For centuries, cell biology has been based on light microscopy and at the same time been limited by its optical resolution. However, several new technologies have been developed recently that bypass this limit. These new super-resolution technologies are either based on tailored illumination, nonlinear fluorophore responses, or the precise localization of single molecules. Overall, these new approaches have created unprecedented new possibilities to investigate the structure and function of cells.
The understanding of cellular functions requires detailed knowledge of all factors, their interactions and modifications as well as their distribution in the cell and dynamic changes thereof. From the very beginning, microscopy has played a key role in cell biology.