Opto-Electronics


Ground-breaking technology for spectroscopy

8 March 2006 Opto-Electronics

Andor Technology (Andor), a leading supplier of specialised cameras and spectrographs for scientific applications, recently notched up another success with the release of the Newton, the first spectroscopic camera to use electron multiplying CCD technology.

EMCCD sensors are manufactured using standard CCD fabrication methods but the unique feature is an electron-multiplying structure that is inserted between the end of the shift register and the output amplifier. The transferring electrons undergo impact ionisation, which generates new electrons and provides multiplication or gain. In many cases this does away with the need to use intensified CCD devices. EMCCD has been hailed as the new ICCD. In effect, the EMCCD is the equivalent of a solid-state image intensifier that does not have the disadvantage of a limited MTBF.

The top-of-the range Newton has a 2048 x 512 array of 13,5 μm pixels and thermoelectric cooling down to -100°C, which results in negligible dark current. Versions are also available with other array formats such as 1600 x 200 or 1600 x 400 using 16 μm pixels. This high resolution spectroscopic sensor, combined with Andor's low noise electronics delivers quantum efficiencies of up to 95% with multimegahertz read out and USB connectivity.

The cameras can be purchased with coatings and windows that maximise performance in various spectral regions. For operation the Newton requires one of Andor's two software options - one for data acquisition and processing, or the other to create one's own applications. Andor software is Windows-based and supports all versions.





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