The ultimate goal of MIMOSA is to provide an alternative to 4D microscopy with a disruptive technology enabling high spatial resolution and chemical sensitivity TAP analysis of bio-samples. The underlying technology is based on a radically new approach that has just been demonstrated by the CNRS partner and which relies on the combination of TAP with intense THz pulses to control ion emission from a metallic nanometric tip thus establishing new degrees of freedom for the control of the atomic evaporation process with groundbreaking applications in instrumentation. Transposing this concept of ion-field-emission to bio-materials presents great technological challenges. The potential outcome of 4D microscopy for bio-materials is extremely rewarding, and our consortium is uniquely equipped to succeed.

Cryo-electron microscopy has revolutionized academic research in structural biology. In addition to 3D structural information of individual biomolecules, MIMOSA has the capacity to add a new dimension to this type of investigation, namely chemical sensitivity. Thereby, this project could lead to the development of a technique that is outstandingly well-suited to drug development within the pharmaceutical industry. More than 50% of our modern medical drugs are targeted towards proteins, specifically membrane proteins. Yet, several major challenges still exist, and 3D structural information is lacking for many important membrane proteins. MIMOSA could shed light on these mechanisms, and provides 3D structures as well as local chemistry on the sub-nanometer scale. In the longer perspective, it will lead to the creation of an invaluable tool for the pharmaceutical industry, bring new insights in drug delivery systems and allow physiopathology investigations at the nanometric scale.

Apart from the evident impact on the medical and the THz markets, any progress that may enhance the efficiency of new drugs and their rapid development has tremendous consequences for the daily life of citizens. In this respect the COVID-19 emergency we are facing at present speaks for itself. Therefore, the MIMOSA proposal promises a huge societal impact that we will make evident to the general public through the communication activities planned in section 2.2b.


The project MIMOSA aims at bridging the gap from current extremely active industrial and research developments related to high-intensity THz sources and well-established TAP imaging. We will build the prototype of a new 4D microscope, enabling spatial and chemical characterization of biological materials at the atomic scale. Such a microscope will combine the large electrical field of the THz pulses and the nanometric spatial resolution of the TAP technology to enable controlled analysis of materials with extremely low heating of the sample with foreseen huge impact on medicine and biology.

Objective 1

Design a new high energy, high repetition rate THz source coupled with pulse shaping technology to be implemented onto a TAP system

Objective 2

Gain new insights on the interaction between the THz pulse and the matrix embedded biomaterial

Objective 3

Acquire new knowledge on the matrix effect on bio-samples and elaborate new preparation processes

Objective 4

Achieve controllable evaporation of ions from bio-materials and provide proof-of-concept of 4D microscopy

Retour en haut