Créé en 2002, l’Institut d’Alembert (IDA) est une entité fédérative pluridisciplinaire réunissant sur le site de l’ENS Cachan, quatre unités de recherche complémentaires : le LBPA (Biologie), le LPQM (Physique), le PPSM (Chimie), et le SATIE (Electrical engineering).

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Created in 2002, with the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS Cachan) and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) as major sponsors, the d’Alembert Institute (IDA) is a multidisciplinary federation of four research units: Laboratory of Biology and Applied Pharmacology (LBPA), Quantum and Molecular Photonics and Photochemistry Laboratory (LPQM), Supramolecular and Macromolecular Photophysics and Photochemistry (PPSM), Systems and Applications of Information Technologies and Energy Laboratory (SATIE). Based on these complementary scientific communities, on the research projects it funds and on the shared platforms it manages, the d'Alembert Institute defines and supports research projects involving fundamental or applied issues related to molecular photonics, light molecule interactions, molecular and cellular mechanisms, and information technologies.

Research fields

  • Nonlinear nano-imaging and therapeutic targets: confocal microscopy, fluorescence labelling, multi-photonic effects, HIV research, cytoskeleton, cancer, gene therapy.
  • Photonics and biotechnology: nanosensors, microfluidics, cell sorting, molecular recognition, molecular engineering, fluoro-ionophores and nonlinear optics.
  • Photonic imaging for the study of the intracellular traffic of labelled bio-components.
  • Development of new technological avenues that will lead to the design and establishment of Biophotolabs on chips that will integrate the sampling, analysis, diagnostics and wireless/optical communication of biological information in real time.

Scientific outcome

  • For 12 years, the IDA initiates, among its four research units, collaborations where innovation and interdisciplinary dimensions are real. This means supervising the shared platforms and also launching regularly new calls for proposals in order to support innovative and risk-taking projects.
  • Many researchers and teacher-researchers from the IDA teams participate to the Erasmus Mundus Master « Molecular nano- and bio-photonics for telecommunications and biotechnologies » (MONABIPHOT): each year, around 25 MSc grants are offered to non-European students.


  • The IDA teams have developed several collaborations, both nationally and internationally (Weizmann Institute of Science-Israel, Cambridge University-U.K., Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)-Germany, LMU München-Germany, Université Polytechnique de Wroclaw-Poland etc.).
  • The IDA is a member of the Research Group « Functional imaging of the living » (GdR 2588).
  • The International Associated Laboratory (LIA) NaBi - NanoBio Laboratory ( is the result of a Franco-Israeli partnership in the emerging field of « Nano-Bio Sciences » and their applications. Created in 2008, NaBi combines the Weizmann Institute (Israel) with CNRS which is represented by the IDA and its four laboratories from ENS Cachan (LBPA, LPQM, PPSM, SATIE), Laboratories Statistical Physics and Chemistry of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, and Fresnel Institute in Marseille (Université Paul Cézanne and Ecole Centrale Marseille).