Biophotonic Sensors

The goal of this interdisciplinary research group is to develop photonic sensor systems for applications in chemistry, biology, and the life-sciences. The developed sensors are based on active and passive microoptical cavities, which are integrated on a chip with microfluidic structures. The major research objectives are optimization of the sensors for high sensitivity, low analyte consumption and easy handling but also include low-cost production to enable use of the chips as disposables.

Top: PMMA microgoblet laser. Bottom: All polymer photonic sensor platform with a 2D array of 100 microgoblet laser sensors integrated with a microfluidic chip.

The research area of biophotonics covers a wide range of applications from biology and medicine to the life-sciences. Due to the multitude of disciplines spanned, biophotonics is a very interdisciplinary research area requiring expertise and technologies from all participating fields. The Biophotonic Sensors Group is located at the Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT) and is collaborating closely with the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ) in research on label-free biophotonic sensors for lab-on-a-chip applications.

This research involves development, fabrication, and testing of integrated polymeric and silicon-based microoptical systems for point-of-care diagnosis and environmental monitoring. For early-stage disease recognition and sensitive detection of contaminants, e.g., in drinking water the relevant pathogens or contaminants must be detected at low concentrations. To amplify the weak interaction of light and analyte resonant structures, for e. g. whispering-gallery mode resonators are utilized. Attachment of particles from the analyte to the cavity results in detuning of the cavity’s resonance frequency, which can be monitored with high precision. The devices are fabricated in the clean room facilities at IMT using state-of-the art semiconductor technologies. Specific detection of a target molecule is achieved by biochemical surface functionalization of the resonator surface with a selective binding layer. In close collaboration with researchers at Institute of Nanotechnology (INT), Institute of Applied Computer Science (IAI), and Institute of Applied Physics (APH) technologies like microcontact stamping and droplet spotting are developed to functionalize individual resonators with high spatial precision. The biosensing experiments are performed in close collaboration with experts at the Universitätsklinikum Freiburg.



Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics (KSOP)
Helmholtz International Research School for Teratronics (HIRST)
Universitätsklinikum Freiburg (PD Dr. Irina Nazarenko)
KIT Institutes  
Institute of Applied Physics (APH, Prof. Dr. Heinz Kalt)
Institute of Nanotechnology (INT, Dr. Dr. Michael Hirtz)
Institute for Applied Computer Science (IAI, Andreas Hofmann)
Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG, Prof. Dr. Joerg Lahann)

Optical Metrology

Optical metrology combines high resolution with high measurement speed and allows for contact-less sample characterization. The Optical Metrology Group at IPQ develops high-precision distance metrology and optical coherence tomography systems and pursues their monolithical photonic integration. Current applications are coordinate-measuring machines, material and particle characterization as well as inline process control.

Three-dimensional C-scans of biological and non-biological objects (a piece of pumice, a part of a decayed leaf of cornus sanguinea, and a cross section of a reel of tape). The images are averages of 100 scans.

The optical high-precision metrology has a resolution in the range of micrometres which is mainly applied in coordinate-measuring technology for industrial high-precision manufacturing. For this purpose both, conventional systems based on discrete components, as well as optical microchips are deployed. Nanophotonic integration of the single components makes the system robust against vibrations and temperature changes and is suitable for the production of compact distance measurement sensors in large quantities. In the research field of optical coherence tomography (OCT), IPQ develops and applies OCT-systems, offering volumetric measurements with microscopic resolution in three dimensions. Novel OCT-system designs are developed and applied for particle and material characterization. One focus is the realization of systems with advanced measurement modes offering highest sensitivities. Further developments are OCT systems in microchip format and specialized measurement probes for inline process control.


Optical Metrology: Research Group Members
Portrait Name Title Phone E-Mail
Denis Ganin Bild