Those Blinking Single Molecules

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Science  22 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5329, pp. 1059-1060
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5329.1059

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Recent advances in optical techniques have permitted researchers to probe the behavior of single molecules in a solid or liquid sample. In his Perspective, Moerner discusses work published in the same issue by Vanden Bout et al. in which single-molecule methods were used to study the phenomenon of molecular blinking. In many cases, single molecules have been observed to emit flickering fluorescent light. The work examines this phenomenon in light-emitting polymer materials.