Traditional microscope technology has been limited in resolution by a physical property of light called the diffraction limit. The diffraction limit states that light can only be focused into a beam as wide as half its wavelength. Researchers at Harvard University have overcome this limit by using nanoscale antennae to focus light down to beam as little as 100 nanometers in size.
The technique shows the most promise for biological imaging at the cellular level. Microscopes using the new lasers should be able to detect, for example, changes in individual proteins on the surfaces of cells.