Abstract: Photonics is essential in life science research and the continuous development of methods offers researchers tools of unprecedented sensitivity. Sensors are key to the exploitation of the most advanced biophotonic techniques with highly demanding specifications in terms of single photon sensitivity, time resolution, miniaturisation real-time processing and data throughput. Silicon photomultipliers and Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) imagers represent the state-of-the-art in photon detection with single photon sensitivity, photon number resolving capability and the possibility to integrate on chip advanced functionalities. As a consequence, they can be the platform for the next generation biophotonic instruments and methods. This paper summarises the main biophotonic techniques and reports exemplary applications of Silicon Photomultipliers and SPAD imagers for fluorescence, chemiluminescence, time correlated single photon counting and imaging. Achievements and current limitations are addressed, pointing as well to the most recent technology advances and highlighting the possible pathways for the near future.
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