The research area Biomedicine and Medical Technology focus on multimodal molecular analyses, device developments and IT solutions. This includes the the development, establishment and validation of new biomedical and medical technology, in particular in the field of high-precision mass spectrometry imaging (MSI). Those technologies enable CeMOS to perform novel, highly informative studies in the field of pharmacology (PK/PD), toxicology as well as in clinical and biomedical research. Herein, CeMOS is highly active in applied and industry-focused projects and is open for new collaborations and joint-ventures.
In close collaboration with the research field Bioinformatics and Data Science, novel strategies for the highly complex multidimensional data sets of MSI are developed, which allows CeMOS to ensure high quality output and results.
Multivariate chemometrics, algorithm development and research-oriented prototyping for proof-of-concept studies
The bioinformatics group has extensive expertise in machine learning and data science and provides services in multivariate statistics for subtype and latent pattern detection in hyperspectral datasets with the focus on rapid agile prototyping and algorithmic research for proof-of-concept studies.
Computational support for molecular imaging applications
CeMOS provides scalable and distributed computational power to answer common questions in molecular imaging applications such as drug screening and quantification in tissue samples, biomarker discovery, targeted screening for analytes, spatial correlations and multivariate analyses.
Multimodal integration of hyperspectral image datasets
In addition, CeMOS also provides methods for fusing multimodal datasets such as MALDI-MSI, MIR and Raman spectroscopy, NIR image analysis, VIS images, and false color images at high resolution to enable data-driven research.
API solutions and plug-ins for imaging software platforms
For existing imaging software solutions CeMOS provide API solutions and plug-ins to bridge the gap between proprietary platforms and open-source community-driven programmatic solutions.
Using the state-of-the-art technologies in hardware and software
To overcome computational and storage capacity limitations of individual computing systems, CeMOS provides scalable solutions based on lightweight container technologies that allow flexible distribution in a compute cluster environment in combination with powerful edge computing devices to process measurement data directly at the source of its origin.
The metrology-based material development (MM) group focuses on the development of new materials by using the versatile measurement techniques available at CeMOS.
The MM group aims to develop future-oriented solutions in the fields of energy storage, energy efficiency and ecology and medical technology. In particular, this includes thermal energy utilization, storage and thermal insulation. In addition, questions concerning new materials, process control and heat and mass transfer are addressed in close collaboration within this group.
A large range of test, measurement, remote monitoring and simulation techniques enables us to carry out micro- to makro-scale developments. CeMOS has around 600 m² of technical and 300 m² of open-space area available for construction and testing of new prototypes. This offers the possibility to carry out research and product development from simple numerical modelling to life size prototyping of devices, always in close contact to industry and end users.
An optical measuring system with a mid- and a near-infrared camera is used for the non-destructive detection of water damage in masonry. In the mid-infrared and in the near-infrared, the temperature distribution and the moisture distribution of the surface of a wall can be determined. Based on this information, the origin of the moisture can be clearly identified. The system with a dual camera technology allows a fast determination of damage without the need of expert knowledge.
The purification of seawater or contaminated spring water into drinking or process water can be realized, as an energy-saving alternative to evaporation, by means of freeze crystallization in combination with pressing of ice as a post-treatment method. Freeze desalination as a sustainable concept to produce potable water can be a useful method to overcome the water crisis, especially with ongoing global warming in focus. Therefore, a scraped surface crystallizer in combination with a post-treatment pressing cone has been built on a laboratory scale to investigate any dependencies of ice purity and throughput on operational conditions. A special design of the screw conveyor and an additionally installed force sensor led to a profound understanding of mass flow, mass fraction and ice purity.
The installation of photovoltaic systems on unused water landscapes has the potential to reduce usable land areas while increasing the electricity yield through the passive cooling of the photocells by the large heat capacity of the water body. The successful design and manufacture of production-ready floating elements with integrated mounting for the PV modules for freshwater areas enables a stable and permanent use of such elements. Tests with mirror installations and Fresnel lenses to increase the yield showed further possible optimisation potential.
Thermal energy storage is gaining importance within the framework of energy turnaround. It is required in many applications to supply heat at a constant temperature. Therefore, the development of suitable heat accumulators based on salt hydrate mixtures represents an important tool. The thermal design, construction and successful installation of diffusion-tight PCM encapsulations in prefabricated wooden houses indicated that salt hydrates are cost effective and have a significantly positive effect on the thermal behavior those houses. At CeMOS, phase change materials are also being developed specifically to enable food and drug transports to be realized with pure electromobility in the future. For this purpose, thermally stabilized containers in different sizes are being developed at the CeMOS.
The optical Instrumentation group develops new optical devices and instruments. We cover the complete spectral range from UV to MIR, including the fields fluorescence and thermal imaging.CeMOS holds expertise in optical lens design, fiber optical systems and sensor heads. In addition to the construction of optomechanical components, electronic components for controlling and recording the signals of the corresponding optical sensors are also developed and produced within CeMOS.
