An interferometric fluorescent microscope and a novel theoretic image reconstruction approach were developed and used to obtain super-resolution images of live biological samples and to enable dynamic real time tracking. The tracking utilizes the information stored in the interference pattern of both the illuminating incoherent light and the emitted light. By periodically shifting the interferometer phase and a phase retrieval algorithm we obtain information that allow localization with sub-2 nm axial resolution at 5 Hz.
Rapid and accurate volumetric imaging remains a challenge, yet has the potential to enhance understanding of cell function. We developed and used a multifocal microscope (MFM) for 3D snapshot imaging to allow 3D tracking of insulin granules labeled with mCherry in MIN6 cells. MFM employs a special diffractive optical element (DOE) to simultaneously image multiple focal planes. This simultaneous acquisition of information determines the 3D location of single objects at a speed only limited by the array detector’s frame rate. We validated the accuracy of MFM imaging/tracking with fluorescence beads; the 3D positions and trajectories of single fluorescence beads can be determined accurately over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. The 3D positions and trajectories of single insulin granules in a 3.2um deep volume were determined with imaging processing that combines 3D decovolution, shift correction, and finally tracking using the Imaris software package. We find that the motion of the granules is superdiffusive, but less so in 3D than 2D for cells grown on coverslip surfaces, suggesting an anisotropy in the cytoskeleton (e.g. microtubules and action).