ERC Starting Grant for ARCNL group leader Stefan Witte
Stefan Witte was awarded an ERC Starting Grant of 1.5 million Euro for his proposal “High-resolution microscopy without lenses: a new generation of imaging technology”.
The Starting Grants of the European Research Council are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or program. Stefan Witte is employed by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and works as a group leader at ARCNL.
Witte will use this grant to develop new methods that allow high-resolution microscopy without using lenses. While imaging technology is one of the most widespread diagnostic techniques in science and industry, the need for specialized optical components can often be problematic. Lensless imaging is an elegant answer to the problem with optical components, which can be large, costly and sensitive to alignment. The technique of lensless imaging produces a sharp image of an object by numerical means rather than by actual optical components, such as lenses.
Witte’s group will take an integrated approach to lensless microscopy, by developing novel imaging methods that have a common conceptual approach, but can be applied in a wide variety of experiments. A broad range of applications are conceivable for lensless imaging, such as the development of extremely small microscopes, imaging through scattering media, and even ultrahigh-resolution imaging using extreme-ultraviolet and soft-X-ray radiation. Lensless microscopy provides exciting new prospects for fundamental science and technology alike.
Schematic drawing of a lensless imaging system. A laser beam strikes an object, and the resulting diffraction pattern is recorded with a camera. The challenge in lensless imaging is to retrieve an actual image of the object from such a pattern.