CE42 - Capteurs, instrumentation

Ultracompact fiber X-ray detectors based on scintillators coupled to nano-optical antennas – NANOPTiX

Submission summary

NANOPT-X is a forefront program aimed at realizing a new generation of X-ray detectors of improved performances (high sensitivity, high resolution, faster response time) available in ultra-compact and flexible architectures compatible with endoscopy.

The main objective of NANOPTiX is to miniaturize X-ray detectors. We target tiny X-ray probes integrated at the end of narrow fibers of the size of a human hair (125 µm down to 80 µm outer diameters). To this end, NANOPTiX will exploit for the first time the concept of Nano-Optical Antenna (NOA) for controlling the X-ray excited luminescence (XEL) from scintillators. The NOA will be engineered as a key-connection between scintillators and a narrow optical fiber, aimed at (1) dramatically increasing the XEL signal out-coupled into the fiber, and (2), controlling the emission rate of the scintillators. We thus provide the first nano-optically driven approach in the development of X-ray imaging and real-time dosimetry. This represents a breakthrough in the engineering of X-ray detectors. While NOAs have attracted huge interest for enhancing fluorescence rate and directionality from molecules and quantum dots, their ability to control the XEL from scintillators has never been reported yet. With NANOPTiX project, nano-optics will make a first key-contribution to X-ray architectures and protocols.

The miniaturization opportunity provided by the proposed disruptive approach will overcome obstacles in dosimetry and imaging. Negligible footprint endoscopic sensors, of high resolution and sensitivity, will emerge from NANOPTiX. These world premieres will impact a large field of scientific, medical and industrial domains of high economic and societal perspectives. In that context, despite high scientific challenges, NANOPTiX is geared toward prototyping, up to TRL 4, and the valorization of patentable outcomes. We target pre-industrial prototypes for endoscopic dosimetry in radiotherapy. Such prototypes will include encapsulated optimized probes, and their plug-and-play associated instrumentation, for the real-time monitoring of an irradiation dose applied in clinical environment. NANOPTiX will thus bridge the gap between fundamental concepts and market-ready prototypes. Therefore, the key fundamental issues of NANOPTiX will be industrially and medically addressed from the very outset of the project in order to achieve short term out-of-lab prototyping. Such an ambition required the creation of a highly pluridisciplanary consortium combining two industrial companies and three academic institutes, including a University Hospital with its clinical and translational-research services,.

The consortium behind this project is unique and will enable the development and validation of this new technological approach with ambitious and highly complementary objectives dealing with clinical X-ray endoscopic dosimetry (up to TRL4) and the frontier investigation of X-ray digital detection and imaging down to the nanoscale. The related important technology challenges will be taken up thanks to the fabrication facilities of the consortium, involving one of the five technology platforms of the French “Renatech” network.

NANOPTiX spin-offs go well beyond X-ray dosimetry and imaging. By implementing fiber detectors sensitive to other ionizing radiations, such as charged elemental particles, real-time radiation dose monitoring will become possible for Hadron therapy and Brachytherapy with completely new versatility and accuracy. Security applications have also been envisaged.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CIC1431 Inserm CIC 1431 / CHRU Besançon
CINaM Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique DR12 Centre Indisciplinaire de Nanoscience de Marseille

Help of the ANR 500,176 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2019 - 42 Months

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