Mission Statement

The AIF develops, builds and maintains advanced light microscopy setups. The facility offers access to microscopy techniques which are not commercially available, and provides support to its users during the image acquisition process and for the data post-processing.

The facility offers its expertise in the field of optics, opto-mechanics and instrument control with research groups who are developing their custom setups.

The core businesses of the AIF are:

  • Offering users access to the most recent light microscopy techniques
  • Supporting individual groups developing custom setups
  • Establishing a hub for the community of instrument developers

Owing to the nature of the activities carried on by the facility, the AIF will develop novel technologies, which will be used for improving the existing setups.

Operational structure

The facility offers three levels of service, targeted at individual users, research groups and the general community. 

For individual users, the facility builds and maintain several custom microscopes, and provides support and training for their use. The AIF will assist planning an experiment and support the users during the data acquisition, post-processing and visualization. 

For research groups developing their own custom instruments, the AIF offers its technical know-how during the design phase and troubleshooting during the setup process.

For the general community, the facility aims at becoming a hub for developing custom microscopes by promoting the exchange of technical know-how and expertise, with the goal of establishing a coherent, dynamic and flexible platform to facilitate the development of novel instruments.

Access rules

Basic Users can only access the instruments after electronic booking, and with an Assistant. Advanced Users might be allowed to access the instruments without supervision, but only after having received a proper training on the microscope by an Assistant. In any case, a User will always be able to contact an Assistant during normal working hours using the internal telephone system for troubleshooting unexpected issues.

Questions concerning the sample mounting and handling will be discussed before the first training session, in order to maximize the time a User will actually spend collecting data.


The core mission of the AIF is to provide cutting-edge imaging services for its users. In doing so, the facility is expected to stay constantly updated with the most recent developments in the field of light microscopy and to implement the latest imaging techniques in its setups. Consequently, the facility will be an ideal place for developing novel solutions and technologies in the field of light microscopy. The main areas where the AIF is most likely going to contribute are microscopy, optics and instrument control. The possible outcomes range therefore from new imaging techniques to new control algorithms.