Being able to resolve biological signals and structures is central to understanding how molecules, organelles and cells are organized and work. Hence, gaining higher resolution from biological samples represents major scientific and technological challenges. At the iBV PRISM imaging platform, Sébastien Schaub, instrumentation research engineer, has built a prototype of photonic microscope (‘Multi-angle TIRF or maTIRF in short) with a resolution 15 times higher than what conventional optics can provide. The new instrument pushes the technical limits, thus allowing to observe and measure processes with an axial resolution of about 30nm. Additionally, and importantly, maTIRF can be used with live samples thus opening up many perspectives for imaging cellular processes using cell culture.

Building this new equipment required to jointly develop the instrument itself, together with a dedicated algorithm to allow 3D reconstruction of images. This was made possible thanks to a multidisciplinary effort between physicists, mathematicians and biologists, involving the PhD work of E.Soubies (2014-2016) under the direction of Laure Blanc-Feraud (I3S laboratory), members of the Morpheme team (iBV/INRIA/I3S joint team) and the team of Ellen Van Obberghen-Schilling, from iBV.

The maTIRF microscope was developed from scratch at iBV and was supported by iBV funding and grants from IBiSA (Grant to MICA platform), as well as two grants from University of Nice/Université Côte d’Azur (CSI grants).


Nanometric axial resolution of fibronectin assembly units achieved with an efficient reconstruction approach for multi-angle-TIRF microscopy. Soubies E, Radwanska A, Grall D, Blanc-Féraud L, Van Obberghen-Schilling E, Schaub S. Sébastien Schaub, Scientific Reports 2019 Feb 13.


CNRS INSB press release



iBV CNRS engineer l Sébastien Schaub l T +33 4 92 07 64 28 l