A simple method for real-time determination of the full three-dimensional orientation of the emission dipole of single molecules is presented. Introduction of a π phase step in the back focal plane of the collector lens breaks the inherent symmetry, allowing the longitudinal dipole component to be measured. Experimental tolerances and the consequence of a nonzero bandwidth emission spectrum are also discussed. The scheme also allows for the longitudinal component of an electric field to be found experimentally.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: February 1, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: March 31, 2008
Published: April 30, 2008
Vol. 3, Iss. 6 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics
Matthew R. Foreman, Carlos Macías Romero, and Peter Török, "Determination of the three-dimensional orientation of single molecules," Opt. Lett. 33, 1020-1022 (2008)