Manchester startup unveils world first in imaging technology



Manchester startup unveils world first in imaging technology

The commercial launch of a revolutionary new technology – (SMAL) Super Resolution Microsphere Amplified Lens - is the latest world leading innovation from Manchester’s scientific community. Led by Professor Lin Li, who demonstrated the basic principal of the technique in 2011, the LIG Nanowise team has successfully translated the concept to a market-ready product from their base at Manchester Science Park.

This level of detailed imaging is vital for researchers working at the forefront of drug discovery, oncology, and virology, with advanced materials such as graphene and the latest microchip technologies. This has traditionally required expensive equipment only found in Universities, large corporations or specialist centres. High demand for these facilities means turnaround for sample imaging can be slow – adding days or weeks to tight timescales – as well as being unreliable and costly.  By removing this accessibility barrier, NANOPSIS promises to be a game changer for R&D laboratories, universities and microelectronics quality control around the world.

The cutting-edge, patented, SMAL technology modifies standard white light microscopes to dramatically increase their resolution. This allows users to view the nanoscopic world as never before seen with standard optical microscopes.  Combining a built-in SMAL powered lens, with best-in-class software and hardware specifications; the new NANOPSIS branded imaging system generates full colour, large area scans of materials and live samples – resolving details down to 70 billionths of a metre (70 nanometres) in size, surpassing the theoretical limit of standard optical microscopy (200 nanometres).

“Researchers can use our microscope to validate samples and carry out routine work in their own laboratory without having to waste valuable time booking into an imaging centre.  This is because unlike other super-resolution technologies, which require a huge amount of expertise, NANOPSIS can be used by anyone with basic undergraduate scientific training – making it fast, convenient and highly cost effective. 

“Equally important, is the fact that these reliable, repeatable imaging results are delivered at the frontline of research, rather than part of a disjointed process in an inaccessible centre. Our aim is to make super-resolution imaging more accessible to researchers across the globe,” explains Professor Lin Li, Chairman of LIG Nanowise, the team behind the innovation.

Crucially for biological and medical applications, the optical lens does not have to be in contact with the sample removes the risk of potential damage. Additional financial benefits of the revolutionary NANOPSIS system include improved safety, greater power efficiency and a significantly cheaper investment compared to other super-resolution microscopes currently available on the market. 

Rowena Burns, Chief Executive of Manchester Science Partnerships, added: “It’s great to see another yet another home-grown company flourish in the MSP community and we’re delighted to help them launch their latest product. LIG Nanowise is a perfect example of how brilliant academic science can be combined with commercial ambition to push the boundaries of innovation, and benefit society in doing so.”

LIG Nanowise and Manchester Science Partnerships are holding a joint launch event with live demos of the SMAL powered NANOPSIS system on 29 June 2017 at MSP’s biomedical centre of excellence, Citylabs 1.0.

For further information and/or to book a place, please visit