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Oxygen imaging using the MOLLI system

MOLLI system in a box The modular luminescence lifetime imaging (MOLLI) system was developed at the Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen to enable luminescence lifetime-based oxygen imaging with planar oxygen optodes (Glud et al. 1996). Many people have been involved in the design and development of the technology. Gerhard Holst designed and constructed the first prototype (Holst et al. 1998). Bjoern Grunwald added several electronic improvements plus wrote the core measurement software (Holst & Grunwald, 2001). Ronnie Glud and his co-workers adapted the system for in situ measurements, especially for deep-sea studies (Glud et al. 2001). Together with Paul Faerber and Harald Osmers, Lubos Polerecky initiated and realized the final rearrangement of the system into a one-box type of instrument (Polerecky, 2005), which is also the design currently used by the MPI group and described in more detail here (see image to the right). LP also added some improvements to the measurement software and wrote software utilities for many kinds of data analysis.

Since it's development in the mid 1990's, the system has been applied by scientific groups from countries like Germany, Denmark, Japan, South Korea, USA, UK. Applications of the system include studies of biogeochemical processes in sediments, bioirrigation by benthic macrofauna, activity measurements in microbial mats and biofilms.

This website provides some details about the MOLLI system and how it is used at the Microsensor group in MPI Bremen. Practical information about the hardware and software can be found in this report: (Polerecky 2005)


  1. Glud RN, Ramsing NB, Gundersen JK, Klimant I (1996) Planar optrodes: A new tool for fine scale measurements of two-dimensional O2 distribution in benthic communities MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES 140(1-3): 217-226
  2. Holst G, Kohls O, Klimant I, Konig B, Kuhl M, Richter T (1998) A modular luminescence lifetime imaging system for mapping oxygen distribution in biological samples, Sensors and Actuators B-Chemical 51(1-3): 163-170
  3. Holst, G & Grunwald, B (2001) Luminescence lifetime imaging with transparent oxygen optodes, Sensors and Actuators B-Chemical 74(1-3): 78-90
  4. Glud RN, Tengberg A, Kuhl M, Hall POJ, Klimant I, Holst G (2001) An in situ instrument for planar O-2 optode measurements at benthic interfaces Limnology and Oceanography 46(8): 2073-2080
  5. Polerecky, L (2005) Imaging of oxygen and pH in 2D and 3D using the MOLLI system. Report on a joint project between Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and European Aeronautics Defense and Space Company (EADS). (download)
o2imaging/molli_system.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/10 14:19 by lpolerec

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