Single Molecules in the Spotlight
The optical detection and study of single molecules and nanoparticles provides insight into their dynamics and surroundings. These experiments are relevant to different disciplines, as Orrit will illustrate in this lecture. At cryogenic conditions (very low temperatures), single molecules display quantum optical effects. Photothermal microscopy (or thermal lens microscopy) applies to non-fluorescent absorbers, down to single-molecule sensitivity. Finally, we use gold nanoparticles to enhance fluorescence and probe the binding of non-absorbing molecules. This opens up exciting developments for the detection of biomolecules.