A facility for advanced laser-based microscopy at LCVU

To better understand life and disease on the (sub)cellular level it is essential to visualize processes in living cells with high specificity, temporal and spatial resolution. Over the last decade, laser-based optical imaging techniques have proved to be the approaches of choice in studying living biological samples on the micrometer scale. However, many experimental challenges remain. In particular, for biological and medical applications there are needs for higher sensitivity, higher spatial and temporal resolution, deeper penetration in tissue and novel contrast and labeling methods. To bring about these improvements the Laser Centre at the VU University Amsterdam (LCVU) is currently setting up a facility for advanced laser-based microscopy to study living, biological systems, with financial support from an NWO-Groot grant. This facility will bring together scientists from different backgrounds , from laser and optical scientists, via atomic, molecular and biophysicists to biologists and medical scientists. For this facility, workstations will be developed in three areas of interest:

  • Single-biomolecule detection in living cells. To this end, we will construct an ultra-sensitive fluorescence microscope and develop self-interference fluorescence microscopy with enhanced spatial resolution.
  • Label-free detection of cell structure and cell dynamics. To this end we will construct a coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy, an X-ray microscope and an optical-coherence phase-contrast microscope, with high spatial and temporal resolution, without the need for labeling.
  • Cells in (epithelial) tissue. Here we will develop new methods of non-linear microscopy using pulse- and wave-front-shaping technology and optical coherence tomography in order to achieve imaging deeper in tissue.

An explicit goal of this facility is to develop novel laser-based microscopy tools that push forward the state-of-the-art and can be used by the biological and biomedical research community at VU and the Netherlands.

For more information, contact Dr. Erwin Peterman