Vaziri, A., Tang, J., Shroff, H. and Shank, C. V.
Multilayer three-dimensional super resolution imaging of thick biological samples. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 105: 20221-20226 (2008).

Recent advances in optical microscopy have enabled biological imaging beyond the diffraction limit at nanometer resolution. A general feature of most of the techniques based on photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) or stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) has been the use of thin biological samples in combination with total internal reflection, thus limiting the imaging depth to a fraction of an optical wavelength. However, to study whole cells or organelles that are typically up to 15 µm deep into the cell, the extension of these methods to a three-dimensional (3D) super resolution technique is required. Here, we report an advance in optical microscopy that enables imaging of protein distributions in cells with a lateral localization precision better than 50 nm at multiple imaging planes deep in biological samples. The approach is based on combining the lateral super resolution provided by PALM with two-photon temporal focusing that provides optical sectioning. We have generated super-resolution images over an axial range of ~10 µm in both mitochondrially labeled fixed cells, and in the membranes of living S2 Drosophila cells.