Brillouin microscopy

Irina Kabakova, Jitao Zhang, Yuchen Xiang, Silvia Caponi, Alberto Bilenca, Jochen Guck, Giuliano Scarcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The field of Brillouin microscopy and imaging was established approximately 20 years ago, thanks to the development of non-scanning high-resolution optical spectrometers. Since then, the field has experienced rapid expansion, incorporating technologies from telecommunications, astrophotonics, multiplexed microscopy, quantum optics and machine learning. Consequently, these advancements have led to much-needed improvements in imaging speed, spectral resolution and sensitivity. The progress in Brillouin microscopy is driven by a strong demand for label-free and contact-free methods to characterize the mechanical properties of biomaterials at the cellular and subcellular scales. Understanding the local biomechanics of cells and tissues has become crucial in predicting cellular fate and tissue pathogenesis. This Primer aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the methods and applications of Brillouin microscopy. It includes key demonstrations of Brillouin microscopy and imaging that can serve as a reference for the existing research community and new adopters of this technology. The article concludes with an outlook, presenting the authors’ vision for future developments in this vibrant field. The Primer also highlights specific examples where Brillouin microscopy can have a transformative impact on biology and biomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalNature Reviews Methods Primers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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