Islam works to improve agricultural production by slowing down the speed of light

Close-up of a blue computer chip.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Saif Islam, campus director of CITRIS at UC Davis, will be forging a new partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories to create innovative, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) — a process currently used in the medical field — for improving agricultural practices. 

An award from the UC Davis Office of Research Interdisciplinary Research Catalyst Faculty Fellows Program will support their work, which involves Islam’s research in ultra-fast system-on-a-chip for FLIM and sensing of biomolecules. This technology includes developing ultra-fast cameras for analyzing molecules and detectors that slow down and trap photons, allowing them to be captured more easily for analysis. This method also allows for less intense lighting to be used during diagnosing, thereby reducing the risk of light damage while still keeping diagnostic accuracy high.