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Images with resolution at and beyond the diffraction limit shown in the left and right column, respectively. Upper row: Pores in a porous membrane marked with a fluorescent dye shown with normal resolution cannot be discerned as such (a). The same imaging carried out parallel with STED microscopy clearly brings out the structure to light (b). The term confocal indicates that the reference images (a,c) were recorded in the confocal microscopy imaging mode which currently is the best resolving diffraction limited fluorescence microscopy method. Lower row: Fluorescence dye marked nanostructures produced by electron beam lithography in a polymer shown with normal resolution (c) and then using STED (d). The raw data in (c) and (d) after imaging was subjected to linear deconvolution to mathematically slightly enhance the resolution. In spite of this, the image in (c) does not show the structures, whereas the images with the STED microscope can resolve lines of 80 nm width and 40nm separation between the lines (d). Thus, the optical imaging is moving into domains that were until now reserved for the electron microscope. Image: MPI for Biophysical Chemistry