Welcome to the website of the Chair of Biophotonics – Biomedical Engineering

Prof. Dr. Torsten Frosch,
Head of Research Group

We are researching innovative laser spectroscopic measurement techniques for personalised medicine and therapy monitoring. In this way, we contribute to the early detection, rapid and specific diagnosis and personalised treatment of diseases.

Using sophisticated optical microscopy and imaging techniques in combination with molecule-specific, label-free spectroscopic methods, we can, for example, analyse processes in cells, disease markers and active substances directly and without invasive procedures. Our research focuses on the design of novel photonic amplification techniques and the development of miniaturised, flexible sensor systems for use at the point of care for personalised theranostics.

We are involved in the Research Field Matter and Materials (opens in new tab) and in the Centre for Synthetic Biology (opens in new tab) of TU Darmstadt.

Our research is characterised by interdisciplinary approaches in the field of biophotonics. Our team works at the interface between natural sciences, engineering, medicine and life sciences.

We utilise the latest methods of photonics, a key technology of the 21st century. In this way, we are exploring novel spectroscopic and imaging optical methods that play a prominent role in modern health research. Using these measurement techniques, we can correlate pathological changes and cellular anomalies with their dynamic biochemical and molecular changes and thus recognise diseases earlier and diagnose them more accurately.

The focus of our research is on highly selective and sensitive vibrational spectroscopy (Raman and infrared spectroscopy). To this end, we are researching novel photonic methods for signal amplification and instrumentation. We bridge the gap between research into the fundamentals of innovative optical sensor principles, their realisation in systems and instruments, their translation into biomedical applications and their implementation in state-of-the-art medical devices.

We organise our work into four research lines in order to address current key issues in the healthcare system and improve the treatment of the most common diseases.


Drug-target interactions

Detailed insights into molecular interactions of the antimalarial artesunate with its target-structure β-hematin are of outmost importance for the tailored design of future efficient antimalarials. These findings were derived by a novel combination of resonance Raman excitation, two-dimensional correlation analysis, and density functional theory calculations of β-hematin and its complexes.


Robert Domes and Torsten Frosch, Analytical Chemistry 95, Nr. 34, 2023: 12719–31. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.3c01415 (opens in new tab).

High-throughput spectroscopy

Parallelized multifocal Raman difference spectroscopy reveals even the smallest spectral differences that occur due to weak interactions between substances. The new setup enables the investigation of subtle changes due to biochemically important molecular interactions and opens new avenues to perform drug binding assays and highly parallelized monitoring of chemical reactions.


Sebastian Wolf, Robert Domes, Andreas Merian, Christian Domes, and Torsten Frosch, Analytical Chemistry 94, Nr. 29, 2022: 10346–54,https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.2c00222 (opens in new tab).

UV Raman spectroscopy

Deep UV resonance Raman spectroscopic analysis provides high sensitivity for the quantification of the antimalarial ferroquine (FQ) in the food vacuole of a parasitized erythrocyte and gives insights in the excellent permeation behavior through parasitophorous membranes which result in a strong enrichment at the site of action inside Plasmodium falciparum.


Robert Domes and Torsten Frosch, Analytical Chemistry 95, Nr. 19, 2023: 7630–39, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.3c00539 (opens in new tab).