All Solid-State Super-Twinning Photon Microscope - SUPERTWIN

SUPERTWIN aims at developing a highly innovative microscopy technique that exploits the principles of quantum photonics to overcome the limitations of existing optical microscopes. Launched on March 1st, 2016, the project includes nine leading European experts in Quantum Physics, Photonics, CMOS Image Sensors manufacturing, Solid-state Photon Sensing, and potential industrial end-user.

FBK role

FBK has two roles in SUPERTWIN: project coordination, and the development of a CMOS single-photon image sensor able to detect non-local correlations between impinging photons.


SUPERTWIN was launched on March 1st, 2016, and has a duration of 36 months.


SUPERTWIN is a collaborative research project funded by the European Union within the Excellent Science – Future and Emerging Technologies section of the FETOPEN-2014-2015-RIA Horizon 2020 (H2020) Framework Programme.


Nowadays, the resolution of an optical microscope is set by the Rayleigh limit at about half the photon wavelength. The modern development in the field that breaks this limit, the Scanning Near-field Optical Microscope (SNOM), requires a complex, high precision, time consuming 2D scan of the sample under investigation to generate a full image. Other techniques exist, but they all exploit fluorescence. As typically the object under the study is not fluorescent, the use of a specific preparation with fluorescent dyes is necessary.

SUPERTWIN’s prime objective is to develop the prototype of a new microscope that exploits entangled photons to overcome the limits of classical optics, demonstrating a radically new line of technology for super-resolution imaging devices utilizing the principles of quantum optics. Entangled photons are elementary particles of light that share a certain property, in such a way that the observation of a change in one of the photons allows us to infer what happened to the other photons, as if they were twins connected by an invisible link.

The SUPERTWIN microscope comprises several three main building blocks: (i) solid-state emitters based on advanced group-III nitride and III-V alloy epitaxial growths and wafer processing techniques will to generate highly entangled photon states; (ii) single-photon detector arrays with data pre-processing capabilities manufactured in an optimized advanced CMOS technology node will to record spatio-temporal multi-photon interference patterns; and (iii) dedicated data processing algorithms will aimed at extracting the image of the illuminated object from the statistics of scattered entangled photons. This concept will pave the way for a new paradigm in optical imaging, triggering the development of super-resolution microscopy systems that will enable to surpass the main limitations of existing super-resolution microscopy techniques.

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