MUSIQ Roadmap on bio-nano-photonics published

From June to September 2020 the ESRs organised a virtual Journal Club as part of the continuous training. Part of the regular Journal Club was to discuss relevant papers that they thought may potentially be used as references to develope and write a MUSIQ Roadmap. This is one of our dissemination activities, to produce a technology Roadmap about the challenges and future directions of optical microscopy exploiting quantum coherent nonlinear phenomena. Groups of ESRs presented papers during the Journal Club which were then discussed. The MUSIQ Roadmap has been published in the Journal of Optics which is openly accessible to all.

Read the full article online:


In the quest to decipher the chain of life from molecules to cells, the biological and biophysical questions being asked increasingly demand techniques that are capable of identifying specific biomolecules in their native environment, and can measure biomolecular interactions quantitatively, at the smallest possible scale in space and time, without perturbing the system under observation. The interaction of light with biomolecules offers a wealth of phenomena and tools that can be exploited to drive this progress. This Roadmap is written collectively by prominent researchers and encompasses selected aspects of bio-nano-photonics, spanning from the development of optical micro/nano-spectroscopy technologies for quantitative bioimaging and biosensing to the fundamental understanding of light–matter interaction phenomena with biomolecules at the nanoscale. It will be of interest to a wide cross-disciplinary audience in the physical sciences and life sciences.

Read the full article online:

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 E-Schools on Ultrafast optics and spectroscopy

The COVID-19 has restricted the movement of people which has affected many including our Early Stage Researchers who would be required to travel for their research and training, a key aspect in European Training Networks (ETNs).

To find a way for the the MUSIQ ESRs to work together in these difficult times and to manage their “mobility” The MUSIQ network is organising online e-school training modules to offer the MUSIQ Early Stage Researchers and other students from our partner organisations the opportunity to receive virtual training on ultrafast optics and spectroscopy related topics from our experts within our network.

From the 16.- 23. April 2020 ​the MUSIQ PIs set up 6 virtual training sessions on topics related to Ultrafast optics and spectroscopy​. The presenters consisted of experts in the field within and outside of the MUSIQ network. Details on the sessions can be found below:

  • 16. April – Introduction to Ultrafast Optics and Spectroscopy
    Giulio Cerullo
  • 17. April – Second- and Third-order Non-Linear Optics
    Cristian Manzoni
  • 20. April – Multi-dimensional Spectroscopy
    Margherita Maiuri
  • 21. April – Exercises of Non-linear Optics and Ultrafast Spectroscopy
    Rocio Borrego-Varillas
  • 22. April – Coherent Optical Spectroscopy of Nanostructures
    Wolfgang Langbein
  • 23. April – Ultrafast Plasmonics
    Daniele Brida

We would like to thank the MUSIQ network for their quick thinking and adaption to the current situtation and for bringing together such a interesting E-School and the ESRs for their active contributions.

MUSIQ on Instagram

The MUSIQ project has set up an Instagram account where our ESRs post regular photos and updates on themselves and their work within the project. Follow us online for an insight into the life as a MUSIQ ESR and updates on training and research.

Follow us @musiq.msca

1st MUSIQ Week, 9-14 December 2019

The 1st Week School took place in Marseille, France from 9-14 December 2019 and brought together the MUSIQ partners and the ESRs for the first time to discuss developing the next-generation optical microscopy exploiting quantum coherent nonlinear phenomena. The program consisted of different networking and training elements starting off with a two day symposium where all PIs presented their research and activities within the MUSIQ project. The ESRs also each had the opportunity to present themselves and their individual ESR projects and had organised posters related to their research which helped all participants to receive a detailed overview of how each person will be contributing to the project.

The second element of the 1st MUSIQ week was dedicated to the training of the ESRs. Over the next four days the ESRs received the first sessions of the multi-disciplinary training programme that specifically addresses the scientific, technical and career development challenges associated with MUSIQ’s vision of developing the next-generation optical microscopy exploiting quantum coherent nonlinear phenomena. These topics included the 1st School on Molecular nonlinear optics held by CNRS and two transferable skills trainings on time project management for scientists and on gender equality held by Hertz.

The full MUSIQ training programme is structured around 6 weeks of network-wide face-to-face events that will equip the ESRs with the combination of research-related and transferable competences needed to succeed in the European science, technology and innovation sector.

