Over the last years, laser-based techniques developed in fundamental
laser sciences, such as optical trapping, harmonic generation, and
multiphoton excitation, have found their applications in biophysical
research as non-invasive tools to manipulate molecules and to image
cells and tissues, with unprecedented resolution and penetration
Third harmonic generation microscopy through the mouse brain.
Femtosecond laser pulses at 1200 nm excite the sample (red beam); blue
emitted light is detected in backscattering.
The demand and interest from the biomedical community for
application of these tools and development of new ones,
to address open scientific issues and questions, is continuously
growing. In particular, an increasing request is coming from molecular
and cell biology for the visualization and manipulation of single
molecules and cells and for the development of tools apt to image
biological processes in living animals. A high demand is also rising
from medicine, for the characterization of living tissues, and for
disease diagnosis and therapy.
OPTBIO aimed at improving laser-based methods in biomedicine and
providing access for the biomedical community to
state-of-the-art instruments. OPTBIO pursued three main objectives,
allowing the development of innovative workstations and methodologies,
spreading from the investigation of single biomolecules and single
cells to in-vivo microscopy on living animals to the development of
diagnosis tools for human diseases.
The first objective addressed the need of efficient handling and
imaging of tiny biological objects such as individual
cells and molecules:
- LENS and LLAMS developed advanced platforms combining single
molecule and single cell manipulation tools with single molecule
fluorescence imaging, working both in vitro and in living cells.
- FORTH provided a laser-assisted workstation for subcellular surgery
and processing and micro/nano structuring of biological, biocompatible
and biodegradable materials using multiphoton polymerization.
- ICFO provided plasmonic micro and nano-structures with enhanced
optical fields for in-plane optical manipulation and analysis.
SHG image of an intact muscle fiber. The image shows a line scan
along the sarcomeric pattern (horizontal axis) versus time
axis) during active contraction and subsequent relaxation. The
intensity is mapped using a false colour scale (from red to
The second objective was the improvement in capacities for advanced
imaging beyond what is commercially available and the development of
novel methodologies for the investigation of living cells and animals.
Significant achievements have been obtained:
The third objective was the development of optical techniques for in
vivo imaging with the final aim of developing tools for medical
diagnosis and optical therapy.
- for the development of multiphoton microscopy by LLAMS and
- for the establishment of microscopy workstations with extend
spatial resolution by LLAMS and ICFO,
- for the exploration of non-label methodologies by ILC.
- FORTH developed a workstation for combined twophoton and second and
third harmonic generation microscopy.
- LENS and ICFO exploited second harmonic generation to image and
measure structural dynamics of living muscleand neuronal cells.
- POLIMI designed and developed a first version of a pumpprobe system
to perform transient absorption in real-time.
POLIMI and LLC developed and potentiated their time-resolved diffuse
spectroscopy systems leading to a great increase in dynamic range and
reduction in acquisition time.
- FORTH has been adapting multispectral capabilities to their
existing tomographic device.
- LENS coupled two photon imaging to laser-induced lesions to perform
in vivo multiphoton nanosurgery in living mice brains.
- ICFO used different techniques to image at high resolution the
process of nano-neurosurgery on the C. elegans nematode.
- VURLC developed a scanning multispectral imaging system.
Multi-spectral fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy setup
with non-linear excitation developed
24 May 2013, CHARPAC Meeting, Lisbon, Portugal
29 May 2013, Laserlab Management Board Working Group Meeting, CDG Airport, Paris
13-14 June 2013, Annual meeting NAUUL - 'Operation of PW laser facilities', Jena, Germany
17-30 June 2013, 1st User Training Workshop on Biophotonics, Kosice, Slovakia
11 July 2013, INREX Meeting, Paris, France
21-23 May 2013, Fotonica 2013, Milan, Italy
23-25 May 2013, International Symposium on Photonics and Optoelectronics (SOPO 2013), Beijing, China
26-30 May 2013, 16th International Conference on Emerging Nuclear Energy Systems (ICENES), Madrid, Spain
26-28 May 2013, European Molecular Imaging Meeting – EMIM 2013, Torino, Italy
27-31 May 2013, Symposium on Laser Material Interactions for Micro- and Nano- Application, European Materials Research Society (EMRS) Spring Meeting, Strasbourg, France