Biomedical Photonics (Ton van Leeuwen)

Photons for life

The research of the Biomedical Photonics group focuses on the physics of the interaction of light with tissue to gather quantitative, functional and molecular information. We use the generated knowledge on biomedical optics for the development, introduction and clinical evaluation of (newly developed) optical imaging and analysis techniques.

Biomedical photonics AMC

Research lines

  1. Quantification of physiological and pathological conditions with optical techniques. Based on the intrinsic contrast present in optical signals obtained by e.g. hyperspectral imaging, fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy, and optical coherence tomography (OCT), functional information of the tissue under study is obtained. This information can be used to improve, for instance, tumor detection, bilirubin monitoring in neonates, and dehydration monitoring.
  2. Forensic sciences. By utilizing optical techniques as spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging, changes in the biophysical parameters are used for the determination of the age of a bruise (in relation to child abuse), identification and age determination of bloodstains, and fingermark analysis for donor profiling (crime scene investigation).
  3. Clinical evaluation and integration of optical techniques. The integration and combination of novel optical technologies for molecular and functional imaging is being explored. We focus on the combination of (Raman) spectroscopic techniques with OCT and on new developments in integrated optics (”from cleanroom to clinic”).
  4. Detection of extracellular vesicles. In cooperation with the laboratory of experimental clinical chemistry, optical techniques (e.g. flow cytometry, single particle tracking, Raman microspectroscopy) are being developed to quantify the diameter, concentration, and cellular origin of extracellular vesicles. These vesicles, also known as microparticles and exosomes, are present in blood and have a diameter between 30 nm to 1 μm.

Our research is embedded in the Center of Research Excellence (CoRE) on Innovative Medical Devices Innitiative "Institute Quantivision", a collaboration between UvA-FNWI, AMC, NKI, VUmc and VU, and the Amsterdam Center for Forensic Science and Medicine. We work together with various (pre-)clinical groups of the AMC and the NKI, the KNAW Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, the departments of "Biomedical Photonic Imaging" and "Medical Cell BioPhysics" of the "MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine" at the University of Twente, the "van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences" of the UvA and the "Biomedical Photonics" Group at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville (TN). Our group is also part of the "LaserLAB" of the VU.