum intensity values at each pixel are selected to effectively remove the dominant scattering component of light. In this way, the shortcoming of surface plasmon microscopy can be overcome, resulting in enhancement of resolution by a factor of 15. The blur in the fluorescence images is due to the direction of propagation of surface plasmons. ssSPM can significantly reduce this blur, resulting in enhanced image resolution.
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