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European Project Takes Aim at Deep Body Imaging

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MILAN, July 10, 2023 — The fastMOT project, which seeks to develop a fast-gated, ultrahigh quantum efficiency single-photon sensor, will receive  €3 million ($3.29 million) in funding. The resulting sensor will enable deep body imaging with diffuse optics. Implemented in the new Multifunctional Optical Tomograph, the light sensor will achieve a 100× improvement of signal-to-noise ratio compared to existing sensors. The project is to receive €2.49 million ($2.73 million) from the European Innovation Council and €525,000 ($575,765) from UK Research and Innovation under the U.K. government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee.

Traditionally, organ monitoring and deep-body functional imaging are performed using ultrasound, x-ray (including CT), PET, or MRI. However, these techniques allow only extremely limited measurements of functionality and are usually combined with exogenous and radioactive agents. To overcome this limitation, six partners, coordinated by the Dutch SME Single Quantum, have joined forces to develop an ultrahigh performance light sensor in different imaging techniques to radically improve the performance of microscopy and imaging.

The sensor is based on superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs), which have been shown to be ultrafast and highly efficient. However, the active area and number of pixels have so far been limited to micrometer diameters and tens of pixels.

The fastMOT consortium now aims at developing new techniques to overcome this limit and scale to 10,000 pixels and millimeter diameter. In addition, new strategies for performing time domain near-infrared spectroscopy (TDNIRS) and time domain speckle contrast optical spectroscopy (TD-SCOS) will be developed to optimally use this new light sensor with Monte Carlo simulations. The new light sensor will be implemented in an optical tomograph and will achieve a 100× improvement of signal-to-noise ratio compared to using existing light sensors.

In addition to Single Quantum, the participating institutions are the Center for Ultrafast Science and Biomedical Optics (CUSBO) at the Department of Physics of the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, the Institute of Photonic Sciences ICFO in Spain, the Technische Universiteit Delft in the Netherlands, the network of European laser research infrastructures Laserlab-Europe AISBL in Belgium, the Forschungsverbund Berlin eV in Germany, and the University College London in the U.K.
Jul 2023
BusinessresearcheducationimagingBiophotonicsdeep bodyorgan monitoringEuropefundingProjectcollaborationSingle QuantumPolitecnico di MilanoICFOTU DelftLaserLab EuropeForschungsverbund Berlin e.V.University College LondonHorizon 2020European Innovation CouncilUKRIUK Research and Innovation

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