MUSIQ Innovation Newsletter 5: Ultrafast Optics in Microscopy: Recent Advances

The fifth and final MUSIQ innovation newsletter has just been published and is available for you to read online. The topic of this newsletter is Ultrafast Optics in Microscopy: Recent Advances. Thank you to our three ESRs, MartinEleanor and Saurabh, for writing the newsletter.

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3D Imaging with Femtosecond Pulses
Combining 3D Imaging with Ultrafast Optics

The 3D imaging technique of Optical Diffraction Tomography is intrinsically ill-suited for ultrafast laser pulses. However, it could be realized using standard optical equipment with femtosecond pulses. This opens up new possibilities in cell-imaging and ultrafast material studies.  Read more

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From 3D to Polarisation to Single Nanoparticle Microscopy
Probing Biological Molecular Organization with Polarized Light Microscopy

Using light’s polarization can help illuminate the organization of biological molecules without perturbing the sample itself. Thus, polarization microscopy adds a new dimension to light microscopy for better understanding of biomedical questions. Read more

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Spectroscopy in wide field imaging
Imaging for spectroscopy

In this section we introduce the concept of Fourier transform spectroscopy (FTS). The technique is fast compared to point scaning of single nanoparticles. This section explains how which just recorded image set one can retire the spectral information of nanoparticles and molecules. Read more

MUSIQ science slams online

In addition to researching on their individual projects and receiving training related to research, the MUSIQ Early Stage Researchers (ERSs) are trained on transferable skills that are of fundamental importance for their careers. During the 5th MUSIQ week hosted by GSK in Stevenage, UK in May 2022, our partner organisation, Science Made Simple organised a two day training on communicating science to the wider public.

The objective of this training was to equip the ESRs with the required skills to develop and deliver suitable content for a public event. The course focused on training the ESRs on understanding your audience, developing engaging content and presenting on camera.

Using the skills Science Made Simple taught them, the ESRs each recorded a Science Slam, a 2-3 minute pitch video on their research topic as an educational and outreach resource for a variety of end-users. The videos are available on the MUSIQ YouTube channel and on the MUSIQ website. We would like to thank the ESRs for creating these informative videos and Science Made Simple for their training.

MUSIQ Newsletter n. 4 available online

EBL and FIB lithography to produce plasmonic single nanostructures or arrays on support

Thanks to their optical properties, including the ability to confine light in spatial regions below the diffraction limit, plasmonic nanostructures have found important applications in many different fields. Read more

OPTO NANO – A duet of Science and Contemporary Dance

Three of our ESRs, usually focussed on analysing the electronic response of metallic or semiconducting nanostructures to electromagnetic waves, were invited to change their perspective on their scientific and oftentimes highly conceptual work and translate their science into choreographed movement. Read more

Conference presentations by Vasilis Petropoulos (ESR5)

Our MUSIQ ESR5, Vasilis Petropoulos recently presented his research at international conferences. His research focuses in Ultrafast coherent spectroscopy of natural light-harvesting systems.

From 29 November – 2 December  21, Vasilis traveled to the Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting 2021 in Boston, MA, USA to present on “ PBI-Based Biomimetic Complex for Efficient Light-Conversion Unveiled via Ultrafast Spectroscopy.”

14–18 March 2022 he virtually presented at the American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting 2022 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. His presentation title was “Perylene-based Self-Assembly of Chloroplast-like Lamellae for Artificial Photosynthesis.”

New Publication: Ultrafast Multidimensional Spectroscopy with Field Resolution and Noncollinear Geometry at Mid-Infrared Frequencies.

In the beginning of this year, the MUSIQ project members from the University of Luxembourg presented a novel setup for multidimensional coherent spectroscopy with noncollinear geometry and complete field resolution in the THz range, which covers the characteristic fingerprint region of biomolecules. Thomas Deckert, MUSIQ ESR11, and PI Daniele Brida, among others, show that the setup is capable to detect signals down to a few tens of V cm-1 entirely background free and benchmark the setup with measurements on a low-bandgap semiconductor, paving the way towards the investigation of functional thin film materials, few-layer samples, and other specimen to study their coherent responses. The article has been published in New Journal of Physics and is openly accessible to all.

Read the full article here.


Energetic correlations and their dynamics govern the fundamental properties of condensed matter materials. Ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy in the mid infrared is an advanced technique to study such coherent low-energy dynamics. The intrinsic many-body phenomena in functional solid-state materials, in particular few-layer samples, remain widely unexplored to this date, because complex and weak sample responses demand versatile and sensitive detection. Here, we present a novel setup for ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy with noncollinear geometry and complete field resolution in the 15–40 THz range. Electric fields up to few-100 kV cm−1 drive coherent dynamics in a perturbative regime, and an advanced modulation scheme allows to detect nonlinear signals down to a few tens of V cm−1 entirely background-free with high sensitivity and full control over the geometric phase-matching conditions. Our system aims at the investigation of correlations and many-body interactions in condensed matter systems at low energy. Benchmark measurements on bulk indium antimonide reveal a strong six-wave mixing signal and map ultra-fast changes of the band structure with access to amplitude and phase information. Our results pave the way towards the investigation of functional thin film materials and few-layer samples.

MUSIQ Innovation Newsletter n. 3 | October 2021

The new MUSIQ Innovation newsletter on RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY: From applications to laser sources and detectors is available online and as a PDF . Each newsletter is written by three of MUSIQ’s Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) who choose their topics themselves to develop into an interesting read for our stakeholders. Our Innovation Newsletter n. 3 was written collaboratively by Jan Majer (ESR13), Dominykas Gudavičius (ESR15) and Ediz Herkert (ESR8).

