The department of Imaging Physics develops novel instrumentation and imaging technologies. We are driven by our scientific curiosity and problem oriented nature in research with a strong connection to industry and to educate future leaders in the field of imaging science.
The scientific staff of the department is formed by independent Principal Investigators or Educators.
From ‘going it alone’ to smoothly cooperating microscopy fieldIn April 2023, Minister of Education, Culture and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf officially opened the renovated Electron Microscopy Centre (EMC) in Utrecht. In what used to be a somewhat disjointed field of science, the EMC provides a hub where researchers from all the relevant disciplines have access to the expensive equipment for electron microscopy. This significant development is the result of the intensive efforts of the Perspectief consortium Microscopy Valley, with Delft University of Technology as one of the parties.
Paper Xin Meng and Vidya Ganapathy picked as editor’s choice by ACSThe paper: “Voltage imaging with engineered proton-pumping Rhodopsins: Insights from the proton transfer pathway” by Xin Meng and Vidya Ganapathy et al has been selected to be featured as an ACS Editors' Choice in addition to being published in ACS Physical Chemistry Au. The paper has been selected for this honor because of its potential for broad public interest.
TU Delft scientists reveal molecular structure of bacterial gas vesiclesSimilar in function to ballast tanks in submarines or fish bladders, many water-based bacteria use gas vesicles to regulate their floatability. In a publication in Cell, scientists from TU Delft now describe the molecular structure of these vesicles for the first time. These gas vesicles were also recently repurposed as contrast agents for ultrasound imaging.
Advanced microscopy to understand life and fight diseaseOn 20 February, NL-BioImaging (NL-BI) received national funding of 25 million euro, of which 15 million by NWO. The funding supports the consortium in becoming the national advanced light microscopy infrastructure providing coordinated access to the Netherlands’ best imaging technology and analysis platforms. NL-BI is a multi-sited collaboration of all 18 Dutch universities, medical academic centres and research institutes.
In the spotlight
In the spotlight
Advanced microscopy to understand life and fight disease
In the NL-BI consortium, scientists from all Dutch academic research centres will together develop and integrate state-of-the-art microscopy with technologies and services in different nodes. This will enable access for all scientists to revolutionise fundamental insights into the building blocks of life, enable scientific breakthroughs, and advance applications towards society for overcoming life-threatening disease, including cancer, metabolic, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Pushing the boundaries of ultrasound
Physicist David Maresca has received a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Dynamic Imaging grant to develop a next-generation medical ultrasound tool. While state-of-the-art ultrasound imaging, known to most as a baby’s first picture, can show our anatomy and organs, the new tool will be able to zoom in much further, all the way down to the level of the cells in our body. Maresca: “Ultrasound is a safe but also affordable and widespread technology. If we can push the boundaries and make it more sensitive, it will potentially help a lot of people.”
Microscope shows researchers the way to proteins
Physicists from TU Delft, Daan Boltje and Jacob Hoogenboom have developed a 3-in-1 microscope where a light beam, electron beam and ion beam work together to precisely cut out specific slices from biological samples. These slices are indispensable for biomolecular research into new generations of medicines.
Spying on microscopic blood vessels in the heart and brain
Sebastian Weingärtner will use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to exploit hydrogen atoms as microscopic spies to investigate the smallest blood vessels in the body. These ultra-small blood vessels are so fine that they evaded medical imaging so far, yet a better understanding of their features could be a transformative step towards better treatment of diseases like heart failure and dementia.
From light spots to supersharp images
Making detailed 3D images of proteins in living cells with a special light microscope, without damaging those cells. That is what Sjoerd Stallinga, winner of an ERC Advanced grant worth 2.3 million euros, wants to achieve. In order to do so he is going to scan samples nanometer by nanometer using a sophisticated 3D light pattern in an approach that requires extensive collaboration between different disciplines.
Spotlight on aggressive cancer cells
Metastases in cancer are often caused by a few abnormal cells. These behave more aggressively than the other cancer cells in a tumour. Miao-Ping Chien and Daan Brinks are working together, from two different universities, on a method to detect these cells. Their research has now been published in Nature Biomedical Engineering
How to find structurally different molecules before they disappear in the average?
Particle fusion for single molecule localization microscopy improves signal-to-noise ratio and overcomes underlabeling, but ignores structural heterogeneity or conformational variability. This study presents a-priori knowledge-free unsupervised classification of structurally different particles employing the Bhattacharya cost function as dissimilarity metric.
The impact of noise on Structured Illumination Microscopy image reconstructions
Super-resolution structured illumination microscopy (SIM) has become a widely used method for biological imaging. Standard reconstruction algorithms, however, are prone to generate noise-specific artifacts that limit their applicability for lower signal-to-noise data. Here we present a physically realistic noise model that explains the structured noise artifact, which we then use to motivate new complementary reconstruction approaches.
A new tool to understand the brain
How does our brain work? An international team of researchers, including lead author Daan Brinks of TU Delft, has taken another step towards answering that question. They have created a new tool that allows them to image electrical signals in brains with an unprecedented combination of precision, resolution, sensitivity, and depth.
Researchers make 3D image with light microscope
For the first time, Delft researchers have succeeded in making a three-dimensional image of a cellular component using light. The component in question is the nuclear pore complex: tunnels that facilitate traffic to and from the cell nucleus. Studying cell components in 3D can help to determine the cause of various diseases, among other things. The researchers have published their findings in Nature Communications.
Decoding movement intentions in the brain using ultrasound waves
While many techniques can image brain activity, this was the first time that a new technology, called functional ultrasound imaging, was used to detect motor planning deep within the brain. The team is now applying functional ultrasound decoding to more complicated motor control tasks. At ImPhys, Dr. Maresca is developing ultrasound technologies to image brain activity down to the cellular scale.