High-speed particle tracking in microscopy using SPAD image sensors

Istvan Gyongy, Amy Davies, Allende Crespo, Andrew Green, Neale Dutton, Rory R Duncan, Colin Rickman, Robert Henderson, Paul Dalgarno

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Single photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) are used in a wide range of applications, from fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) to time-of-flight (ToF) 3D imaging. SPAD arrays are becoming increasingly established, combining the unique properties of SPADs with widefield camera configurations. Traditionally, the photosensitive area (fill factor) of SPAD arrays has been limited by the in-pixel digital electronics. However, recent designs have demonstrated that by replacing the complex digital pixel logic with simple binary pixels and external frame summation, the fill factor can be increased considerably. A significant advantage of such binary SPAD arrays is the high frame rates offered by the sensors (>100kFPS), which opens up new possibilities for capturing ultra-fast temporal dynamics in, for example, life science cellular imaging. In this work we consider the use of novel binary SPAD arrays in high-speed particle tracking in microscopy. We demonstrate the tracking of fluorescent microspheres undergoing Brownian motion, and in intra-cellular vesicle dynamics, at high frame rates. We thereby show how binary SPAD arrays can offer an important advance in live cell imaging in such fields as intercellular communication, cell trafficking and cell signaling.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHigh-Speed Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy III
Subtitle of host publicationToward Big Data Instrumentation and Management
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781510614963
ISBN (Print)9781510614956
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Feb 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422
ISSN (Electronic)2410-9045


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