Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics

Biomedical Photonics

Advances in Optics & Photonics have always driven progress in many areas of biology and medicine.

For example, biomedical photonic technologies are crucial for non-invasive clinical monitoring, molecular diagnostics, or imaging of physiological parameters in living cells, humans, and whole organisms. In addition, new optics-based tools have been engineered to manipulate biological systems by, e.g., laser-tweezers or light-switchable dyes and proteins for optogenetics. Regarding microscopy, several fluorescence-based microscopic techniques have been further developed and applied to image biological samples with sub-diffraction resolution. These techniques include pointillism approaches, like photoactivation localization microscopy (PALM), stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM), and structured illumination microscopy (SIM).

Research activities within KSOP span from advanced microscopy to the development of optics-based personal health monitoring. Super-resolution microscopic techniques are further developed into live-cell imaging modes. In addition, intelligent high-content screening microscopes for biological samples, e.g., zebra fish, are engineered. Furthermore, several optical methods for the detection and quantification of biomolecules are developed. These include ultra-sensitive micro-disk resonators, and other bio-functionalized nanophotonic structures for parallel detection in lab-on-a-chip applications (see Research Area IV). Moreover, non-invasive monitoring of essential human blood parameters such as pressure and glucose levels has been developed. Finally, direct laser writing (see Research Area I) is applied to fabricate three-dimensional ‘designer petri-dishes’ to study cell behaviour and stem-cell differentiation.


Biomedical Photonics II  Biomedical Photonics I  Biomedical Photonics III

Future Aims & Goals

With these novel multifunctional substrates, the effects of spatial ligand distributions and mechanical scaffold stiffness on cell behavior and stem-cell differentiation can now be systematically studied in three-dimensional environments. Further work in Research Area III aims at developing light microscopy super-resolution methods into live-cell imaging modes to study biomolecular interactions in living systems at the highest achievable spatial and temporal resolutions. The basic research activities on biomolecular sensing techniques chall be targeting the ultimate goal of label-free single-molecule detection.

Research Highlights

  • Super-resolution Microscopy
  • Optical Biosensing
  • Tailored three-dimensional Scaffolds for Cell Culture

Participating Institutes and Research Groups

Faculty of Chemistry and Biosciences

Prof. Dr. Martin Bastmeyer

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Institute of Biomedical Engineering

Prof. Dr. Olaf Dössel

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Institute of Applied Physics

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Nienhaus

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Institute of Biomedical Engineering

Prof. Dr. Werner Nahm

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Martin Bastmeyer PictureKSOP, KIT
Prof. Dr. Martin Bastmeyer
Speaker of Research Area III

martin-bastmeyerDem5∂kit edu