Home / Partner /

GAP – Biophotonics Université de Genève



Luigi Bonacina

GAP – Biophotonics Université de Genève

22, chemin de Pinchat CH-1211 Genève 4

Phone: + 41 22 379 05 08

Email: luigi.bonacina(at)unige.ch

Luigi Bonacina started his academic career at the University of Milan (bachelor in Physics and Master in Optical Physics). He then moved to Switzerland for starting a PhD at the EPFL in Lausanne with a research in the field of ultrafast molecular spectroscopy. Successively, he joined the University of Geneva where in 2011 he got a tenured position as a senior lecturer at the Applied Physics Department, Biophotonics laboratory . His scientific research activities are based on the development and application of novel nonlinear and coherent optical approaches to nanotechnology for imaging and photo-interaction with biological samples.

Scientific interest in the action

The Biophotonics Group at the University of Geneva headed by Prof. Jean-Pierre WOLF develops nonlinear optical techniques for imaging and sensing. In the framework of the NanoPhoto network, the group wants to further investigate the application of Harmonic Nanoparticles (HNPs) for nanomedicine applications. HNPs are inherently nonlinear particles based on different inorganic noncentrosymmetric nanocrystals displaying very efficient nonlinear response at the second and third harmonic. Such particles open a series of alternative detection possibilities simply not accessible with the present generation of fluorescent dyes and quantum dots as they can respond to excitation from the ultraviolet to the infrared, they possess a coherent and polarization dependent response, and they are highly photo-stable.

Research infrastructures

The group is equipped with several femtosecond amplified systems and with two multi-photon microscopes with spectral-detection and polarization-resolved capabilities at the second and third harmonic. The laboratory also features a cell culture facility for living sample preparation and storage.

Review articles on HNPs

Nonlinear Nanomedecine: Harmonic Nanoparticles toward Targeted Diagnosis and Therapy, L. Bonacina, Mol. Pharmaceutics (2012) [DOI: 10.1021/mp300523e]

Harmonic nanoparticles: noncentrosymmetric metal oxides for nonlinear optics, A. Rogov Y. Mugnier and L. Bonacina J. Opt., 17 033001 (2015) [DOI:

A few selected papers in the field

Harmonic Nanocrystals for Biolabeling: A Survey of Optical Properties and Biocompatibility, D. Staedler et al., ACS Nano, 6 (3), 2542–2549 (2012) [DOI: 10.1021/nn204990n]

Deep UV generation and direct DNA photointeraction by harmonic nanoparticles in labelled samples, D. Staedler et al.,  Nanoscale, 6, 2929 (2014) [DOI: 10.1039/c3nr05897b]

Cellular uptake and biocompatibility of bismuth ferrite harmonic advanced nanoparticles, D. Staedler et al., Nanomedecine, 11, (4), 815-824 (2015) [DOI: 10.1016/j.nano.2014.12.018]

Nonlinear optical and magnetic properties of BiFeO3 harmonic nanoparticles, S. Schwung et al., J. Appl. Phys., 116, 114306 (2014) [DOI: 10.1063/1.4895836]

High-Speed Tracking of Murine Cardiac Stem Cells by Harmonic Nanodoublers, T. Magouroux et al., SMALL, 8 (17), 2752-2756 (2012) [DOI:

Nonlinear Correlation Spectroscopy (NLCS), M. Geissbuehler et al., Nano Lett., (2012) [DOI:

Plasmonic Tipless Pyramid Arrays for Cell Poration, S. Courvoisier et al., Nano Letters, (2015) [DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01697]