German photon counting specialist PicoQuant has successfully held its international workshop on 'Single Molecule Spectroscopy and Ultra Sensitive Analysis in the Life Sciences', which was the 15th such event held by the company. The aim of the workshop is to provide an interdisciplinary platform for users as well as developers from physics, chemistry and biology backgrounds to share their experience, exchange information and report their recent findings and developments in the rapidly evolving field of ultrasensitive optical detection and microscopy, down to the single-molecule level.
The 15th anniversary of the workshop was celebrated by opening an afternoon session to the public, attracting more than 40 additional listeners. The session included a plenary talk by the 2009 Otto-Hahn-Preis winner Stefan W. Hell (MPI Göttingen, Germany) about 'Far-field optical nanoscopy'. PicoQuant has hailed the event as a success, stating that it brought together the top researchers in this field from all over the world. More than 170 participants enjoyed additional plenary lectures, given by Toshio Yanagida (University of Osaka, Japan) and W.E. Moerner (University of Stanford, USA) as well as 44 up-to-date talks. Latest results were discussed during two poster sessions, and the informal gatherings during the reception and dinner lead to fruitful discussions about new ideas, projects and new networks.
In the field of microscopy development there was again a strong emphasis on high resolution techniques, and on combined microscopy techniques to manipulate samples under optical inspection. The organisers noted that one of the the most prominent features of single molecules, the 'fluorescence blinking' phenomenon, is now becoming a key functionality for most optical high resolution techniques.
Encouraged by this success, the 16th workshop is already announced and will take place September 15-17, 2010 in Berlin-Adlershof, Germany.