In close cooperation with the IT specialists, complete equipment units are created, from the probe head to the evaluation software. We provide feasibility studies and support our industry partners from the idea to the final product.
One project of CeMOS is the development of a optical detection unit. Fiber optic sensors of any kind can be connected via a modular coupling system for a wide variety of applications.
In addition to the light detection (4 channels parallel / 16 channels serial) the unit also provides LED-based light sources with wavelengths between 250 nm and 1700 nm. Sampling frequencies of up to 1 kHz are realized. Sampling frequency, gain as well as signal sequencing are controllable. Stand-alone operation of the device is also possible. The standard output is provided via USB interfaces. However, 4-20mA, 0-10V, Ethernet or any other BUS standards can be implemented. A radio remote monitoring is also available.
The overall design of the device is modular. Thus, it is possible to react to different requirements on demand at any given time. Depending on the application, the measured signals can be transferred to to a PC or process control system (PCS) for further data evaluation.
In CeMOS, we have developed a mid-infrared (MIR) scanner for probing optical features via absorption measurement with high spatial resolution and high contrast. The scanner is designed to scan surfaces in the non-visible wavelength range at a scanning rate of up to 1 million samples per second. The scanning field can be up to 50 cm² and is acquired with a resolution of about 20 µm. The measurement results of the scanner are available within a few seconds, which clearly distinguishes the system from conventional scanning systems. The aim of the scanning system is the detection of lipid-containing structures on various substrates. The ideal field of application for the scanner is therefore forensic science or more precisely dactyloscopy.
We demonstrated the feasability of fingerprint detection by use of two different laser wavelengths (3417 nm and 3584 nm). The MIR scanner is also able to measure the transillumination of 200 µm PVC layers. Quality control of hidden structures such as concealed conductor tracks on printed circuit boards (multilayers) can thus be effortlessly detected and checked for quality.
In the field of medical cancer diagnostics, the use of optical measurement techniques often focuses on laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy. A novel, hyperspectral probe for in-vivo tissue analysis was developed, patented and tested at the Center for Mass Spectrometry and Optical Spectroscopy (CeMOS)) in cooperation with the University of Heidelberg, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Center for Medical Research (ZMF). The measurement system represents a combination of UV/VIS, NIR and fluorescence spectroscopy. A characteristic feature of the probe, which is based on backscattered light, is the special arrangement of the total of seven glass fibers.
The use of special materials allows the probe to be autoclavable. Thus the probe can be used for simultaneously applied ultrasound imaging or magnetic resonance imaging. Evaluation of the probe was performed in vitro in an aqueous tissue model at a wide range of concentrations. As a result of this part of the research, mathematical correction mechanisms were developed to eliminate scattering and absorption effects in the determination of quantitative fluorophore concentrations. The in-vivo applicability is performed in an animal model. Spectra of benign, consecutive and malignant tissue are recorded with different modalities. A combination of all measured values allows a label-free classification of the respective tissue using a virtual photometric principal component analysis (PCA). Based on changes in biochemical, physical-morphological and colorimetric values ((oxy-/deoxy-)hemoglobin, fat and tissue scatter) it is possible to distinguish between malignant and benign tissue.
The Assay group focus on the development and automation of test systems for screening and profiling of active ingredients at various stages of drug discovery research. MALDI mass spectrometry (MS) enables a rapid and label-free analysis technique for this purpose. Time-consuming sample preparation steps are no longer necessary and even cell-based assays can be measured directly without separating the cells. Another advantage of this analysis technique is also the possibility to analyze many molecules in parallel in a single run. Laboratory automation systems are used to achieve higher sample throughput and increase reproducibility.
Applications include both mechanistic assays, where the substrate and product of the enzymatic reaction are known, and phenotypic screens. In phenotypic assays, the first step in method development is to identify target molecules that exhibit concentration-response dependence.
The Analysis of NCE, NBE and Formulations group focuses on the analysis of new chemical and biological substances mainly by mass spectrometry. For this purpose, analytical methods are developed and validated specifically for active pharmaceutical ingredients or their dosage form. These studies enable, for example, decisions to be made on the stability and quality of active pharmaceutical ingredients to ensure safe use for humans.
The scientific interests of the group include the further development of spatially resolved methods such as ultra-high resolution MALDI magnetic resonance MS imaging or liquid extraction surface analysis by ESI-MS for the characterization of small chemical substances (active pharmaceutical ingredients or their formulations). These techniques are used to ensure that new active ingredients reach the right place in the body (drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, DMPK).
Another major focus of the group is the characterization of therapeutic proteins and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). To pursue this goal, the group combines advanced mass spectrometry methods for protein characterization (LC-MS/MS and LC-MALDI for top-down, middle-down, middle-up protein analysis) and de novo peptide sequencing.
The technological leadership of CeMOS in the fields of mass spectrometry, Raman, mid-infrared, UV, VIS, and fluorescence measurement techniques, as well as the possibilities of image-based presentation and calculation of the results, makes it possible to tailor the tasks of the partners to the respective challenge.