Nanophotonics & Bioimaging


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The INL Nanophotonics & Bioimaging open access user facility features cutting-edge optical instrumentation and the know-how required for characterization of material and life sciences samples. The INL expert team provides knowledge in the analysis of light-matter interactions at various scales: reaching from the detection of individual fluorescent molecules or nanoparticles, to the high-resolution label-free and fluorescence-based imaging of fixed and live cells, e.g. in 2D cell models or tissues.
Furthermore we are experienced to design optically active nanomaterials and characterize e.g. plasmonic interaction effects or surface enhanced Raman effects (SERS) and study optical properties of metamaterials.

Our Open Access User Facility provides support in  training, service measurements on spectroscopy and imaging equipments, as well as complementary services, such as specimen/sample preparation, flow cytometry, spectral or image analysis.

Additionally, our researchers are developing new generation imaging and spectroscopy solutions that:

  • Are characterized by multimodality, for faster and more comprehensive analysis of your samples and allowing correlative imaging analysis
  • Involve the use of INL-developed innovative contrast agents
  • Allow optical super-resolution – surpassing the typical few hundreds of nanometer resolution in diffraction-limited classical microscopy and approaching the nanometer scale.

Our interdisciplinary team of physicists, biologists, biomedical engineers and chemists is continuously developing new nanophotonics techniques that shall help advance our understanding of complex biological and non-biological matter. These partly unique tools are made available to the community via its access through the Nanophotonics & Bioimaging Facility or in direct contact with the Head of Nanophotonics and Bioimaging Corporate Facility.

Examples of research fields to which the researchers of the INL Nanophotonics department contributes are:

  • Toxicology
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Plasmonic interaction effects and metamaterials
  • Nanomedicine
  • Biophysics
  • Optical and plasmonic sensing technologies
  • Quantum Sensing Technologies
  • Development of super resolution imaging techniques
  • Development of combined microscopies (topography/fluorescence)
  • Development of optical active structures for technological applications (LEDs, solar cells)

Techniques available

Nikon Ti-E TIRF/dSTORM – Widefield microscope

Lasers:405, 488, 561, and 633 nm.
Widefield and fluorescence light sources.
Objectives: Plan Fluor 10x/0.3 WD 16; S Plan FLuor ELWD 20x/0.5 WD=8.2; Plan Fluor 40x/0.8 WD 0.66; Plan Apo 60x/1.4 oil WD=0.13; Plan Apo TIRF 60x/1.5 oil WD=0.13; Plan Apo VC 100x/1.4 oil WD 0.13.
Cameras: Andor DU-897 and Nikon DS-Fi1.
Full environmental chamber with temperature and CO2 control.
Allows: TIRF and dSTORM.

Zeiss LSM 780 – Confocal microscopeLSM 780

Laser lines: 405, 458, 488, 514, 561, and 633 nm.
Widefield and fluorescence light sources.
Objectives: LSM cal 5x/0.16; EC PlnN 10x/0.3; Pln Apo 20x/0.8; EC PlnN 40x/1.3 oil; C Apo 40x/1.2 water; Plan Apo 63x/1.40 oil and 63x/1.4 oil.
Environmental chamber with temperature and CO2 control.
Allows: Lambda Scan; FRAP; FRET; FCS, and FCCS.

Witec Alpha 300R – Confocal Raman microscope

Laser lines: 532, 633 and 785 nm.
Objectives: EC Epiplan 10x/0.2; EC Epiplan 50x/0.7; EC Epiplan 100x/0.9.
Detectors: UHTS300 spectrometers coupled to Andor Peltier cooled CCD detectors
The Raman system is equipped with 2 gratings: 600g/mm and 1800g/mm.
Raman imaging is possible with the acquisition of a complete Raman spectrum at each image pixel.

Nikon Eclipse Ti-E – Inverted fluorescence microscope

Widefield and fluorescence light sources.
Objectives: Plan Fluo 4x/0.1 WD = 17.1; Plan FLuor 10x/0.30 WD= 16; S Plan Fluor ELWD 20x/0.50 WD=8.2; S Plan Fluor ELWD 60x/0.7 WD=2.6.
Camera: Andor NEO sCMOS.

