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A Total Photon Camera for Molecular Imaging of Live Cells

Objective

"How can we construct a high-resolution camera capable of imaging the time-of-arrival, polarisation and wavelength of each of the maximal 10Gphoton/s emitted from a labelled, biological cell?
Such a measurement would capture the complete information available in the optical signal, and significantly enhance our ability to observe the organisation, movement and interactions of cellular components at molecular scales. Advances in single molecule light microscopy are steadily improving our understanding of the processes underlying normal cellular function, and their alteration in disease states. However, these technologies are unable to reach their full potential due to their reliance on pre-existing, suboptimal detectors. A dedicated camera technology is now required to permit simultaneous, multidimensional measurements of large cohorts of molecules at high temporal and spatial (sub-diffraction limit) scales through total imaging of the photon flux.
Today’s digital cameras capture photons in packets of 10-100 thousand and provide them for external display or recording at fraction of second intervals. In order to process photons individually rather than as packets we must develop a camera operating 10-100 thousand times faster. Each pixel must be capable of capturing single photon parameters without compromising the high resolution and sensitivity achieved by current technology. The ""total photon"" camera will be realised in nanoscale CMOS technology, based on recent breakthroughs in ultra-miniature single-photon detectors. We will combine these with novel approaches to pixel circuits, image processing and high-speed readout electronics to provide a fundamental research tool for the emerging area of computational microscopy. We will provide access to the full record of photon emission from live cells, and hence the clearest possible visualization of dynamic cellular processes in a single device capable of wide-field molecular spectroscopy and superresolution imaging."

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-ADG
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Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Alan Kennedy (Mr.)
Principal investigator
Robert Kerr Henderson (Dr.)
EU contribution
€ 1 354 862

Beneficiaries (2)

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 354 862
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Alan Kennedy (Mr.)
Principal investigator
Robert Kerr Henderson (Dr.)
HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 925 370
Address
Riccarton
EH14 4AS Edinburgh

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Eva Olszewska-Day (Dr.)