Wolf Martin

Group Leader

Prof. Dr. sc. techn. ETH Martin Wolf

Name of the Institution

Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory
Division of Neonatology
UniversityHospital Zurich


Frauenklinikstrasse 10


8091 Zürich


+41-44-255 53 46


Group Members

Dr. Juan Mata Pavia, postdoctoral research associate, juan.matapavia@usz.ch
Dr. Alexander Kalyanov, postdoctoral research associate, alexander.kalyanov@usz.ch
Dr. Salvador Sanchez Majos, postdoctoral research associate, salvador.sanchezmajos@usz.ch
Dr. Felix Scholkmann, postdoctoral research associate, felix.scholkmann@usz.ch
and 8 Ph. D. students, 2-3 MS candidates ETH, 2 MD candidates University of Zurich, and 2 civil servants

Main Field(s) of Research, Abstract

The Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory (BORL) at the Division of Neonatology, University Hospital Zurich is focused on the development of diagnostic tools using light and their research or clinical application. The wide field of expertise and research includes:

  • Quantitative near-infrared spectrophotometry (NIRS), a non-invasive, continuous technique at the bedside, which uses light to analyze tissue, e.g. quantitative measurement of hemoglobin concentration and oxygenation. The expertise of the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory (BORL) includes the development of NIRS instrumentation (sensors, electronics, spectrometers, chip design), software (drivers, graphic user interfaces, and post-processing) and algorithms (signal analysis, physiological parameter extraction). BORL is strongly focused on clinical research, for which custom sensors and algorithms are built. BORL successfully invented, developed and clinically applied optical technology to study brain, muscle, cervix, breast oxygenation, perfusion and function.
  • 3D near-infrared imaging (NIRI), where BORL works on instrumentation to investigate tissue in reflection mode up to 4cm deep or transmission mode up to 8cm deep with an unprecedented 3D spatial resolution of ~5mm. These instruments will be capable of non-invasively, rapidly and quantitatively measuring the concentration of oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin, oxygen saturation, cytochrome aa3 redox state, water, lipids and contrast agents in 3D. So far a resolution of 5mm was achieved in the laboratory, which is leading in the field.
  • Clinical testing and research, such as the assessment of tumor, muscle and brain function, perfusion and oxygenation and the measurement of tissue composition in patients in the hospital during clinical studies .

Main Fields of Research, Keywords

Functional Near Infrared Spectrophotometry, Near Infrared Imaging, Tumor, Brain, Function, Oxygenation, Hemodynamics, Neonate, Adult, Intensive Care, Diagnosis

Special Techniques and Equipment

Frequency-Domain Near Infrared Spectrophotometry, Imagers, Wireless systems

Education and Training

We have training opportunities for MD and MS (engineering or natural sciences) students.

Selected Publications

Hyttel-Sorensen S, Pellicer A, Alderliesten T, Austin T, van Bel F, Benders M, Claris O, Dempsey E, Franz AR, Fumagalli M, Gluud C, Grevstad B, Hagmann C, Lemmers P, van Oeveren W, Pichler G, Plomgaard AM, Riera J, Sanchez L, Winkel P, Wolf M, Greisen G. “SafeBoosC - a phase II randomised clinical trial on cerebral near-infrared spectroscopy oximetry in extremely preterm infants”, British Medical Journal in press.
Scholkmann F, Kleiser S, Metz AJ, Zimmermann R, Mata Pavia J, Wolf U, Wolf M. A review on continuous wave functional near-infrared spectroscopy and imaging instrumentation and methodology. NeuroImage 2014; 85:6-27.
Schöller K, Küpfer S, Baumann L, Hoyer PM, de Courten D, Marti D, Vetushka A, Rossi RM, Wolf M, Bruns N, Scherer LJ. From membrane to skin: Aqueous permeation control through light-responsive amphiphilic polymer conetworks. Advanced Functional Materials 2014; 24(33): 5194-5201.
Mata Pavia J, Wolf M, Charbon E. Single-photon avalanche diode imagers applied to near-infrared imaging. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 2014; 20(6): 3800908
Zimmermann R, Braun F, Achtnich T, Lambercy O, Gassert R, Wolf M. Silicon photomultipliers for improved detection of low light levels in miniature near-infrared spectroscopy instruments. Biomed Opt Express 2013; 659-666.
Muehlemann T, Holper L, Wenzel J, Wittkowski M, Wolf M. The effect of sudden depressurization on pilots at cruising altitude. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;765:177-83.
Holper L, Scholkmann F, Wolf M. Between-brain connectivity during imitation measured by fNIRS. Neuroimage. 2012; 63(1):212-22.
Pizza F, Biallas M, Kallweit U, Wolf M (shared last co-authorship), Bassetti CL. Cerebral hemodynamic changes in stroke during sleep disordered breathing. Stroke. 2012 Jul;43(7):1951-3.
Muehlemann TL, Reefmann N, Wechsler B, Wolf M (shared last co-authorship), Gygax L. In vivo functional near-infrared spectroscopy measures mood-modulated cerebral responses to a positive emotional stimulus in sheep. Neuroimage 2011; 54(2):1625-33.
Holper L, Wolf M. Motor imagery in response to fake feedback measured by functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Neuroimage 2010;50(1):190-197.


SNF, NFP57, NFP 62, KTI, European Union, University of Zurich, Nano-Tera, Swisstransmed


Link to "Forschungsdatenbank" of the University