A photoswitchable solvatochromic dye for probing membrane ordering by RESOLFT super-resolution microscopy

21 February 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


A switchable solvatochromic fluorescent dyad can be used to map ordering of lipids in vesicle membranes at a resolution better than the diffraction limit. Combining a Nile Red fluorophore with a photochromic spironaphthoxazine quencher allows the fluorescence to be controlled using visible light, via photoswitching and FRET quenching. Synthetic lipid vesicles of varying composition were imaged with an average 2.5-fold resolution enhancement, compared to the confocal images. Ratiometric detection was used to probe the membrane polarity, and domains of different lipid ordering were distinguished within the same membrane.


super-resolution microscopy
membrane polarity
lipid ordering

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information
General methods, synthetic procedures, characterisation, photophysics, imaging methods and analysis, NMR and mass spectrometry data.


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