Single molecule detection in single living cells

Tyler A. Byassee, Warren C W Chan, Shuming Nie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to detect a single analyte molecule represents the ultimate in sensitivity. Single molecule detection has emerged as a powerful tool to characterize heterogeneous systems, in which traditional bulk sampling methods provide a signal averaged over a large number of analytes. Traditionally, single molecule measurements have required highly controlled experimental conditions using ultrapure solvents to create a minimum level of interference. These constraints have primarily limited this technique to examination of systems in vitro. In this report we present the first instance of real-time single molecule detection in living cells. Our experimental approach allows dynamic monitoring of individual fluorophores in vivo, despite the highly complex cellular environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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