Stimulated emission depletion (STED) fluorescence nanoscopy is a powerful super-resolution imaging technique based on the confinement of fluorescence emission to the central subregion of an observation volume through de-excitation of fluorophores in the periphery via stimulated emission. Here, we introduce stimulated emission double depletion (STEDD) as a method to selectively remove artificial background intensity. In this approach, a first, conventional STED pulse is followed by a second, delayed Gaussian STED pulse that specifically depletes the central region, thus leaving only background. Thanks to time-resolved detection we can remove this background intensity voxel by voxel by taking the weighted difference of photons collected before and after the second STED pulse. STEDD thus yields background-suppressed super-resolved images as well as STED-based fluorescence correlation spectroscopy data. Furthermore, the proposed method is also beneficial when considering lower-power, less redshifted depletion pulses.
Gao, P., Prunsche, B., Zhou, L., Nienhaus, K., & Nienhaus, G. U. (2017). Background suppression in fluorescence nanoscopy with stimulated emission double depletion. Nature Photonics, 11(3), 163–169. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2016.279