Skip to main content
Log in


Light from the dark

  • News & Views
  • Published:

From Nature

View current issue Submit your manuscript

Fluorescence microscopy is the most popular way to image biomolecules, but it leaves many of them in the dark. Non-fluorescent, light-absorbing molecules can now be viewed by a method that turns them into mini-lasers.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Figure 1: Imaging non-fluorescent molecules using stimulated emission.


  1. Min, W. et al. Nature 461, 1105–1109 (2009).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Schäfer, F. P. Dye Lasers (Springer, 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Schawlow, A. L. & Townes, C. H. Phys. Rev. 112, 1940–1949 (1958).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Hell, S. W. & Wichmann, J. Opt. Lett. 19, 780–782 (1994).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Fu, D. et al. J. Biomed. Opt. 12, 054004 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Freudiger, C. W. et al. Science 322, 1857–1861 (2008).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Dong, C. Y., So, P. T. C., Buehler, C. & Gratton, E. Optik 106, 7–14 (1997).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Hell, S. W. Nature Biotechnol. 21, 1347–1355 (2003).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hell, S., Rittweger, E. Light from the dark. Nature 461, 1069–1070 (2009).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

  • Springer Nature Limited