School of Physics and Astronomy

Spectral separation of optical signals below diffraction limit

Research Group:Centre for Condensed Matter and Material Physics

Full-time Project: yes


Project Description:

The project will be part of an on-going experimental effort to develop a methodology for spectroscopic signal separation below the diffraction limit.
Over the last two decades, there have been significant progress in achieving optical resolution below the diffraction limit of around 250 nm, which most famously culminated in the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014 "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy". The aim of this project is test a methodology for SR biological imaging based on spectral rather than temporal signal separation of light emission from quantum dots (QDs). The proposed methodology relies on size-dependent emission (tuneable from ultra-violet to infra-red range) from QDs due to the quantum confinement effect for the purpose of imaging below the diffraction limit. Within this project, we will set up and test a laser–based system for spectral signal separation and develop software to control data acquisition. The system will be tested using sub diffraction reference standards (e.g. DNA-based rulers and DNA origami) and will be used to investigate the effects of spectral overlap and of S/N ration on image resolution and precision
of localisation of single quantum dots. Consequently, the students will undergo training in the area of optical imaging, optical spectroscopy, optical microscopy and associated 
software tools as well as fundamental physics of materials science.

Scientific Reports Vol. 7, (2017) 45591

Optics Express Vol. 25, (2017), pp. 4240-4253


An interest in optical imaging of biological objects (cells) and in cellular biology. A good first degree in Physics and/or BioScience.

SPA Academics: Andrei Sapelkin