A novel nanomechanical absorption-based microscopy with unprecedented sensitivity of 16 fW/Hz1/2 and position accuracy of 30 nm is introduced with silicon nitride drum resonator. [1] The imaging of nanoparticles with diameter of 10 nm – 200 nm and single molecules is demonstrated. A systematic discussion on the optimization of sensitivity by stress engineering is also performed both experimentally and theoretically. With the applicability, 5-order-of-magnitudes higher sensitivity comparing with the state-of-the-art detection scheme, and outstanding spatial resolution, this study provides a simple alternative for qualitative and quantitative analysis and imaging of single molecules without labeling, which could potentially unveil the underlying nanoscale dynamics as well as providing a new robust microscopy with high precision and accuracy.

© 2019 The Author(s)

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