[MEGAFRAME] 2010: MEGAFRAME was successfully completed (see also MEGAFRAME Final Report , MEGAFRAME D6.4 Laboratory fluorescence microscopy demonstrator ), but work using the MEGAFRAME32 (32x32) and MEGAFRAME128 (128x160) devices has continued, as you can also see from the Publications section.

MEGAFRAME32 is being distributed by Photon Force Ltd (contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

In parallel, the follow-up FP7 ICT SPADnet project ( ) has been launched, dedicated to the use of SPAD arrays in medical imaging, most notably Positron Emission Tomography (PET), building on the MEGAFRAME scientific and technological achievements.


[MEGAFRAME] April 2010: MEGAFRAME was selected as one of "12 outstanding Commission-funded FET projects" showcased at the European Parliament in Strasbourg within the Science beyond Fiction exhibition, 20-21 April 2010, organised to introduce Members of the European Parliament to Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). E. Charbon [and J. Arlt] attended and presented a 3 part poster (poster 1 - poster 2 - poster 3). 


[MEGAFRAME] Oct. 2009: MEGAFRAME reports on the performance of an array of 32x32 plano-convex 50μm pitch microlenses (see LEOS 2009), fabricated by co-polymer casting in a photoresist replica mold, which have been characterized by a specially developed Optical Test Bench. The measured detection sensitivity increase reaches up to a factor of 35. This concentration factor is, to the best of our knowledge, presently the highest reported to date for any array of SPADs.


[MEGAFRAME] Sept. 2009: S. Donati, UNIPV, has been invited to present a talk at the 17th International Conference on Advanced Laser Technologies (ALT09), 26 Sept - 1 Oct 2009, Antalya, Turkey, and selected the MEGAFRAME project as a topic.


[MEGAFRAME] June-Sept. 2009: MEGAFRAME reports on the design and characterisation of 32x32 TDC/TAC plus single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) pixel arrays implemented in a 130nm imaging process, to create a single chip TCSPC sensor (see the IISW, CICC and ESSDERC Publications). To the best of our knowledge, this work constitutes the largest single-chip array of fully integrated TDCs/TACs so far reported. Each TDC/TAC-SPAD ensemble measures only 50x50μm2. It is thus one of the smallest ever demonstrated with deep sub-nanosecond time resolution.


[European R&D] July 2009: The European Commission has explicitly included single-photon and smart pixel based time-correlated imaging R&D into the ICT Call 5 Photonics 2009 topics (see EC Photonics unit website). This is fully in line with MEGAFRAME’s pioneering results, which proved that single photon arrays can indeed be implemented in deep sub-micron CMOS for time-correlated as well as intensity applications.


[MEGAFRAME] July 2009: MEGAFRAME reports on the a new low noise single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) fabricated in a 130 nm CMOS imaging process (SSE 2009). To the best of our knowledge, the DCR (Dark Count Rate) per unit area achieved in these devices is the lowest ever reported in deep sub-micron CMOS SPADs.


[MEGAFRAME] May 2009: MEGAFRAME reports on the real-time hardware (FPGA) implementation of a new integration based FLIM lifetime calculation algorithm, called IEM, suitable for SPAD arrays (see ISCAS 2009). This approach enables direct lifetime calculation in parallel for every pixel. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first system that can generate real-time video-rate fluorescence lifetime images.


[MEGAFRAME] April 2009: MEGAFRAME was selected as one of the exhibits of the FET09 Science beyond Fiction conference, 21-23 April 2009, Prague. E. Charbon and R. Henderson attended and presented a 3 part poster (poster 1 - poster 2 - poster 3).


[MEGAFRAME] Jan. 2009: Dr. Robert Henderson, UNIED, has been invited to present a talk at the Rank Prize mini-symposium on Single-Photon Detectors, 12-15 Jan 2009, Grasmere, Lake District, UK.


[MEGAFRAME] May 2008: MEGAFRAME reports on the direct integration for lifetime extraction method (IEM), a new, simple, and hardware-only fluorescence-lifetime-imaging microscopy (FLIM) proposed to implement on-chip lifetime extractions (JOSA A 2008).

"130nm CMOS SPAD", invited presentation at SPIE Optics East (Sept. 2007)

July/Aug. 2007: MEGAFRAME reports on the first implementation of a Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) in 130 nm complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technology - see also the JSTQE paper in the "Publications" section.


FBK/ITC press release, Oct. 2006 (original Italian version, English version).


Home arrow Main Goals
Main Goals PDF Print

The proposed detector parameters are at least one to two orders of magnitude more advanced than those found in the literature. The proposed imager design techniques will enable the elimination of scanning in fluorescence analysis thus increasing the achievable frame rate at a given resolution by three orders of magnitude. In addition, the demonstration of the fill-factor recovery concept will enable a host of additional on-board pixel-processing applications until now precluded by area-related issues.

These achievements will allow breakthroughs not only in imaging but also in multi-processing architecture, flow-control engineering as well as biology and bio-medical sciences. The project aims at establishing a new record in sustained frame rates and ultra-high timing accuracy for imaging systems over a kilopixel. European excellence in this field will be re-established, thus paving the way to the emergence of a new class of low-cost, high-quality imagers. Applications in medical, bio- and neuroscience, and other industrial fields will be the prime candidates to exploit the new imaging technology.

Partners' Roles
  • EPFL: The Quantum Architecture Group (AQUA) will lead the design of high speed SPDs where it has extensive experience. The group has designed and fabricated SPADs in a number of CMOS technologies. It has also designed advanced RISC processors and it is currently involved in the design of ultra-low-power multi-processors based on multi-RISC architectures.
  • UNIPV: Will be committed to the problem of recovering the fill-factor through a special optical element, to be designed and implemented as a separate activity parallel to the chip fabrication. The Group has a long standing reputation internationally on photodetectors and especially optics thereof.
  • UNIED: UNIED is the conjunction of IMNS, which will lead the activity on system modelling and processing for biological signal detection, and COSMIC, which will lead the laboratory evaluation of the imager and SPAD prototypes and will devise experiments demonstrating its unique detection capabilities for a range of biological systems including single-cells and complex macromolecules. Both groups will collaborate in the production of a laboratory microscopy demonstrator.
  • FBK: The main role of FBK (formerly ITC) will be to design and test on-chip analogue electronics required by the high-speed imaging system. In particular FBK will design dedicated analogue pixel structures to be implemented in the first prototype sensors, and the main filtering blocks aimed at fixed-pattern noise reduction, analogue-to-digital conversion, calibration procedures and on-chip bias generation.
  • STMICRO: STMICRO will provide access to semiconductor fabrication in state-of-the-art CMOS technology and contribute process expertise supporting development of the SPAD device. Using its experience in development of highly integrated imagers STMICRO will assure the tape-out of functional, manufacturable imager chips. STMICRO will propose an exploitation plan for practical, miniaturised imaging systems resulting from the prototype chips, particularly for diagnostic, point-of-care applications.
© 2016 MEGAFRAME - Million Frame Per Second, Time-Correlated Single Photon Camera [IST FP6 FET Open]
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