Feedback localization of freely diffusing fluorescent particles near the optical shot-noise limit
We report near-optimal tracking of freely diffusing fluorescent particles in a quasi-two-dimensional geometry via photon counting and real-time feedback. We present a quantitative statistical model of our feedback network and find excellent agreement with the experiment. We monitor the motion of a single fluorescent particle with a sensitivity of 15 nm/sqrt Hz while collecting fewer than 5000 fluorescence photons/s. Fluorescent microspheres (diffusion coefficient 1.3 μm^2/s) are tracked with a root-mean-square tracking error of 170 nm, within a factor of 2 of the theoretical limit set by photon counting shot noise.