Using fixed fiduciary markers for stage drift correction

Sang Hak Lee, Murat Baday, Marco Tjioe, Paul D. Simonson, Ruobing Zhang, En Cai, Paul R. Selvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To measure nanometric features with super-resolution requires that the stage, which holds the sample, be stable to nanometric precision. Herein we introduce a new method that uses conventional equipment, is low cost, and does not require intensive computation. Fiduciary markers of approximately 1 μm x 1 μm x 1 μm in x, y, and z dimensions are placed at regular intervals on the coverslip. These fiduciary markers are easy to put down, are completely stationary with respect to the coverslip, are biocompatible, and do not interfere with fluorescence or intensity measurements. As the coverslip undergoes drift (or is purposely moved), the x-y center of the fiduciary markers can be readily tracked to 1 nanometer using a Gaussian fit. By focusing the light slightly out-of-focus, the z-axis can also be tracked to < 5 nm for dry samples and <17 nm for wet samples by looking at the diffraction rings. The process of tracking the fiduciary markers does not interfere with visible fluorescence because an infrared light emitting diode (IR-LED) (690 and 850 nm) is used, and the IR-light is separately detected using an inexpensive camera. The resulting motion of the coverslip can then be corrected for, either after-the-fact, or by using active stabilizers, to correct for the motion. We applied this method to watch kinesin walking with ≈8 nm steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12177-12183
Number of pages7
JournalOptics Express
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 21 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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