Live From Photonics West 2012: Scientific CMOS Camera Built On Gen II sCMOS Detector

Source: Hamamatsu Corporation

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In this video, Jessica Uralil of Hamamatsu Corporation highlights several new technologies, including the ORCA-Flash4.0 scientific CMOS camera. Built on a new Gen II sCMOS detector, this camera is ideal for applications such as single molecule imaging, super resolution microscopy, and high-speed calcium ion imaging.

Video Transcript

Jessica Uralil: Hi. My name is Jessica Uralil, and I am an inside sales engineer with Hamamatsu Corporation, a North American subsidiary of Japan’s Hamamatsu Photonics. We are one of the largest manufacturers of photonics products from components to modules to cameras to complete systems.

Our products provide solutions for various applications from different industries, including medical, semiconductor, consumer, and industrial. Hamamatsu is continuously developing new technologies, and from new technologies come new products, some of which we are proudly showcasing this week at Photonics West.

One of the new product lines that we now offer are infrared thermopile detectors for energy-saving and security applications. This includes gas analysis, temperature measurements, human position detection, etc. We have linear sensors, dual sensors, and area sensors. These detectors were developed using our MEMS technologies along with a CMOS sensor.

Our detectors have high sensitivity in the 3 to 5 micron range and are offered in TO-18 compact packages. Our dual sensors actually have two windows to each detector element for sensing two wavelengths simultaneously.

Also in the same line of infrared detectors, we have new photovoltaic detectors. These have sensitivity up to 5.9 microns with very fast time response. They are two-stage, thermoelectrically cooled devices, so they don’t require liquid nitrogen cooling, and yet they keep dark current low at these long wavelengths.

Hamamatsu has also developed solid state detectors for low-light-level detection. These detectors are referred to as multipixel photon counters, also known as MPPCs. MPPCs are a new type of photon counting device made of multiple avalanche photodiode pixels operating in Geiger mode.

Being an opto-semiconductor device, it is compact and durable and only requires a low bias voltage for operation.

The MPPC has gains up to 10 to the 6th and can be used for counting single photons, making it comparable to photomultiplier tubes.

Hamamatsu has been in the business of PMTs for many, many years. Over that time, we have developed hundreds of variations of PMTs, all for different applications. And now we are introducing the future of PMT technology. This is what we call the micro-PMT.

Up until now, our smallest PMT offering was in the TO-8 package. But now, we have combined our PMT expertise with our MEMS technology to give you this micro-PMT you see here.

You have high gain and low noise typical of conventional PMTs, but in this package small enough to fit on your fingertip.

As you can see, the structure of the micro-PMT includes a photocathode and several dynodes where the electron multiplication occurs. The dynodes are specially etched in a solid substrate in order to give the micro-PMT its small size. Several of these micro-PMTs can be manufactured on a single wafer, which automates the manufacturing process, allowing for quicker mass production.

Micro-PMTs will serve as an ideal detector for applications such as portable medical equipment and environment measurement systems.

As you know, Hamamatsu not only manufactures components, but we also manufacture complete systems, including scientific cameras.

We are very excited about our newest camera, The ORCA-Flash4.0. This camera is built on the new Gen II sCMOS sensor that combines high quantum efficiency and low noise, challenging the performance of EMCCDs and other sCMOS cameras out in the market today.

You can see our camera here mounted on this microscope system. It is very compact with 4 megapixels, large fields of view, and two CamLink cables to achieve the 100 frames per second.

The readout noise at 100 frames per second is as low as 1.3 electrons. This camera is ideal for applications such as single molecule imaging, super resolution microscopy, high-speed calcium ion imaging, FRET, and many, many more.

Hamamatsu is continuously developing new technologies that lead to new products for new applications and can meet market needs.

If you didn’t get a chance to visit our booth at Photonics West this year, please visit our website at