The first Chipscope prototype was released this year. Different micro-technologies and techniques in the field of solid-state light sources, optical sensors, and microfluidics have been adapted and integrated to build the first microscope based on the Chipscope principle. The prototype includes an individually controllable 8×8 micro-LED array of 5 µm LED developed by the Technical University of Braunschweig (Germany), facing the SPAD CMOS sensors designed by the University of Barcelona (Spain), capable of detecting a single photon.
The core of the microscope is only 10mm x 10mm x 3mm, and the sample is placed over an observation area of 75µm x 75µm, in direct contact with the micro-LED array. The placement of the sample in this tiny region has been achieved thanks to merging software and hardware in a compact and easy to use platform, which operates the LEDs and SPADs in real-time to display live shadow images. The current prototype is able to reconstruct shadow images of microstructures down to 5 µm.
First Chipscope microscope, with a detail of the core of the microscope, showing the stack-up structure composed by the LEDs, the sample, and the SPAD sensors.