Facts, Misc news, News

SPPIN’s NANOCOQ project is laureate of the 2024-25 Maimonide grant scheme

The objective of the Franco-Israeli Maimonide program is to develop scientific and technological exchanges of excellence between laboratories of the two countries. This involves encouraging new cooperations, researcher mobility and the participation of early-career researchers and doctoral students.

SPPIN’s ‘biophysics of the Brain’ team, directed by SPPIN’s Martin Oheim, and the lab of Prof Adi Salomon of Bar-Ilan University (BINA Nanocenter and Department of Chemistry) postulated in this year’s topic area “Applied Physics: Applied photonics and lasers” with the “NANNOCOQ” project, that elegantly translates a nano metrology challenge, measuring distances along the microscope’s optical axis, into a spectral imaging and unmixing task.

The aim of NANOCOQ is to provide to the imaging community an axial ruler for super-resolution microscopies that is as easy to use as the Chroma slide for wide-field microscopies.

The Maimonide-financed NANOCOQ project will allow French and Israeli researchers, early-career researchers, and students, to work during two years, spend time in the respectively other lab and address a crucial topic in current super-resolution microscopies. It comprises mobility as well as research funding and runs over 24 months starting early 2024.

Scientific abstract: After 30 years of nano science, a reliable, easy-to-use tool for axial nanometrology is still missing. The NANOCOQ project will provide a microscope-slide sized calibration sample for axial super-resolution microscopies. The originality of our approach is that nanometric z-distances (along the microscope’s optical axis) are colour-encoded in the form of a multi-layered transparent sandwich (see graphical abstract). Alternating ultra-thin transparent spacer and fluorescent dye layers are deposited in a controlled manner on a flat glass substrate, and the sandwich is sealed off and protected with a µm-thick transparent capping layer. Our spectral axial ruler will serve for evaluating, calibrating and quantifying nm-axial distances in single-molecular localisation microscopies, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF), supercritical-angle fluorescence and related axial super-resolution techniques. Building on, (1), our patented thin-film technology (WO2020/053367) and extensions thereof, (2), our documented know-how and published proof-of-concept for a single-colour sandwich (Klimovsky et al, 2023,Olevsko et al. 2023 ) and, (3), on a unique algorithm and graphical user interface, CC-NANOSCALE will provide a complete toolbox for researchers & engineers in labo-ratories and on imaging core facilities. It will also be of value for microscopy manufacturers and service technicians to ascertain the performance of their instruments. We expect CC-NANOSCALE to become an inevitable quality standard for R&D and rigorous image quantification in academia, research and industry.

References: patent, Klimovsky et al 2023, Olevsko et al. 2023 (preprint)