Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Nanoscale virus imaging X-ray microscope based on incoherent diffraction

Project description

Single virus imaging

Tackling viral infections through novel treatments necessitates the characterisation of viral structures and identification of therapeutic targets. However, imaging viruses can only be performed in specialised research infrastructures and requires expensive equipment. To address this limitation, the EU-funded NanoXCAN project will develop a novel tabletop microscope that uses X rays to image viruses. The microscope will be able to perform nanoscale biomedical imaging and will be available to the wider scientific community. Apart from structural studies, it may be employed to study the mechanisms implicated in viral infection as well as the mode of action of new antivirals.

Objective

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that emerged in late 2019. By March 2020, the outbreak was declared a devastating pandemic and clearly illustrated the threat that viruses pose to our society. The characterization of viral structures and the identification of key proteins involved in each step of the cycle of infection are crucial to developing treatments. Yet imaging single viruses can only be performed in a few specialized centers in Europe, while every hospital could benefit from it.  NanoXCAN proposes to develop a tabletop virus imaging X-ray microscope, with foreseeable impact as revolutionary as the invention of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy, paving the way towards determination of structure and dynamics of matter to a large community. For this purpose, we will develop an original digital laser that delivers, on a daily operation, subwavelength focusing, reaching relativistic intensities at MHz repetition rates. This will be used to create a nano-source of hard X-rays from the Kalpha plasma emission of metallic nano-targets at an average power comparable to that of a synchrotron beamline.  We will capitalize on this high brilliance, high average power hard X-ray source to perform lensless nanoscale biomedical imaging based on recent findings in incoherent imaging and machine learning. All these ingredients will create a unique nanoscopy platform that our consortium will illustrate by imaging a single virus. In the future, our X-ray IDI microscope could help to study mechanisms involved in viral infection and antiviral design. X-rays have the advantage of performing in-situ non-destructive and non-invasive imaging over competing techniques. NanoXCAN will create a transformative positive effect on our economy and society by proposing this new technology for single virus imaging.

Coordinator

IST-ID ASSOCIACAO DO INSTITUTO SUPERIOR TECNICO PARA A INVESTIGACAO E O DESENVOLVIMENTO
Net EU contribution
€ 1 115 500,00
Address
AVENIDA ANTONIO JOSE DE ALMEIDA 12
1000-043 Lisboa
Portugal

See on map

Region
Continente Área Metropolitana de Lisboa Área Metropolitana de Lisboa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Total cost
€ 1 115 500,00

Participants (5)

Partners (1)