Nano Research

Our paper on using quenchers to simplify multiplexed super-resolution has just appeared online in Nano Research. The investigation was lead by Tobias Lutz.

It is the result of a collaboration with the Pagliara group at the LSI and Lorenzo Di Michele at the Cavendish.

The method we present in the paper simplifies multiplexed DNA-PAINT considerably and has a few fairly simple take home messages:

  • Quencher-Exchange-PAINT enables rapid, low-crosstalk Exchange-PAINT imaging without any washing steps
  • it enables rapid imager exchange when diffusion is slow (e.g. in tissues)
  • in summary, it reduces the complexity of Exchange-PAINT experiments considerably

We also show something what you might call a negative result and which is accordingly not so much emphasized in the paper. So let's make the point clearly here - it is not at all surprising when you think through how the thermodynamics works out but it is nice to show it experimentally:

  • the use of competing quenchers is not suitable for increasing the signal-to-background ratio in DNA-PAINT. One cannot do better in terms of the signal-to-background ratio for DNA-PAINT than adjusting imager concentrations to achieve the desired event rate, at least not via simple competitive quencher binding schemes. 1

That takes nothing away from the use of quencher strands to effectively and very simply remove imagers from the solution.


  1. If you are trying to reduce background arising from imager strands in solution, other strategies have been proposed, e.g. FRET-PAINT