Adriaan J. Taal, Changhyuk Lee, Jaebin Choi, Björn Hellenkamp, and Kenneth L. Shepard, “Toward implantable devices for angle-sensitive, lens-less, multifluorescent, single-photon lifetime imaging in the brain using Fabry–Perot and absorptive color filters,” Light: Science & Applications volume 11, Article number: 24 (2022)
Implantable image sensors have the potential to revolutionize neuroscience. Due to their small form factor requirements; however, conventional filters and optics cannot be implemented. These limitations obstruct high-resolution imaging of large neural densities. Recent advances in angle-sensitive image sensors and single-photon avalanche diodes have provided a path toward ultrathin lens-less fluorescence imaging, enabling plenoptic sensing by extending sensing capabilities to include photon arrival time and incident angle, thereby providing the opportunity for separability of fluorescence point sources within the context of light-field microscopy (LFM). However, the addition of spectral sensitivity to angle-sensitive LFM reduces imager resolution because each wavelength requires a separate pixel subset. Here, we present a 1024-pixel, 50 µm thick implantable shank-based neural imager with color-filter-grating-based angle-sensitive pixels. This angular-spectral sensitive front end combines a metal–insulator–metal (MIM) Fabry–Perot color filter and diffractive optics to produce the measurement of orthogonal light-field information from two distinct colors within a single photodetector. The result is the ability to add independent color sensing to LFM while doubling the effective pixel density. The implantable imager combines angular-spectral and temporal information to demix and localize multispectral fluorescent targets. In this initial prototype, this is demonstrated with 45 μm diameter fluorescently labeled beads in scattering medium. Fluorescent lifetime imaging is exploited to further aid source separation, in addition to detecting pH through lifetime changes in fluorescent dyes. While these initial fluorescent targets are considerably brighter than fluorescently labeled neurons, further improvements will allow the application of these techniques to in-vivo multifluorescent structural and functional neural imaging.