Tuesday, 27-02-2024

Press Release

EU funding for laser and microscopy technology

4.8 million euros for EU project SWEEPICS for laser-based biomedical diagnostics under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Sebastian Karpf, Junior Professor of Translational Biomedical Photonics at the Institute of Biomedical Optics (BMO) at the University of Lübeck

A new EU project "SWEEPICS" has been launched at the University of Lübeck. Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Sebastian Karpf, Junior Professor of Translational Biomedical Photonics at the Institute of Biomedical Optics (BMO) at the University of Lübeck, an international team of experts is exploring innovative laser and microscopy technologies for precise and rapid medical diagnostics. By developing animal-free tests on artificially cultivated organoids, the project promises more cost-effective and faster drug development, which will contribute to advances in medicine and an ethical approach to animal testing.

EU funding for international research team

The launch of the new EU project SWEEPICS (Swept Lasers For Non-Invasive Diagnostics) has been announced. The SWEEPICS project, which is funded with 4.8 million euros as part of the EU funding program "HORIZON Europe Research and Innovation Actions", started on December 1, 2023 with a duration of three years and is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Sebastian Karpf, Junior Professor for Translational Biomedical Photonics at the Institute of Biomedical Optics (BMO) at the University of Lübeck, and supported by an international research team from Sweden, Hungary, Austria and Switzerland.

Advanced laser and microscopy technology

SWEEPICS aims to advance medical diagnostics through the development of state-of-the-art coherent laser sources. The project includes research on a key laser technology, the so-called "pulsed swept source laser", and an advanced microscopy technology, the so-called SLIDE microscopy. In combination, these technologies enable high-speed imaging of cellular models in microfluidic high-throughput microscopy. Technology transfer is ensured by the Medical Laser Center Lübeck GmbH.

Less animal testing thanks to three-dimensional organoids

An important component of the project is the artificial cultivation of miniature organs in the laboratory, so-called organoids, which are interspersed with blood vessels. Prof. Josef Penninger from the Medical University of Vienna, a renowned expert in this field, is a partner in the SWEEPICS project.
Prof. Sebastian Karpf, the project leader of SWEEPICS, is confident: "The SWEEPICS project will enable us to advance cellular research into new drugs using model systems, so-called organoids. This new technological approach should make it possible to work without laboratory animals in the future, which promises lower costs and faster process times for the development of new drugs. Our research into new swept-source lasers and laser-based microscopy methods can make a decisive contribution here. The interdisciplinary research consortium with its broad expertise in the fields of laser technology, microscopy, image analysis and biotechnology covers the entire spectrum of modern biomedical optics, which will guarantee the success of the EU-funded SWEEPICS project."

High throughput for efficient drug development

SWEEPICS will investigate and develop the next generation of swept-source lasers that offer flexible pulse modulation capability, high output power, coherent multi-wavelength output and potential for a variety of new applications. The technology will be used in innovative use cases based on novel blood vessel organoids to enable animal-free drug testing and infection studies. The SWEEPICS laboratory system will develop a new diagnostic procedure through the three-dimensional imaging of the organoids and enable very efficient drug development through a high throughput of up to 72,000 organoids per hour.

The project results promise a significant breakthrough in laser technology for medical diagnostics by enabling high-resolution three-dimensional cellular images with high accuracy and speed. This should lead to a drastic reduction in animal testing and faster diagnostic results, which are crucial for the research and development of new drugs.

Further information on the project can be found at  


Prof. Dr. Sebastian Karpf
Juniorprofessor für translationale Biomedizinische Photonik
Institut für Biomedizinische Optik (BMO)
Universität zu Lübeck

The SWEEPICS project was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. (Logo of the EU)

Prof Dr Sebastian Karpf, project leader of the international EU project SWEEPICS (Photo: private)