Université Biophotonics Group

Last update: July 19th, 2017

Welcome to the GAP Biophotonics group website

Prof. Jean-Pierre WOLF

May 2017:

New Patent Published

Patent screenshot

Method and apparatus for detecting and discriminating biological from non-biological species


This invention concerns the field of sample identification, in particular a method and apparatuses for identifying or discriminating biological species from non-biological species, both as individual particles and as components of a composition, by pump- probe fluorescence spectroscopy for time-resolved detection or imaging. The method uses the finding that the UV-induced fluorescence of biological molecules is varied, in particular is depleted, by the addition of visible radiation, whereas this does not occur with non-biological organic molecules. The invention discriminates the fluorescence signals of bio and non-bio particles or species using a differential approach, i.e. the comparison of the total fluorescence recorded with and without additional visible radiation. This allows to discriminate biological particles comprising aromatic amino- acids (AA), like peptides, proteins, bacteria, viruses, pollens, spores, etc., from non- biological particles, like aromatic (AH) or polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), carbonaceous aerosols, soot, etc.

Patent number: WO2017033049A1 Link

April 2017:

Laser triggered breakdown picture

LLR project “Laser Lighting Rod”

The group of Prof. Wolf is taking part into the Consortium of the project “Laser Lighting Rod” (Project ID: 737033) which is financed by the fund FET-Open of the european research funding program Horizon 2020 (Fund: H2020-EU.1.2.1. - FET Open ). Ever since the invention of the lightning rod by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, mankind has become more and more invested in understanding and tame this natural phenomenon. Along with the rapid evolution of the laser technologies, the idea to develop new type of lighting protection based on high-power fs lasers laser has emerged in recent years. The goal of the present project is to investigate and develop a new type of lightning protection based on the use of upward lightning discharges initiated through a high repetition rate multi terawatt laser. The feasibility of the novel technique and the project’s prospect of success are based on recent research providing new insights into the mechanism responsible for the guiding of electrical discharges by laser filaments, on cutting-edge high power laser technology and on the availability of the uniquely suitable Säntis lightning measurement station in Northeastern Switzerland.

LLR project at CORDIS link

LLR project website

New article in Science

CF4 moleclue

«An ultrafast X-ray source in laboratory format»

Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Geneva have succeeded for the first time in using a laboratory X-ray source to demonstrate how two highly fluorinated molecules change within a few quadrillionths of a second, or femtoseconds.

In nature, some processes occur so quickly that even the blink of an eye is very slow in comparison. Many basic physical, chemical and biological reactions take place on the ultrafast time scale of a few femtoseconds (10-15 s) or even attoseconds (10-18 s). In molecules, elementary particles, such as electrons or photons, move in a mere 100 attoseconds (10-16 s). When electrons in a molecule jump from one atom to another, chemical bonds dissolve and new ones arise within a fraction of a femtosecond. The ability to track processes of this kind on the atomic scale in real time is one of the key reasons for development of major new research facilities such as the SwissFEL free electron laser. Now, researchers from the ETH Zurich and the University of Geneva have found a way to study ultrafast processes of this kind in the laboratory, using a soft X-ray source.

Reference: Pertot, Y., C. Schmidt, M. Matthews, A. Chauvet, M. Huppert, V. Svoboda, A. von Conta, A. Tehlar, D. Baykusheva, J.-P. Wolf and H. J. Wörner (2017). Time-resolved x-ray absorption spectroscopy with a water window high-harmonic source. Science. [DOI: 10.1126/science.aah6114] Pertot-2017 (1.2 MB).

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Quantum Vision Project Accepted

GAP Biophotonics and five groups, all from the University of Geneva, have been awarded a Sinergia multidisciplinary Swiss national project. The aim of this ambitious project is to investigate whether our senses, and especially our vision, are sensitive to purely quantum phenomena, like quantum interferences and photon entanglement.


Sinergia link

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