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MEDical Imaging with Superconducting Sensors

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MEDISS (MEDical Imaging with Superconducting Sensors)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

Light sensors for imaging, with high sensitivity, high time resolution, low noise and high photon detection-rates are indispensable critical elements in optical measurements. Light sensors based on superconducting nanowires are very high performance light sensors and are already applied in application such as quantum communication. However, so far these device consist of 1.pixel. Increasing the number of pixels would allow for more applications, for example collecting light from a specimen with several optical fibers, positioned in different spatial locations, and perform ultra-fast time correlation of the detected optical signal to understand the photo-dynamics in response to external stimuli or treatments. The problem is the large gap between developing devices for quantum experiments and general applications, therefore this technology needs to be introduced to medical imaging experts and interaction with specialists were needed to understand and define their exact needs and find commercial partners to bring the technology to market. The objective of the project was to create the foundation for applying this technology to biological imaging experiments and in the long run for applying them in hospitals to image blood vessels in the brain or monitor the development of cancer cells.
During the project MEDISS we have visited >10 bio-imaging imaging conferences in 18 months to engage with scientists to disseminate our promising technology. From these conferences we gain a large number of valuable contacts. The following conferences have been attended:
We have also directly contacted key players in the field and performed advanced searches using an innovative search engine, resulting in many potential leads, whom we approached by email and telephone, followed by discussions. We have built a prototype of the superconducting sensor to show to potential customers We have invited several contacts to our laboratory in Delft were the prototype was setup. We have demonstrated the system and discussed whether it could be of interest to them. We have identified several applications that are of interest and we determined the requirements for our light sensors to be applied for this application. Finally we prepared a business plan to outline the next steps towards commercialization of high performance light sensors based on superconducting nanowires.
Our work has sparked the interest of scientists working on biological imaging experiments to use our small array of light sensors based on superconducting nanowires. We have found many interested people who would like to try a demonstration of our technology. However during the course of this project it has also become clear that for our technology to be applied in biological imaging experiments, technological developments are still needed, i.e. increasing the number of pixels further.
Prototype of light sensor with small array of pixels