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Advanced Engineering Lab


The goal of the ICFO Advanced Engineering Lab (AEL) is to bring researchers closer to state of the art technologies in Electronics and Precision Mechanical Engineering. The AEL is dedicated to support the innovation and development carried out at ICFO's research labs.

The facility occupies some 200 m², distributed in four areas: Mechanical Workshop, Printed Circuits Board Workshop, Electronic Laboratory and a Technical Office. The lab provides state-of-the-art tools for electronic design, assembly and characterization as well as for micromechanical engineering.

A team of highly specialized engineers identifies commercial solutions and creates novel electronic and mechanical devices for the demanding variety of applications addressed by ICFO researchers.

Applications range from cutting-edge devices for ultrafast optoelectronics and space communications, ultrasensitive devices for quantum optics, nano and bio photonics, to optimization of optical systems and design of new optomechanical elements, among others.

The AEL is open to external collaborations with industry, research centers and Universities.

Industrial Labs

The Corning-ICFO collaboration includes multi-year sponsorship of a Chaired Faculty Professorship, a Corning Surfaces Laboratory, and sponsored research projects of mutual interest. The Chaired Faculty Professorship will be occupied by Professor Valerio Pruneri. The Corning Surfaces Laboratory is designed to host cutting-edge fabrication and characterization equipment. The lab was officially inaugurated in June 2013.


Leica Microsystems has established a Nanoscopy Imaging Reference Site in order to collaborate with ICFO’s experts in super-resolution microscopy in the conceptualization and implementation of novel technological improvements for their state-of-the-art microscopy systems. Within the framework of the ICFO SLN Facility headed by Dr. Pablo Loza-Alvarez, advanced research, including incorporations of new hardware and software for front-end microscopy techniques, will be performed, converting Leica’s new 3D gated STED system (TCS SP8 STED 3X) into a unique system that will be available to advanced national and international users and researchers with the most challenging applications.


Nikon's Center of Excellence in super-resolution STORM imaging at ICFO is a unique partnership between ICFO, IZASA and Nikon Instruments Europe. Focusing on STORM super-resolution technology, the center hosts a ground-breaking Nikon motorized inverted microscope ECLIPSE Ti-E with STORM (N-STORM) to push ICFO's ongoing cutting edge research in this area. This fruitful partnership is being facilitated by Dr. Pablo Loza-Alvarez, head of the Super-resolution Light Microscopy & Nanoscopy Facility at ICFO.

Super-resolution Light Microscopy & Nanoscopy Facility


The Super-resolution Light Microscopy & Nanoscopy (SLN) Research Facility at ICFO is equipped with front-end microscopy techniques that are able to operate a step beyond the commercial state of the art. Our two research teams (SLN lab and SLN SIM) perform continuous R&D in most of the advanced light microscopy techniques and provide access and training to all types of users in the forefront of microscopy for the most demanding biomedical applications. The SLN is open to external collaborations with industry, research centers and Universities.

Available Microscopy Techniques and Tools

  • Super resolution (STORM, STED)
  • Lattice light sheet (LLS) (Work in progress)
  • Light sheet fluorescence (SPIM, DSLM, Macro)
  • Raman and SERS
  • Multiphoton (TPEF, THG, SHG)
  • Fluorescence (Confocal, Multispectral Confocal, FRET, FRAP, etc)
  • Optical Tweezers and Femtosecond nanosurgery


The SLN Facility at ICFO provides:

  • Access to external researchers and collaborators to the variety of state-of-the-art microscopy and super resolution techniques.
  • Training, through short-term and mid-term, hands-on courses tailored to the needs of specific users with a variety of relevant backgrounds.
  • Image analysis and quantification tools customized for the different techniques.

Collaboration with Industry:

ICFO actively collaborates with industry leaders to help implement improvements on the most advanced commercially available microscopy platforms.

Research Infrastructures

SLN Coordinator: Pablo Loza

SLN Research Facility Homepage

Teams @ SLN Facility

Additional Support

The Post-Processing lab (PPL) is designed to support the processing, fabrication, and characterization of optical materials and components for fundamental and industrial research projects. The lab offers access to state-of-the-art dicing and polishing machines, 6" sputtering machine, electroplating benches, wire bonders, solar simulators, fluorimeters, and UV/VIS spectrophotometers, among other equipment. The PPL is open to both ICFO and non-ICFO researchers. Training and support are available.A team of highly specialized engineers identifies commercial solutions and creates novel electronic and mechanical devices for the demanding variety of applications addressed by ICFO researchers.


The Chemistry Lab (CHL) was set up to give ICFO researchers a place to carry out chemical experiments in a safe environment. The lab features three fume hoods as well as glassware, equipment and services to prepare solutions and perform chemical reactions. Researchers who have participated in a basic safety seminar are able to use this lab on a self-service basis.

NanoFabrication Lab


The NanoFabrication Lab (NFL) at ICFO is a transversal facility devoted to the fabrication and characterization of nanostructured photonic devices. This laboratory, which is open to users both within and outside ICFO, includes state of the art nanofabrication tools and techniques for a wide range of optical applications, ranging from biosensing to optical communications, and spanning a broad range of materials, including polymers, semiconductors, metals, or crystals, among others. The laboratory also includes tools for advanced material and device characterization.

Available Techniques

  • Lithography: electron-beam and optical lithography
  • Focused Ion Beam: Ga/e- and He/Ne dual-beam tools
  • Etching: ICP, RIE and wet etching
  • Thin film deposition: thermal and electron-beam evaporation, sputtering, atomic layer deposition
  • Surface preparation: plasma asher, UVO cleaner, ovens
  • Characterization: SEM, EDX, atomic force microscopy, spectroscopic ellipsometry, profilometry, microscopy, etc.
  • Specific controlled environment: glove boxes, fume hoods, laminar flows, etc.


The NFL is open to external collaborations with industry, research centers and Universities and all interested parties.

Interim Lab Head: Niek van Hulst

Biology Lab


The Biology Lab (BIL) at ICFO is a transversal facility available to all eligible ICFO groups with the aim of providing scientific assistance and technical support to ICFO researchers covering their needs in biological sample handling, preparation and maintaining. The facility has been implemented to meet biosafety regulations to perform experiments involving biological samples up to biosafety level 2.

The Facility is prepared with equipment and tools to assist users in their needs regarding classical and last generation Molecular Biology and Biochemistry techniques as well as in vitro and in vivo practices.

Available Techniques

  • Molecular Biology: Molecular cloning. Gene expression. PCR. Electrophoresis. Genome editing using CRSPR/Cas9 technology.
  • Biochemistry: Protein purification. PAGE. Western blot. Elisa.
  • Mammalian cells: Routine cell culture and sample preparation. Transient transfection. Generation of stably transfected cell lines. Cryopreservation.
  • Immunoassays: Antibody conjugation. Immunosfluorescence. Immunoprecipitation.
  • Microorganisms: Routine culture.  Maintenance and update of a bacterial strain collection. Plasmid propagation and purification.
  • Culture of wild type and different mutants of invertebrate model organism Caenorhabditis elegans.
  • Biological sample handling and preparation for STORM and other super resolution microscopy techniques.


The BIL offers scientific advice and hands-on training in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry techniques as well as technical support to conduct basic research activities involving living animals.

The BIL is open to external collaborations with industry, research centres and Universities.