By shining a thin sheet of light through a sample, Eric Betzig and colleagues greatly reduced a cell’s exposure to toxic laser light. By pulsing the light on and off rapidly, they were able to get a set of overlapping images from which a computer program could subtract fuzziness. For speed, they could switch to another mode that allowed them to take nearly 200 images per second. The thin laser beam they used, called a Bessel beam, allowed them to boost their resolution.
The membrane of this cell has formed petals that ripple and ruffle across its surface, causing Betzig and his collaborators to nickname the image “The Rose.” Here they used the mode that allowed them to take 200 shots per second, capturing every movement of the delicate structures.