Q-MIC Consortium brings quantum microscopy closer to the general public

By April 23, 2020ICFO

ICREA Research Professor Valerio Pruneri of The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), a BIST centre, has been coordinating the Q-MIC project since 2018. Now, the international consortium has created a first of its kind comprehensive infographic that explains the technology behind the development of the quantum enhanced microscope.

Researchers in the Q-MIC consortium have created an infographic that aims to explain the technology behind the development of the quantum enhanced microscope to the general public. The resource is free to use for anyone who is interested in learning more about this cutting-edge technology. It can be downloaded here.

Launched in October 2018, the FET project Q-MIC (Quantum-enhanced on-chip interference microscopy) has been working towards its main goal of developing a new on-chip lens-free differential interference contrast microscope. This three year project is coordinated by ICREA Research Professor at ICFO Valerio Pruneri, in collaboration with researchers from IQOQI (OEAW), Politecnico di Milano, University of Glasgow, and Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, together with the companies Carl Zeiss and Micro Photon Devices. It intends to drive pioneering research in quantum imaging and metrology, combining quantum imaging and biological detection in an on-chip microscope for the first time.

In order to explain the novel technology that is being developed, the consortium has created an infographic for the general public that visually illustrates and explains how this microscope works. It includes the different types of microscopes currently in use, and the consortium’s motivation to develop innovative components for the device, such as a novel source of quantum light and a unique single photon avalanche diode imager, both to improve the sensitivity of the instrument.

The uniqueness of the Q-MIC platform lies in the fact that it will introduce a new type of interferometric microscopy without lenses and illuminated by quantum light. This will allow the device to detect and image ultrathin transparent materials over large areas (several cm2), with unprecedented sensitivities (≈1 Å) and low powers (in the range of fW).

The microscope’s features will allow the detection of transparent samples, such as cells, micro-organisms, viruses and proteins, with an amazing resolution and by obtaining high-contrast images with fewer and less powerful photons than standard phase imaging microscopes, thus preventing damage to the samples.

Once completed, the microscope is intended to be used for the analysis and quality control of transparent substrates for flexible electronics, quantum cryptography for secure communications or even ultrasensitive imaging.

More information can be found on the ICFO website.