Our People

Joe 002

Joseph Borbely

Research Scientist


Areas of expertise

• Spectroscopy
• Single photons
• Software development


• PhD, Atomic Physics, 2009


Prior to joining MSL in 2016, Joe spent the previous 15 years performing precision measurements with atomic beams, plasmas and quantum-degenerate gases, and building microscopes that were used for super-resolution microscopy.
He received his PhD in Physics in 2009 from York University, Toronto, where he performed high-precision spectroscopy with helium atoms as a stringent test of quantum electrodynamic theory and to determine the value of the fine-structure constant. After his PhD he became a Postdoctoral Fellow at CERN to produce and trap antihydrogen atoms to probe matter-antimatter symmetries.
In 2010 he became a Postdoctoral Fellow in Amsterdam to perform high-precision spectroscopy with ultracold helium-4 and helium-3 atoms. Comparison between theory and the spectroscopic measurement allowed for determining the nuclear size of helium to within 4 attometres. Additionally, he conducted experiments that controlled the interaction strength between helium atoms confined in an optical trap by exposing the atoms to magnetic fields (known as a Feshbach resonance).
He joined a single molecule localization microscopy (STORM/PALM) research group as a Research Engineer in Barcelona in 2013, where he designed and built optical systems that allowed for multi-colour, live-cell imaging of biological samples, and he developed the control and analysis software.


Vilanova I.V., Wehnekamp F., Mohan N., Álvarez Á.S., Borbely J.S., Otterstrom J.J., Lamb D.C., Lakadamyali M. 3D motion of vesicles along microtubules helps them to circumvent obstacles in cells. Journal of Cell Science 130(11):1904-1916 (2017)
Tam J., Cordier G.A., Balint Š., Álvarez Á.S., Borbely J.S., Lakadamyali M. A Microfluidic Platform for Correlative Live-Cell and Super-Resolution Microscopy. PLOS One 9(12):e115512 (2014)
Tam J., Cordier G.A., Borbely J.S., Álvarez Á.S., Lakadamyali M. Cross-Talk-Free Multi-Color STORM Imaging Using a Single Fluorophore. PLOS One 9(7):e101772 (2014)
Durisic N., Cuervo L.L., Álvarez Á.S., Borbely J.S., Lakadamyali M. Single-molecule evaluation of fluorescent protein photoactivation efficiency using an in vivo nanotemplate. Nature Methods 11:156–162 (2014)
Knoop S., Borbely J.S., Vassen W., Kokkelmans, S.J.J.M.F. Universal three-body parameter in ultracold 4 He*. Physical Review A 86(6):062705 (2012)
Borbely J.S., van Rooij R., Knoop S., Vassen W. Magnetic-field-dependent trap loss of ultracold metastable helium. Physical Review A 85(2):022706 (2012)
van Rooij R., Borbely J.S., Simonet J., Hoogerland M.D., Eikema, K.S.E., Rozendaal R.A., Vassen W. Frequency metrology in quantum degenerate helium: Direct measurement of the 2 3S1→ 2 1S0 transition. Science 333(6039):196-198 (2011)
Wrubel J., Gabrielse G., Kolthammer W.S., Larochelle P., McConnell R., Richerme P., Grzonka D., Oelert W., Sefzick T., Zielinski M., Borbely J.S., George M.C., Hessels E.A., Storry C.H., Weel M., Müllers A., Walz J., Speck A. Pumped helium system for cooling positron and electron traps to 1.2 K. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment 640(1):232-240 (2011)
Gabrielse G., Kolthammer W.S., McConnell R., Richerme P., Wrubel J., Kalra R., Novitski E., Grzonka D., Oelert W., Sefzick T., Zielinski M., Borbely J.S., Fitzakerley D., George M.C., Hessels E.A., Storry C.H., Weel M., Müllers A., Walz J., Speck A. Centrifugal separation of antiprotons and electrons. Physical Review Letters 105(21):213002 (2010)
Borbely J.S., George M.C., Lombardi L.D., Weel M., Fitzakerley D.W., Hessels E.A. Separated oscillatory-field microwave measurement of the 2 3P1–2 3P2 fine-structure interval of atomic helium. Physical Review A 79(6):060503(R) (2009)