An evaluation of multi-excitation-wavelength standing-wave fluorescence microscopy (TartanSW) to improve sampling density in studies of the cell membrane and cytoskeleton

Jana K. Schniete, Peter W. Tinning, Ross C. Scrimgeour, Gillian Robb, Lisa S. Kölln, Katrina Wesencraft, Nikki R. Paul, Trevor J. Bushell, Gail McConnell

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Conventional standing-wave (SW) fluorescence microscopy uses a single wavelength to excite fluorescence from the specimen, which is normally placed in contact with a first surface reflector. The resulting excitation SW creates a pattern of illumination with anti-nodal maxima at multiple evenly-spaced planes perpendicular to the optical axis of the microscope. These maxima are approximately 90 nm thick and spaced 180 nm apart. Where the planes intersect fluorescent structures, emission occurs, but between the planes are non-illuminated regions which are not sampled for fluorescence. We evaluate a multi-excitation-wavelength SW fluorescence microscopy (which we call TartanSW) as a method for increasing the density of sampling by using SWs with different axial periodicities, to resolve more of the overall cell structure. The TartanSW method increased the sampling density from 50% to 98% over seven anti-nodal planes, with no notable change in axial or lateral resolution compared to single-excitation-wavelength SW microscopy. We demonstrate the method with images of the membrane and cytoskeleton of living and fixed cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2903
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2021


  • standing wave
  • super resoution
  • cytoskeleton
  • cell membrane

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