Business and innovation
Photon Force Limited designs and manufactures time-resolved single-photon-sensitive scientific cameras for application in areas spanning quantum physics, bio-medical imaging and communications. The business span out of Robert Henderson’s CMOS Sensors and Systems Group at the University of Edinburgh in 2015, and now employs a skilled team at its Edinburgh base.
Many applications require the detection and timing of individual photons, for example in LiDAR systems to measure distance, in quantum imaging to detect coincident photons and in fluorescence lifetime measurements to infer information about a sample.
However, established techniques involve discrete detectors and external single-channel timing electronics, able to process only one photon at a time.
This system architecture is unfeasibly slow for many applications, while being bulky, fragile and cumbersome.
The PF32 was the world’s first ultra-fast, single-photon-sensitive, time-resolved camera product, brought to market by Photon Force in 2016.
By shrinking the timing electronics to fit within each image sensor pixel, it offers an unparalleled throughput of 0.5B photons/s, the fastest TCSPC system available, with a time resolution of tens of picoseconds.
The cameras are powerful, versatile tools, providing a compact, robust, solid-state solution which is simple to use.
This appeals to customers aiming to accelerate their single-photon imaging applications across science and industry, spanning quantum physics, communications, experimental LiDAR imaging and biomedical modalities including fluorescence lifetime and imaging for neuroscience.
Having developed the technology from a research prototype to a commercial product line, Photon Force is now scaling up production to support increased sales volumes from its growing geographical presence, as well as offering greater breadth of application support.
It is continuing to develop the PF32 camera family, introducing variants offering 15x improved sensitivity and 10x reduced noise, delivering a further step change in performance.
Photon Force is also developing new sensor architectures offering vastly enhanced throughput, with the potential to further disrupt the quantum sensing market, and engaging with industrial OEM customers to develop future integrated devices.