Method for 3D Nonlinear Structured Illumination Super-resolution Imaging

Case ID:

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a super-resolution microscopy method that is faster, easier to use, and has less artifacts than current super-resolution methods. The result is a 3D dual-color stimulated emission depletion (STED) nonlinear structured illumination (NL-SIM) microscope. Using a combination of low coherent light and time-gated detection, the microscope has improved lateral and axial resolution.


Current super-resolution microscopy allows live 3D imaging of cellular processes at tens of nanometer resolution, but lacks super-resolution in the axial dimension. The systems are also complex and carry a high risk of artifacts.  There is a need in the art for greater axial resolution, and a system that is easier to use with high quality results.



  • Commercial (hospital/clinic analysis of biological samples)
  • General research tool for studying processes and mechanisms in cells


  • Improved resolution in axial and lateral dimensions
  • Images sample structures as dim as single molecule and as bright as stained and fixed cells under identical experiment parameters
  • High speed reduces artifacts


Status: Issued U.S. Patent #10,914,930

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Richard Weite
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Leilei Peng
Yu Li
Han Zhang