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Plasmonic Electronically Addressable super-Resolution: Accelerating the in-depth understanding of biomedical processes at the nanoscale via a novel real-time, optical limit-breaking imaging technology


In the life-sciences, the fight against life-threatening diseases, including cancer, requires the ability to look into cells at a resolution of 30 nm, a challenge which is unachievable by current optical microscopes. Cancer Research Cambridge, UK identifies this need as a key unmet requirement in understanding mechanisms of important biological processes. PEARlabs Technologies Ltd. have developed a ground-breaking optical chip which permits super-resolution imaging capable of visualizing cellular structures far beyond the diffraction-limit of visible light, by exploiting addressable plasmonic elements. This is a disruptive technology which will enable unprecedented capabilities for life sciences researchers in industry and academia to understand sub-cellular mechanisms at < 25 nm resolution and at real-time acquisition speeds, a full magnitude better than is currently achievable. This SME Instrument feasibility study will lead to a roadmap with investors to fund the seed round and thus to enable rapid growth.

PEARlabs have developed a photonic chip which can easily be integrated into the sample stage of an optical microscope with the goal to provide next-generation resolution at 25 nm. The resulting system works in a biocompatible environment, is label-free and therefore enables in-vitro imaging needed for life sciences aiming for high spatial resolutions. This is a transformative technology for the life science sector, which currently spends over $1.8 billion a year on optical imaging, with ultra-high-resolution devices typically in the range of €350,000 - 1 million for single high-end microscope systems. The embedded, highly innovative technology presents an opportunity for an innovative European SME to become a world leader in Super Resolution imaging (SR-imaging) building on patented technology, creating high value STEM and manufacturing jobs, while also enabling to solve medically relevant problems in the life sciences.

Field of science

  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/cancer
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/optics/microscopy/super resolution microscopy

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

SME-1 - SME instrument phase 1


Ground Floor 8-9 Marino Mart Fairview Clontarf
D03 Dublin
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 50 000