Kou - Bio-imaging and bio-photonics, optical micro- and nano-scopy, and biomedical instrumentation

Our group focuses on bio-imaging and bio-photonics studies. The projects we carry out are highly interdisciplinary and incorporate principles from various domains such as physics, life sciences, electrical engineering, computer science, and medicine etc.

We offer tailor-made imaging solutions inferring information from interactions between light and the biological matter. Often our imaging modality offers an unprecedented viewpoint to explore and discover the complex mechanisms behind cellular and sub-cellular events and processes. Our novel bio-imaging modalities and instrumentation may open doors to new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

Research areas

Plasmonic devices and meta-materials for bio-sensing and bioimaging

The optical excitation of surface plasmons results in spatial confinement of electromagnetic fields. These confined fields can interact with nearby molecules in a very interesting way, and we are looking into using these surface plasmons generated from nanoscale meta-materials that lead to extraordinary properties in light field manipulation for bio-sensing and bioimaging applications.

Near-field imaging for biological applications

We have acquired the state-of-art Near-field Scanning Microscope (NSOM) with the support of the La Trobe Infrastructure Fund in 2017. This allows us to probe the light field coming from a distance very close to the sample in a sub-diffraction limited resolution. We are looking to biological applications with the NSOM including the identification of DOPC and DPPC-based membrane nanodomains.

Multi-modal imaging using optical tomography

We have constructed a state-of-art multi-modal optical tomography setup, which offers both fluorescence and intrinsic contrast mechanisms at the same time. This imaging platform offers live-cell imaging capacity and is the vehicle to carry out several biomedical collaborative projects into diseases such as cancers, influenza and interesting biophysical phenomena such as apoptosis. For example, apoptotic human Jurkat T cells can be compared using distributions of reconstructed RI values and wide-field fluorescence labelling.

Meet the team

Group members

Kou groupGroup leader

Dr Shan Shan Kou

Postdoctoral fellow

Dr Arif Siddiquee

Visiting postdoctoral fellows

Dr Chen Liu
Dr Shibiao Wei

PhD students

Xinxin Peng
Panji Achmari


A nanostructured thin film for identifying the twist of light (co-inventor): PCT: 2014-044PCT.

Determining complex refractive index values of a sample in three dimensions, Australian provisional patent application (principal inventor).


See a full list of publications on Google Scholar [external link], ResearcherID [external link], ORCID [external link] or view Dr Shan Shan Kou's profile.