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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S036555/1
Title: Rosalind Franklin Institute: Platform Development Project
Principal Investigator: Stride, Professor E
Other Investigators:
Cleveland, Professor RO Roy, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Engineering Science
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2019 Ends: 29 February 2020 Value (£): 538,527
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
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Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
This proposal is to develop a significant and unique instrumentation capability for the RFI that will enable game-changing observations and measurements of physical phenomena at micrometre length scales and sub-microsecond time scales applicable to a broad range of problems in the physical and life sciences in general, and biomedical imaging and therapy in particular. Funds are requested to (1) develop a one-of-a kind very-high-speed imaging facility and (2) for the initial outfitting of the INSIGHT laboratory that will support the camera, as well as future Hub activities within the INSIGHT theme.

The initial focus of the system will be understanding the physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms underpinning cavitation mediated drug delivery. However, once the instrument is completed, it can be configured in a variety of ways and applied to broad range of problems in materials science, plasma/shock physics, sonochemistry, photoacoustics, biological membrane dynamics, fluid dynamics, and even inertially-confined nuclear fusion.

The range of time and length scales involved poses a series of formidable challenges:

-Temporal resolution: imaging phenomena such as acoustic cavitation requires frame rates of the order of 100 million frames per second (fps). Conversely, imaging the biological response of cells and organisms to physical stimuli requires time lapsed imaging over hours or even days. Thus, not only is exceptional light sensitivity (quantum efficiency) required but also significant flexibility in the imaging frame rate. It should also be capable of being triggered on demand to capture specific phenomena.

-Spatial resolution: imaging of sub-cellular processes using either direct or fluorescence microscopy is vital for mechanistic understanding. Hence both the pixel resolution of the camera and the optical bandwidth must be as large as possible.

-Biological compatibility: in addition to the camera itself, a system providing a realistic biological environment is needed into which the camera and other instrumentation can be integrated.

The state of the art high speed imaging systems currently available offer only a subset of these requirements. The new system will be developed through a collaboration between an academic team at Oxford, a UK-SME specialising in high-speed imaging, Invisible Vision and supported by a UK/EU consortium of research partners. Once operational, the system will be installed at the RFI hub as an instrument and accessed as a research facility in the same way as existing instruments at RAL.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk