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Horiba hooks up with QuantIC on fluorescence imaging

01 Jun 2016

Strathclyde's David Birch leading industry collaboration also involving the University of Edinburgh.

Horiba Jobin Yvon IBH, the Glasgow-based subsidiary of the Japan-headquartered Horiba Group, has entered into a development partnership with quantum technology researchers at two Scottish universities.

They are working together as part of the imaging-focused QuantIC research effort, one of the four dedicated research hubs that make up the UK’s wider quantum technology network.

Under the leadership of University of Strathclyde professor David Birch, they are set to work on a multiplexed, time-correlated single-photon timing fluorescence system. University of Edinburgh researchers are also taking part.

Birch leads the photophysics group at Strathclyde, which has particular expertise in fluorescence lifetime techniques used in biomedical applications. In fact, Birch was one of the co-founders of IBH before it was acquired by the Horiba group in 2003. Originally known as IBH Consultants, it was one of the first technology spin-outs from a Scottish university.

Pioneer
In the four decades since the spin-off was founded, the company has pioneered advances in time-correlated single-photon correlation (TCSPC) technology, for example developing picosecond-scale diode light sources suitable for the ultrafast timescale on which fluorescence takes place, and deep-ultraviolet LEDs for protein analysis.

While that has expanded the application range of TCSPC well beyond the specialist laboratory, the aim of the new research project will be to develop a multiplexed version of the technology capable of capturing the full “signature” of a molecular fluorescence signal.

That signature includes excitation and emission wavelengths, fluorescence intensity, decay time, polarization, position and the yield, or efficiency, of the absorption and re-emission of light.

The team points out that, at present, even the most advanced commercially available fluorescence instrumentation can access only a small fraction of this information at a time. As a result, many sequential measurements over a long period are needed to build up a complete molecular fluorescence signature.

“QuantIC’s researchers at the University of Strathclyde and University of Edinburgh will assess the feasibility of adding multiplexed (imaging) detection systems to Horiba’s range of instruments in order to speed up measurements, which will open up new applications, for example in the study of transient species,” they announced.

Quantum buzz
The UK’s £270 million backing of quantum technology development has generated considerable interest and excitement among university researchers and industrial partners, with the European Commission now planning to establish a flagship research effort on the same topic.

Another of the UK hubs, the quantum sensors effort co-ordinated by the University of Birmingham, is hosting an industry workshop later this month.

Speakers at the June 14 event include e2v technologies CTO Trevor Cross and Richard Murray, lead technologist for emerging technologies and industries at Innovate UK. For full details of the program click here.

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