skip to navigation

Project overview


Lensless Nanoscale Diffractive Imaging

Project description


The goal of the NanoImagine project is to develop lensless microscopy with sub micrometer spatial resolution and a moderate cost. Images are obtained by recording coherent diffraction pattern without using any lens. It is based on the use of phase-retrieval algorithms. Since few years, it became a very active area of research for lensless imaging at X-ray wavelengths. This technique having the potential to reach high resolution at low cost, there is a growing interest in using it in the visible or UV range with targeted resolution on the order of a few 100’s nanometers. Indeed, the extreme spatial resolution can reach half the illumining wavelength motivating the use short wavelength radiation. Moreover the technique does not suffer from any aberration due to the limited quality of optics. Whatever the wavelength is, high quality, high aperture optics are hardly impacting the cost of microscopes.

We will start by building a prototype using a compact UV laser diode. Our constraint is to have a 2D/3D microscope, called the Nanoscope, with an ultimate resolution of 200 nm with a cost lower than 20 Keuros. We will call it the R200-Nanoscope. To achieve this goal we will work on the process of 2D and 3D image formation from multiple to single diffraction pattern. We will push the basic knowledge in coherent imaging exploiting and speeding up algorithms and image processing techniques.

In parallel of building this prototype, the partners will prepare the second class of instrument, the 20 nm resolution instrument (R20-Nanoscope). This instrument is more prospective. It makes use of an intense coherent X-ray source with a wavelength down to 10 nm. Innovative demonstration applications of The R-Nanoscopes will be performed in Biology and Material science.

To realize this program, state of the art wave front sensing and corrections developed by Imagine Optic Inc. will be used to push the spatial resolutions at its extreme. The academic partners, LOA and CEA will provide access to state-of-the-art beamlines for lensless imaging: higher brilliance, shorter pulse duration, polarization control, tighter focusing, single particle injection manipulation techniques, specialized detectors, nano-patterning using focused ion beams, electron microscopes.


Finally, an important goal is to stimulate at all level the development and implementation of the Nanoscope instruments with potential commercial value. We will look for any potential market from biophotonics, medicine to nanosciences.



Project details

  • Funded by the French science agency Agence National de la Recherche
  • Funding program "Nanotechnology and Nanosystems (P2N) 2013"
  • Project start 2013-10
  • Project end 2017-03
  • Project partners are: Imagine Optic, CEA Saclay, Le Laboratoire d'Optique Appliquée (LOA, CNRS - délégation régionale IdF secteur ouest et nord)



Samuel Bucourt, Project coordinator, CEO of Imagine Optic
Dietmar Korn, Project manager,Research Engineer at Imagine Optic
Hamed Merdji, Principal investigator, CEA
Philippe Zeitoun, Researcher, LOA





  • In submission


  •  G. Williams et al., soumis à Optics Letters.


  • Julien SAMAAN et al.: STINT kick-off meeting, Paris, 24.11.2014
  • Julien SAMAAN et al.: session poster, Journées ANR, 13.11.2014
  • Julien SAMAAN et al.: session poster, Journées OPT2X, Institut d’Optique, 11.02.2015
  • Julien SAMAAN et al.: journées de l’Ecole Doctorale Onde et Matières, présentation, 19.02.2015
  • Willem BOUTU et al.: 05.02.2015, CEA (Ultrafast nanoscale imaging using HHG)
  • Guillaume DOVILLAIRE et al.: Wavefront sensing, COST meeting, Croatie (octobre 2014)
  • Willem BOUTU et al.: STINT kick-off meeting, Paris, 24.11.2014 (current coherent diffractive imaging activities at CEA)
  • Aura Gonzalez et al.: COST MP1203 meeting, Ultrafast nanoscale imaging and beam diagnostics of X-UV sources, Warsaw, Poland, 22-06-2013

    Imagine Optic SA
    18 rue Charles de Gaulle
    91400 Orsay, France

    phone +33 (0) 1 64 86 15 60
    fax +33 (0) 1 64 86 15 61