WG 1. Materials Research and Photophysical Characterization

This WG addresses all aspects of materials research of UCNMs to optimise the synthesis, characterise their photo-physical properties, and improve their upconversion luminescence, which is still 10- to 20-fold lower compared respective bulk materials.

1. Enhancement of upconversion efficiency

2. Identification of energy loss channels by time-dependent luminescence spectroscopy

3. Reference materials


WG 2. Surface Functionalisation

Surface functionalisation is required to render UCNMs dispersible in water and for bioconjugation. Different strategies for the reproducible chemical functionalisation of the surface of UCNMs will be assessed to yield tailor-made surface properties.

1. Dispersibility

2. Biocompatibility

3. Coupling of biomolecules

4. Long-term stability


WG 3. Instrument Development

Presently, there are no commercial instruments available for measuring upconversion luminescence and the research is based on in-house built measurement and imaging instruments. This WG focuses on developing dedicated instruments for the photo-physical characterisation or (bio)analytical applications of UCNMs using reference materials from WG 1. The specific demands of users who are involved in assay development or medical imaging (WG 3) will be used to define the technical requirements for developing the instruments.

1. Instruments for measuring absolute quantum yields and luminescence lifetimes of UCNMs

2. Laser development

3. Development of a single molecule microscope for UCNMs

4. Development and customisation of instruments

Commercial instruments such as (a) fluorescence microscopes, (b) microwell plate readers, (c) flow cytometers, (d) in vivo imaging systems, (e) microarray scanners, and (f) lateral-flow scanners will be customised for the research on UCNMs. Prototype instruments will be developed together with industrial partners for the utilisation of UCNMs for (bio)analytical applications.


WG 4. Assays, Sensors and Imaging

Based on the optimised and standardised UCNMs and appropriate detection instruments, new assay formats and applications will be developed. Intrinsically referenced signal detection principles will be investigated, in particular ratiometric dual wavelength measurements that make use of the multiple emission lines of UCNMs, or time-gated measurements to record changes in the luminescence lifetimes.

1. Diagnostic assays

2. Chemo- and biosensors

3. Encoding schemes for multiplexed analyte detection

4. Fluorescence imaging and microscopy

5. Single molecule applications


WG 5. Toxicity

The dissemination and commercialisation of UCNMs in bioanalytical assays critically depends on the toxicity of UCNMs. Thus, the toxicity of UCNMs will be assessed and safety guidelines will be developed for utilising UCNMs.

1. Interaction with cells

2. Cytotoxicity testing

3. Safety Evaluation



COST Action CM1403 (2014-2018)

Chair: dr Hans Gorris (University of Regensburg, Germany)

Vice-Chair: prof.Tero Soukka (University of Turku, Finland)

COST Science Officer: Dr. Lucia Forzi (Bruseels, Belgium)

STSMs Manager: dr hab. Artur Bednarkiewicz (PAS & WCB EIT+, Poland)


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