Spectroscopy and Imaging Research Department, IPHT Jena, Germany

Biophotonics serves as the link to all research activities at the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology’s (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena, the famous “optical valley” of Germany.

With its 100,000 inhabitants and a broad cooperation landscape of industry, science and research, Jena offers a strong, sustainable technological basis in an innovative environment. Together with approximately 25,000 students from all over the world, they make the Saale city lively, modern and open.

In line with the motto “Photonics for Life”, our research Leibniz IPHT is focused on biophotonic processes to address issues in the fields of medicine and health sciences.

Leibniz IPHT is involved in research, development and translation into innovative application-oriented systems at the interface of these areas.

The biophotonics research focus implements innovative photonic methods and tools for the following application fields

  • Molecular spectroscopy, high resolution and hyperspectral imaging
  • Fiber, chip, and nanoparticle-based analytics.

Applications range from clinical diagnostics (e.g., sepsis and cancer diagnosis) to food and environmental safety as well as to fundamental research in the life sciences. These applications require the development of new spectroscopic methods and imaging systems of the highest specificity, sensitivity, and resolution. This approach is supported by the search for new markers and the implementation of fitting labels based on metallic nanoparticles, for example.


The spectroscopy and imaging research department focuses on the research, development, and integration of optic/photonic tools and methods for

  • Microbial photonic diagnostics
  • Spectral histopathology
  • Environmental, pharmaceutical, and food analytics
  • Process analytics

The implementation of microspectroscopic imaging methods and instruments and the implementation of fiber, chip, and nanoparticle-based methods together with molecular chip-based point-of-care concepts form the basis of this department’s research activities. One main focus is in the area of methodical development in the transfer of promising methods and partial modules to utilizable systems. In addition to multimodal imaging, compact optical detection systems are researched that can be integrated using new components for spectral sensor technology and imaging combined with microfluidic functional elements. Furthermore, topics such as visualization and digitalization both in the area of instrumentation and control and in the area of data processing are part of the research activities.

The search for new molecular and functional contrast mechanisms, their implementation into innovative spectral optical methods, and the instrumentation that builds on this basis are a key challenge. Two complementary approaches are being pursued: While a top-down approach based on physical measurement methods can be used to increase specificity and sensitivity, the research, development, and integration of innovative markers and labels take a bottom-up approach to chemical contrasting.

The research, development, and implementation of innovative technologies and methods are aimed, in particular, at


  • Improving disease diagnosis (qualitative and quantitative);
  • Allowing in-depth insights into dynamic life processes;
  • Developing new application fields in optical technologies for biomedical, environmental, and life science cooperation partners.


The institute was founded in 1992 and has been performing top, world-renowned research ever since. On January 1, 2014, Leibniz-IPHT became a member of the Leibniz Association, jointly supported by the Free State of Thuringia and the federal government. IPHT employs 370 people.

Website – https://www.leibniz-ipht.de/en/research-units/research-departments/spectroscopy-and-imaging/overview.html

Contact person – Prof. Dr. Jürgen Popp.

Contact the host – Expression of Interest Portal

As per COFUND guidelines, fellowship programmes will be based on individual-driven mobility, i.e., researchers will be able to freely choose a research topic fitting their individual needs.

The subject of the research project is expected to contribute to European competitiveness and to be in the general field of Photonics and/or its applications. Within these limitations, applicants can freely choose both their research topic and their host organisation, in the spirit of the ‘European Charter for Researchers’.