Simultaneous multi-spectral, single-photon fluorescence imaging using a plasmonic colour filter array

Peter W. R. Connolly, Jessica Valli, Yash D. Shah, Yoann Altmann, James Grant, Claudio Accarino, Colin Rickman, David R. S. Cumming, Gerald S. Buller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the first realisation of simultaneous multi-spectral fluorescence imaging using a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array, where the spectral unmixing is facilitated by a plasmonic metasurface mosaic colour filter array (CFA). A 64 × 64 pixel format silicon SPAD array is used to record widefield fluorescence and brightfield data from four biological samples. A plasmonic metasurface composed of an arrangement of circular and elliptical nanoholes etched into an aluminium thin film deposited on a glass substrate provides the high transmission efficiency CFA, enabling a bespoke spectral unmixing algorithm to reconstruct high fidelity, full colour images from as few as ~3 photons per pixel. This approach points the way toward real-time, single-photon sensitive multi-spectral fluorescence imaging. Furthermore, this is possible without additional bulky components such as a filter wheel, prism or diffraction grating, nor the need for multiple sample exposures or multiple detectors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2746
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Early online date8 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Apr 2021


  • CFA
  • FLIM
  • SPAD
  • colour filter array
  • fluorescence
  • image processing
  • imaging
  • metasurface
  • microscopy
  • plasmonic
  • single-photon avalanche diode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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