Prof. Dr. Franz Pfeiffer


Biomedical Physics

Academic Career and Research Areas

Professor Pfeiffer (b. 1972) conducts research on biomedical X-ray physics. His focus is on new imaging methods for improved early diagnosis and detailed studies of illnesses such as cancer, lung diseases and osteoporosis. His scientific work extends from fundamentally oriented research with brilliant X-rays in large international research centers to applied research on new concepts in radiology. Professor Pfeiffers most important contribution to science is the invention of a novel method for X-ray phase-contrast imaging and its translation to pre-clinical and clinical applications, with a particularly high diagnostic benefit for lung diseases.

Professor Pfeiffer studied physics at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University (1999) and was awarded doctorates by the Institut Laue-Langevin (France) and the University of Saarbrücken (2003). Following subsequent positions as a post-doc in Urbana-Champaign (USA) and as a member of scientific staff at the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland, 2008), he assumed the position of assistant professor at École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne (2008). He was appointed to the Chair of Biomedical Physics at TUM in 2009. In 2016, Professor Pfeiffer became the director of the Munich School of BioEngineering.


  • Alfred Breit Award, German Röntgen-Society (2017)
  • Advanced Grant, European Research Council (2016)
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, German Research Foundation (2011)
  • National Latsis Prize, Swiss National Science Foundation (2010)
  • Starting Grant, European Research Council (2009)

Schaff F, Bech M, Zaslansky P, Jud C, Liebi M, Guizar-Sicairos M, Pfeiffer F: "Six-dimensional real and reciprocal space small-angle X-ray scattering tomography". Nature. 2015; 527: 353-356.


Dierolf M, Menzel A, Thibault P, Schneider P, Kewish CM, Wepf R, Bunk O, Pfeiffer F: "Ptychographic X-ray computed tomography at the nanoscale". Nature. 2010; 467: 436-439.


Thibault P, Dierolf M, Menzel A, Bunk O, David C, Pfeiffer F: "High-resolution scanning x-ray diffraction microscopy". Science. 2008; 321: 379-382.


Pfeiffer F, Bech M, Bunk O, Kraft P, Eikenberry EF, Bronnimann C, Gruenzweig C, David C: "Hard-X-ray dark-field imaging using a grating interferometer". Nature Materials. 2008; 7: 134-137.


Pfeiffer F, Weitkamp T, Bunk O, David C: "Phase retrieval and differential phase-contrast imaging with low-brilliance X-ray sources". Nature Physics. 2006; 2: 258-261.