- To build and deploy a series of optical instruments that will allow members of the HKUST community to access these exciting new instruments
- To establish a deep collaborative platform where physicists, chemists, computer scientists, mathematicians and life scientists work closely with each other to attack some of the most difficult and intriguing questions of modern biology
What Directors say
Major advances in the life sciences are often triggered by new imaging technologies. From Leuwenhoek's first magnifying lens to the confocal microscope, biologists have enjoyed an increasing ability to observe exceedingly small cellular structures. Indeed, physicists and engineers have advanced optical microscopy to the point where until recently the limits of detection were set by the physical dimensions of a wavelength of light (~200nm).
And recently, even that limit has been broken. Taking advantage of the vast array of new fluorescent imaging compounds, the work of optical physicists has led to development of an entirely new generation of super-resolution microscopy. Using statistics and computational algorithms to 'see' a fluorescent substance, optical super-resolution has already produced stunning fluorescent images of living cells at resolutions below 25nm (the diameter of a single microtubule).