Faster fluorescence microscopy: advances in high speed biological imaging

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2014 Jun;20:46-53. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2014.04.008. Epub 2014 May 9.


The past decade has seen explosive growth in new high speed imaging methods. These can broadly be classified as either point-scanning (which offer better depth penetration) or parallelized systems (which offer higher speed). We discuss each class generally, and cover specific advances in diffraction-limited microscopes (laser-scanning confocal, spinning-disk, and light-sheet) and superresolution microscopes (single-molecule imaging, stimulated emission-depletion, and structured illumination). A theme of our review is that there is no free lunch: each technique has strengths and weaknesses, and an advance in speed usually comes at the expense of either spatial resolution or depth penetration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Time Factors