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Prospects of stimulated Raman scattering in pharma research

Before a novel medicine can be introduced on the market, it needs to undergo a drug development process which today on average consists of six stages. The drug development process from target discovery to the launch can  take up to 15 years. Read more

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Light sources for CARS microscopy

In coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy two laser beams are used to produce radiation at a third wavelength when energy difference between pulses matches vibrational energy of a sample. For this vibrationally specific microscopy method it is critical to have a reliable wavelength-tunable light source to address different Raman bands. Optical parametric amplifiers (OPAs) and oscillators (OPOs) are well suited for this task. Read more

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EMCCD and sCMOS cameras for scientific imaging
A comparison of the key figures of current camera models

The emergence of faster and more sensitive scientific cameras allows to acquire images with unprecedented sensitivity and speed. This is particularly important for applications in life sciences where techniques like Raman imaging require low-noise detectors while other techniques like fluorescent correlation spectroscopy rely on frame rates in the upper kilohertz range. To obtain meaningful data it is therefore essential to choose the scientific camera according to the experimental conditions.  Read more

Thomas Deckert (ESR11) presents at the CLEO/Europe 2021

From 21 – 25 June 2021 the bi annual Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe & European Quantum Electronics Conference (CLEO/Europe-EQEC) took place online at the World of Photonics Congress 2021 The CLEO/Europe-EQEC brings together universities, industry scientists and researchers to discuss basic research in laser physics, nonlinear optics and quantum optics. Thomas Deckert, our MUSIQ ESR11, represented the project by presenting his results on Ultrafast Coherent Spectroscopy with Field Resolution at Mid-Infrared and THz Frequencies.

MUSIQ Innovation Newsletter n. 2 | March 2021

Our second MUSIQ Innovation Newsletter on ULTRAFAST SPECTROSCOPY: RECENT PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES is available online as a PDF . We would like to thank Vasilis Petropoulos (ESR5), Vikramdeep Singh (ESR2) and Frank Quintela (ESR12) who delivered us this exciting read.

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Broadband laser sources for ultrafast spectroscopy

The continuous progress in laser technology along with technical advances and conceptual breakthroughs, expand the application potential of Ultrafast Spectroscopy. Read more

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Pulse shaping techniques for ultrafast spectroscopy

This section focuses on programmable femtosecond pulse-shaping techniques for multidimensional ultrafast spectroscopy. Read more

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Resources for improving data acquisit/newsletter/ion and coherence characterization in ultrafast spectroscopy

This section focuses on: 1. eliminating heat-induced signals by controlling pulse spectra through pulse shaping, 2. compressive sensing to shorten the data acquisition time, and 3. simultaneous frequency and time resolution using time-frequency transforms.  Read more

COVID can’t stop the MUSIQ – MUSIQ virtual conference

From the 13th to the 15th of January the ESRs and the MUSIQ partners came together once again to discuss their progress on the development of next-generation optical microscopy.

The conference was hosted virtually from GSK in Stevenage – hence we dubbed it COVID can’t stop the MUSIQ – and brought together scientists from 9 countries spanning across 9 time zones. All ESRs had a chance to share and discuss their science with some of the greatest scientific minds in non-linear optics, plasmonics, spectroscopy or mass spectrometry from the safety of their homes.

The main focus of this conference were the ESRs and their talks on their scientific progress they achieved prior to this meeting, covering the fields of ultrafast spectroscopy and optical microscopy exploiting quantum coherent nonlinear phenomena. The management and organisation of the event was in the hands of Jan Majer and Nicole Slesiona, puppeteered by Steve Hood (GSK) and Paola Borri (Cardiff University). ESRs were responsible for the chairing and the management of the individual sessions to prepare each and every one for their future in the scientific community.

Apart from peer-to-peer scientific discussions among the students and discussions with the PIs, professors Ian Gilmore, Michel Orrit, Enrico Gratton and Christoph Lienau, members of our advisory board, accepted the invitation to deliver talks as Keynote speakers. They shared their expertise and their innovative approaches to further everyone’s insights into the possibilities that lay in front to bring the scientific community closer to broaden everyone’s knowledge about ultrafast quantum processes:

  • Metabolic imaging with subcellular resolution using mass spectrometry, held by Prof. Ian Gilmore
  • Optical Microspectroscopy of Single Molecules and Nanoparticles, held by Prof. Michel Orrit
  • Single cell physiological characterization in living tissue, held by Prof. Enrico Gratton
  • Coherent ultrafast charge and energy transfer processes in nanostructures, held by Prof. Christoph Lienau

MUSIQ Innovation Newsletter n. 1 | October 2020<

We are happy to present to you our first MUSIQ Innovation Newsletter written by three of our Early Stage Researchers, Andrea Pruccoli (ESR10), Eric Michele Fantuzzi (ESR7) and Thomas Deckert (ESR11) on LASER SOURCES FOR MULTIPHOTON MICROSCOPY. The articles are also available for download as PDF.

Download as PDF

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Laser sources for Coherent Raman Scattering Microscopy

State of the art and new technologies – How to choose the best laser source for your SRS experiments

The laser source is arguably the core component in any CRS experiment. In this brief article we explain what the most common laser sources for CRS microscopy are and try to give guidelines for their selection. Read more

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Light sources for harmonic generation and multiphoton fluorescence microscopy

This section informs about the latest laser sources and their requirements for biophotonics applications. Specifically, the field of multiphoton microscopy (MPM) was subject to vast developments in recent years, pushed by the development of pulsed laser sources. This article will provide an overview of specific requirements of MPM experiments, and therein requirements for the laser sources themselves. Read more