The overall goal of ChipScope is to develop the scientific and technological basis for a completely new approach to optical super-resolution microscopy, with a resolution smaller than the diffraction limit, based on semiconductor nanoLED arrays with individual pixel control, which will lead to extreme miniaturisation, simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

Spatial resolution will be provided by the illumination source, not by the optical detection system.

In the long-term this will revolutionize optical microscopes with super-resolution capabilities, making them chip-sized, convenient, affordable, and ubiquitously available, not only for laboratories working in manifold research fields, but also in everyday life.

The ChipScope Objectives at a Glance:

To establish the technological basis as well as theoretical understanding of the ChipScope concept:

  • realizing highest resolution, separately addressable nanoLED arrays, pixel sizes smaller than the diffraction limit
  • integrating the nanoLED arrays with a photodetector with single photon and sub-ns detection capabilities
  • developing theoretical background in optical interaction between nanoLED arrays and nano-objects

To proof-the-concept of ChipScope by demonstrating microscopy of living tissues with

  • direct imaging with super resolution
  • molecular fluorescent imaging with comparable resolution
  • real-time operation (more than 10 frames per second)

To promote the ChipScope concept in the scientific, the industrial and the social environment

  • disseminating the advantages of ChipScope to a broad scientific community to trigger further applications
  • communicating the opportunities offered by ChipScope for business creation and social improvement
  • making the ChipScope results known to decision makers and politicians to facilitate a better use of the results

The completely NEW ChipScope approach:

NanoLED light sources will deliver not only micro-chip based, sub-diffraction optical resolution without optical elements, but also combine this with fluorescence imaging capabilities. The basic principle of our ChipScope approach is shown in the figure.

Our nanoLED array will consist of a 2D arrangement of individual, independent nano LEDs, regularly spaced at nanometric distances. This will enable to switch on and off one single nanoLED after the other, separately and at a high repetition speed. A highly sensitive photodetector will then sequentially measure signals that originate from different well-known locations in space (i.e. from each nanoLED) in each time slot. Thus, the photodetector signal in time can be transferred into a real space transmission image, showing the “shadow” image of the object under investigation, which is in close contact with the nanoLED array, at this particular LED-on position. Contrary to conventional microscopy, spatial resolution is provided by the illumination source and not by the optical detection system. Hence, the optical detection system does not require particular alignments, complex optical focussing systems or spatially resolved detectors.

In summary, ChipScope will revolutionize the way science and applications related to optical microscopy will be done in the future, leading to an extremely high impact. The ChipScope project prepares the base for a vast product variety and thus carries the inherent innovation potential to strengthen the European industry.

An artistic impression of what we should be seeing at the end of the project. The proof-of-concept (PoC) application to be investigated in the project: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) disease development in living lung tissues, combining direct imaging with fluorescence molecular imaging modes at an unprecedented speed and resolution.