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Exciting Instruments | Speeding Up Single-Molecule Fluorescence Spectroscopy

Using sensational software to streamline and speed up single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy

We’re often told to look at the big picture, but what happens when you need to understand every single molecule? That’s where Exciting Instruments come in.

Razor & Exciting Instruments


Introducing Exciting Instruments

Exciting Instruments are incredibly well-named. They‘ve created the rather awesome EI-FLEX System which is built to unlock the power of single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy - pretty exciting right?

The only problem was that they wanted the tech to be a bit more impressive, to work a bit faster, as they wanted to be able to help scientists move quickly from experiment to discovery.

That’s where team Razor came in!


Challenge - how can we keep the tech affordable and accessible, while remaining incredibly accurate?

This project was a collaboration between our friends at Bulldozer and the incredible University of Sheffield. And of course, the rather awesome developers at Razor.

There’s always been a need for spectroscopy but before Exciting Instruments burst onto the scene with their amazing tech, scientists often had to build their own instruments.

Unfortunately, they didn’t always have the skills in optics and robotics needed to really nail it.

Of course, there are other options already available on the market, ones with incredible levels of precision, but these are very expensive which is a barrier for many scientists and researchers.

So, the challenge Exciting Instruments brought to us was this; how can we make our EI-FLEX System even better, even faster, and more accessible - while also keeping it affordable?

Well, as you know, we love a challenge! So we got right to it.

Mockup of a dashboard


Action - Let’s level up this software

The project was off to a great start as the University of Sheffield had created a concept for the software that would drive a microscope to use optics, laser works, and fluorescence to measure single molecules of proteins! Why, you ask? So you can determine their absolute distance to just 5 nanometers across a single molecule!

The microscope then fires lasers and hits on dye, causing it to fluoresce a specific colour - how cool is that? This helps researchers determine the size and shape of proteins at equilibrium.

Knowing the size and shape of a protein dictates its function, which helps researchers to understand their research subject better.

Wondering what the real-world applications of this are? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. The EI-FLEX System makes discoveries easier in biophysics, life sciences, drug development and medical diagnostics.

We used the desktop software the University of Sheffield created as a jumping-off point, and then worked our tech magic to add some new features and build a cloud platform.

Now, the cloud is pretty commonplace in most industries, however here it is a really novel idea - and a great one at that. It allows the researchers and scientists using the EI-FLEX System to instantly back up their data, conduct real-time analysis and work with a more seamless bit of kit - huzzah!

Mockup of a dashboard


Result - software and science are yet again proven to be the dream team combination

The EI-FLEX System was created to help scientists move more quickly from experiment to discovery without compromising on reliability or accuracy. And when we say quickly, we mean quickly! smFRET measurements (single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer) typically take around 30 minutes and FCS measurements (fluorescence correlation spectroscopy) around 1 minute. It’s so incredibly easy to use, with data being backed up to the cloud while it produces real-time analytics. Say goodbye to flaky python notebooks!

Accessibility was a key driver for Exciting Instruments, which is why they wanted to make it affordable, compact, and able to be used without much additional specialist equipment. And what we’ve created together does just that!

With the updates we made to the software, scientists and researchers can set the EI-FLEX System up and running, and then work on another research task while effortlessly tracking the progress of the experiment on their phone - in real-time! That’s pretty amazing. Who doesn’t want complex data analysis at the push of a button?

It’s an interface for all users that’s:

  • fully equipped to perform complex data analysis in the cloud while also providing HDF5 file downloads for further down-stream data analysis

  • an intuitive experimental profile builder - the built-in calibration profiles means you can start making discoveries sooner

  • Full metadata is stored with each experiment helping to support GMP and FDA 21 CFR Part 11 forward compatibility - if you know, you know

After working our software magic, we’ve handed the project back to the specialist team of optics, hardware and biology experts to continue development.

The great news is that based on the demos of the software we created and the hardware from Exciting Instruments, the first sales are already coming in through the door!

This project was the epitome of success using the dream team combination of science and software!


Get in touch

Do you need some software sorcery to help get your idea off the ground? Get in touch - we can’t wait to build something awesome together.

Robert Bell

Robert Bell

CEO at Exciting Instruments

Working with Razor was a critical element of our early commercialisation journey. In the face of startup uncertainty and inherent technical complexity (we’re measuring the distance across single molecules afterall!) the team at Razor acted with urgency, flexibility and professionalism to enhance our data acquisition and edge processing capabilities and develop our cloud data analysis and visualisation platform.

If you’re looking for a team who can take a collaborative approach to solving difficult usability and technical challenges, look no further!