Stimulated emission depletion microscopy (STED) is one of the techniques that allows super-resolution microscopy. It is similar to confocal microscopy, in that is uses laser scanning imaging, however it creates super-resolved images by the selective deactivation/depletion of fluorophores in the peripheral area of the illumination PSF, minimizing the area of illumination at the focal point, and thus enhancing the achievable resolution for a given system. STED can provide 3D datasets of samples, often with resolutions down to 50 nm or less.

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