Published: Sept. 26, 2016

CU Boulder will expand its role as a national leader in imaging, materials, nano, bio and energy sciences as part of a collaborative partnership awarded $24 million by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch a new center.

The Science and Technology Center on Real-Time Functional Imaging, known as STROBE, will be headquartered at CU Boulder and will integrate several areas of imaging science and technology, including photon and electron-based imaging, advanced algorithms, big data analysis and adaptive imaging. Named for its relation to stroboscopic imaging, the center is designed to tackle major scientific challenges that have the potential to transform imaging science and technology.

CU Boulder, along with UCLA, the University of California Berkeley, Florida International University, the University of California Irvine and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, has received the five-year NSF grant.

CU Boulder Distinguished Professor Margaret Murnane will serve as director and principal investigator of STROBE, with John Miao of UCLA serving as deputy director.

“STROBE will integrate advanced imaging methods using electrons, X-rays and super-resolution microscopy to address major challenges in research areas encompassing the physical sciences, life sciences and engineering,” said Murnane, a JILA fellow and a professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Physics and Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

CU Boulder professors Markus Raschke, Noah Finkelstein, Henry Kapteyn and Rafael Piestun will serve in leadership roles in research, education, knowledge transfer and broadening participation for STROBE. Professors Naomi Ginsburg, Ryan Haaland, Laird Kramer and Franklin Dollar will serve as leads for UC Berkeley, Fort Lewis College, Florida International and UC Irvine, respectively.

Recent major advances by the participating scientists in electron, X-ray and optical nano-imaging have paved the way for achieving STROBE’s multidisciplinary goals.

“STROBE shines a spotlight on the university’s world-class faculty, dynamic partnership with the NSF and commitment to transformative leadership and collaboration,” said Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez. “Dr. Murnane and her team continue to break new ground in imaging science while also demonstrating what’s possible when we collaborate with other top universities and researchers to solve problems together.”

STROBE is the latest NSF Science and Technology Center to conduct innovative, potentially transformative research and education projects involving world-class research through partnerships among academic universities and industrial organizations in important areas of basic research.

“STROBE will be at the forefront of addressing key challenges common to all imaging methods, with the goal of fundamentally transforming imaging science,” said Murnane. “We will push each imaging technique to its limits, as well as develop improved new approaches. Physicists, mathematicians, chemists and biologists will work together to establish STROBE as a world-class imaging center.”

margaret murnane and henry kapteyn in their laboratory

Physics professors Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) pose next to one of the laser apparatuses in their lab at the University of Colorado Boulder campus. The Kapteyn-Murnane group at JILA study optical and X-ray science using new tabletop light sources. They develop these new ultrafast laser and coherent X-ray sources as part of their research in optical science and then make use of them for new experiments in physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering. Photo: Glenn Asakawa, University of Colorado Boulder