You can follow the MUSIQ ESRs via Instagram

Kick off Meeting MUSIQ

On the 2nd of April, the MUSIQ project officially kicked-off with the first face-to-face meeting with the whole consortium. All MUSIQ Beneficiaries had the chance to meet at the coordinating Cardiff University, School of Biosciences. The project Coordinator, Prof Paola Borri gave everyone a warm welcome and started the meeting by introducing and updating all participants on the objectives of the four year project. The meeting offered an engaging platform to discuss the research that will take place as well as the recruiting strategy for the 15 open positions.

The atmosphere was full of energy and the 11 represented partners from 8 countries are excited to dive into the project. We will look forward to the collaborations and results that are going to follow within the next 48 months.

Official Project Start

The MUSIQ project officially started on 1. April and will run for the next four years under the coordination of Prof. Paola Borri from the University of Cardiff in the United Kingdom.

MUSIQ has received 3.9 million euro funding from the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union. The following scientific objectives highlight the research training goals of this project:

  • Investigate nonlinear optical phenomena originating from the intrinsic response of natural biomolecules.
  • Combine nonlinear imaging with ultrafast two-dimensional spectroscopy
  • Achieve single molecule detection and super-resolution in coherent nonlinear imaging.

MUSIQ is designed as an integrated research and training network where we will recruit 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) to work towards the central ambitious goal of developing the ‘quantum microscopes of tomorrow’.

To enhance the career perspective of the ESRs by training them in a broad range of cutting-edge scientific, technical and transferable skills, through a unique combination of projects, secondments, and tailored courses provided by world-leading academic institutions, high-tech companies and professional partners, across different European countries.

PhD Positions officially open – apply now!

The recruitment phase for the open MUSIQ PhD positions has officially started. MUSIQ is looking to recruit 15 Early Stage Researchers (ERS).

The overarching training objective of MUSIQ is to form the next generation of creative, innovative, well-connected scientists in this technologically demanding field of multiphoton microscopy technology developments. Therefore MUSIQ, implements a multidisciplinary intersectoral training and research programme at the interface between physics, chemistry and life sciences.

To enhance the career perspective of the ESRs who will be choosen by training them in a broad range of cutting-edge scientific, technical and transferable skills, through a unique combination of projects, secondments, and tailored courses.

For further details check the open positions here. Apply soon for the limmited MUSIQ PhD positions and become part of this journey.

Projects starts on 1st April 2019 – No Joke

The EU funded project MUSIQ will officially start on 1st April 2019 and aims to develope with the help of 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) the next generation optical microscopy exploitin quantum coherent nonlinear phenomena.

It trains the ESRs on a unique mixture of experimental and computational skills at the physics/chemistry/life science interface. By bringing together a unique team of 6 world-leading academic groups, at the forefront of nonlinear optical microscopy and ultrafast coherent light-matter interaction phenomena, and 6 high tech companies, to translate the results into biomedical/pharmaceutical real-world applications.

The project will run for 48 months under the coordination of Prof Paola Borri from the Cardiff University.

MUSIQ successfully evaluated

The MUSIQ proposal has been evaluated positively and will therefore receive funding under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018), more precise as an European Training Network (ETN), under grant agreement no. 812992.

MUSIQ – Multiphoton Microscopy and Ultrafast Spectroscopy: Imaging meets Quantum – is designed as an innovative and pioneering training network, with the unique vision of developing the next-generation optical microscopy exploiting quantum coherent nonlinear phenomena.

MUSIQ brings together a multidisciplinary team of physicists, optical engineers, biologists, chemists, from academia and industry, using a broad set of complementary techniques. Through their projects, secondments and collaborative exchanges, all 15 ESRs will have access to an excellent  combination of tools, technologies and expertise.

The following scientific objectives highlight the research training goals of this project:

  • Investigate nonlinear optical phenomena originating from the intrinsic response of natural biomolecules, to achieve label-free imaging and overcome artefacts from sample staining/fluorescence methods.
  • Combine nonlinear (i.e. multiphoton) imaging with ultrafast two-dimensional spectroscopy to increase specificity and unravel quantum coherences in biomolecules.
  • Achieve single molecule detection and super-resolution in coherent nonlinear imaging via a combination of approaches, including the enhancement of the light field in the vicinity of metallic (plasmonic) nanostructures.