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Abstract

Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy techniques are powerful tools to investigate polymer systems. In this review, we address how these techniques have been applied to hydrogel nano- and microparticles, so-called nano- or microgels. We outline which research questions on microgels could be addressed and what new insights could be achieved. Studies of the morphology, shape, and deformation of microgels; their internal compartmentalization; the cross-linker distribution and polarity inside them; and their dynamics and diffusion are summarized. In particular, the abilities to super-resolve structures in three dimensions have boosted the research field and have also allowed researchers to obtain impressive 3D images of deformed microgels. Accessing information beyond 3D localization, such as spectral and lifetime properties and correlative imaging or the combination of data with other methods, shines new light onto polymer systems and helps us understand their complexity in detail. Such future trends and developments are also addressed.

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2023-04-24
2024-06-24
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