A new fluorescence microscopy lab will be built in the physics department starting in the Fall of 2011. Research in the microscopy lab will be focused around a novel imaging technique known as fluorescence photoactivation localization microscopy, or FPALM. Prior to the advent of FPALM and similar “super-resolution” imaging techniques, our ability to clearly image small features was limited to tens of microns by the optical diffraction limit of currently available lenses. FPALM circumvents this optical limit by taking advantage of photoactivatable dyes to selectively light up random portions of a fluorescent sample, then building a composite image from many image frames taken with different parts of the sample lit. In this way, FPALM can resolve features on the order of tens of nanometers – a 1000-fold improvement! The images at right show the remarkable improvement in image resolution provided by FPALM.