By means of laser- and photodiagnostic methods, reseachers can detect certain molecules and their composition with methods such as fluorescence diagnosis, Raman spectroscopy or also specific cell type via suitable markers. The Fraunhofer institutes IPM and Fraunhofer ILT are developing suitable measuring principles and applicators for this purpose.
Raman spectroscopy makes it possible to record very detailed spectra of individual cells and to comprehensively characterize them. For example, a single cell can already be employed to distinguish between differentiated stem cells, dissolve cell cycles, monitor activations or determine stress states. At the same time, a Raman spectrometer can be used to analyze extracellular media – for example, to provide quality assurance of growth media, to monitor the concentration of genetically engineered products or to check sterility.
In addition to direct laser sensor systems in biological and medical applications, lab-on-chip systems, so-called biochips, are used for on-site analysis, which enables rapid diagnostics and thus a more targeted selection of medicines – without the detour via a medical laboratory. The institutes have a key competence in reading out data with high sensitivity and in real-time based on the evanescence field technique. The overall systems consist, as a rule, of optical, electronic and fluidic components.