Multi-object, high-throughput, spectro-microscopy

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Physics


Microscopy is a pervasive technology with applications from biology to material and nanoscience. At their heart, microscopes are predominately based on high numerical aperture, short focal length objective lenses producing images that can be seen by eye and/or electronically recorded, typically with 3-colour CCD cameras or a selection of coloured filters, but leaving the full spectral details unknown.We plan to revolutionise the field of spectroscopic microscopy by developing a technology that will provide full colour spectrum, simultaneously from many points within a sample. To record high resolution (spatially and spectral) spectra across an extended field of view with a conventional microscope one currently employs a time-sequential recording technique: either a spectrally dispersed image of a single point or a line is scanned across the scene, or an extended image is recorded through a spectrally scanned filter, both methods being comparatively slow. We propose to develop a novel approach combining all the advantages of the existing methods into a single unit: i.e. a system with both high spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution. Although real-time, high-resolution spectral imaging has been a goal for many years no existing approach comes close to this combination of features. Of those techniques that record spectral and image data simultaneously, the Computed Tomographic Imaging Spectrometer (CTIS) is of most interest. However our technique is superior because it can view the whole field indiscriminately, rather than specific regions, it is has a superior signal to noise ratio, and, most importantly, it has ~1000 spectral channels as opposed to ~50. This project will develop a demonstrator and benchmark it against challenging problems in bio microscopy, spectroscopy and security, including multipoint SERS and Raman microscopy, and spectroscopically contrasted imaging in a range of biological samples.


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Title "I" Installation Art 
Description An instrument was based based upon the project which viewed a subjects eye and then projected images onto a wall depending on the data from the eye. This was part of the Durham Lumiere Festival and over 2000 subjects had their eyes scanned and the resulting images displayed on the University wall in real time. The festival attracted 150000 people in total of which well over 50% can be expected to have seen the display. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Radio interview and interest in placing the final version in the Wellcome Trust museum. Link below has final video of event and our work is flashed at the beginning and briefly again at around 4 minutes 28 seconds. 
Description Through the use of a novel form of fibre optic based spectroscopy we have examined several biological processes taking place at high spatial and spectral (colour) resolution. This has enabled us to understand some of the processes taking place within biological cells relating to heart disease.
Exploitation Route The method is now being used in another project supported by the TSB with P&G to look at on line powder production. This project is also linked with others in the food and pharmaceutical industry
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description P&G are now using a variation of the methods developed in this project to assess washing powders
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Economic

Description Advanced Manufacturing Projects
Amount £8,500,000 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2014 
End 04/2017
Description EPSRC Responsive Mode
Amount £506,510 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I010173/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 04/2014
Description Proctor and Gamble Analysis of Washing and Powders 
Organisation Procter & Gamble
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The work I initially undertook using research from this project in analysing washing action has now lead to a long term collaboration with P&G covering many departments across the University. Without this initial link based upon this project it is unlikely that this collaboration would have grown in the way it has
Collaborator Contribution Durham University is now one of P&G's key partners and the collaboration has lead to ~£15M income to the University of which £5M has come directly from P&G.
Impact The interaction is now multidisciplinary covering Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics and Biology.
Start Year 2010
Description Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Over 5000 children attended the event over 4 days. The direct feedback from the children was very positive and I had one 7 year old who then explained our exhibition to her teacher!

I have since done three schools visits and the research has featured on local TV and also an hour long live interview with local radio.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
Description Jeremiah Horrocks Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A large public lecture at the University of Central Lancashire also shown on U-Tube
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Ted-X Talk Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A Ted-X talk in Cambridge on the use of modern optical methods in the development of consuming goods.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016