Rittweger, E., Wildanger, D. and Hell, S. W.
Far-field fluorescence nanoscopy of diamond color centers by ground state depletion. EPL Journal 86: 14001-6 (2009).

We report on two modalities of lens-based fluorescence microscopy with diffraction-unlimited resolution relying on the depletion of the fluorophore ground state. The first version utilizes a beam with a deep intensity minimum, such as a doughnut, for intense excitation followed by mathematical deconvolution, whereas in the second version, a regularly focused beam is added for generating the image directly. In agreement with theory, the subdiffraction resolution scales with the square root of the intensity depleting the ground state. Applied to the imaging of color centers in diamond our measurements evidence a resolving power down to 7.6 nm, corresponding to 1/70 of the wavelength of light employed. Our study underscores the key role of exploiting (molecular) states for overcoming the diffraction barrier in far-field optical microscopy.