Nikon Eclipse Ni-E – Upright fluorescence microscope

Widefield and fluorescence light sources.
Objectives: L Plan 1x/0.03 Epi WD=3.8; TU Plan Fluor 5x/0.15 Epi WD=23.5; TU Plan Fluor 20x/0.45 Epi WD=4.5; TU Plan ELWD 50x/0.6 Epi WD=11; Plan APO λ 60x/1.4 oil WD=0.13  TU Plan ELWD 100x/0.8 Eco WD=3.5.
Camera: Nikon DS-Fi2 and Hamamatsu Orca-R2.

Multiphoton, Second Harmonic Generation and
Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM)
– Inverted microscope platform –

Lasers: Tsunami Spectra Physics femtoseconds laser and Hamamatsu picoseconds laser.
Cameras: Interline CCD Andor Clara, and Monochrome CCD ProgRes MFCool Jenoptik.
Fast electronics for Time Correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC) SPC130 Becker & Hickl.
Suited filter sets for one photon and multiphoton excitation/detection modes
Gas/humidity and temperature control in incubator for live cell experiments
Anisotropy and Hanbury Brown Twiss detection schemes implemented as well as possibility to couple the output to a Streak detection system

Andor Revolution DSD combined with JPK Nanowizard 3
Combined fluorescence and atomic force microscopy

Objectives: CF1 Plan Apo VC 60x/1.4 oil WD=0.13; Condenser T1-CELWD 0.3/OD75.
Cameras: Interline CCD Andor Clara, and Monochrome CCD ProgRes MFCool Jenoptik.

Spectral imaging ellipsometer AccurionNanofilm_ep4

Flow cytometer and cell sorter BioRad S3e

Microplate reader Biotek SynergyTM H1

Dynamic light scattering Horiba SZ-100Z

Quartz crystal microbalance detector (QCM-D)
Q-Sense E1

Scanning Probe Microscope- AFM Dimension Icon
Scanning Probe Microscope- AFM Dimension Icon 00000059

Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) Bruker Vertex 80v

Spectroscopic ellipsometer J. A Woollam M200

Circular Dichroism Measurement System
Circular Dichroism Measurement System 00003060

Fluorescence lifetime, emission, excitation and anisotropy – ISS ChronosBH

Streak imaging Hamamatsu Universal Streak Camera

Spectrophotometer Perkin Elmer Lambda 950 UV/Vis/NIR

Spectrophotometer Shimadzu UV-2550 UV/Vis

Fluorometer Horiba FluoroMax-4

Gel Imaging System Syngene G Box

Microfabrication work station and ultrafast femtosecond laser

Nikon MA200 – Inverted microscope

Objectives: LU Plan Fluor 5x/0.15; LU Plan Fluor 10x/0.3 WD=15; LU Plan Fluor 20x/0.45 WD=4.5.
Camera: Nikon DS-Vil.

Nikon LV100 ND – Upright microscope
Nikon LV100 ND

Objectives: LU Plan Fluor 5x/0.15; LU Plan Fluor 10x/0.30 WD=15; LU Plan Fluor 20x/0.45 WD=4.5; TU Plan Fluor  100x/0.9 WD=1.0.
Camera: Nikon DS-Fi2.

Nikon SMZ 1500 – Stereoscopic microscope
Nikon SMZ 1500

Objectives: Plan Apo 1x WD=70; HR Plan Apo 1.6x WD=24.
Camera: Nikon DS-Fi1.

Life Sciences Imaging Workstation for imaging analysis Life Sciences Imaging Workstation 100001

Support on Microscope-specific Imaging analysis Softwares software

FLOWJO – Single Cell Analysis Software FlowJo

Support on Open-Source Imaging analysis Softwares Fiji_imagej

For more information please contact:

Mariana Carvalho_2 (2)

Jana Nieder

Head of Nanophotonics & Bioimaging Corporate Facility