Robin Diekmann, Deanna L. Wolfson, Christoph Spahn, Mike Heilemann, Mark Schüttpelz & Thomas Huser
Imaging non-adherent cells by super-resolution far-field fluorescence microscopy is currently not possible because of their rapid movement while in suspension. Holographic optical tweezers (HOTs) enable the ability to freely control the number and position of optical traps, thus facilitating the unrestricted manipulation of cells in a volume around the focal plane. Here we show that immobilizing non-adherent cells by optical tweezers is sufficient to achieve optical resolution well below the diffraction limit using localization microscopy. Individual cells can be oriented arbitrarily but preferably either horizontally or vertically relative to the microscope’s image plane, enabling access to sample sections that are impossible to achieve with conventional sample preparation and immobilization. This opens up new opportunities to super-resolve the nanoscale organization of chromosomal DNA in individual bacterial cells.