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Medical Devices and Healthcare IT

Electron-Multiplying CCD Image Sensor Targets Low-Light Industrial, Scientific Imaging Applications

26 September 2016

ON Semiconductor introduced an eight-megapixel image sensor based on interline transfer electron multiplying charge-coupled device (IT-EMCCD) technology. According to the company, the new KAE 08151 is the second device to use ON Semiconductor’s IT-EMCCD technology, delivering the same sub-electron noise floor and imaging versatility as the existing 1080p resolution KAE 02150 image sensor.

ON Semiconductor's KAE 08151 incorporates electron-multiplying charge-coupled device technology and an optional thermoelectric cooler, allowing operation from sub-lux to extremely bright lighting levels.  Image source: ON Semiconductor. ON Semiconductor's KAE 08151 incorporates electron-multiplying charge-coupled device technology and an optional thermoelectric cooler, allowing operation from sub-lux to extremely bright lighting levels. Image source: ON Semiconductor. With a 22-millimeter diagonal (4/3 optical format) that matches the imaging path of professional microscopes, the KAE 08151 directly targets high-resolution microscopy and scientific imaging applications operating in lighting regimes that can range from sub-lux to bright-light imaging. In addition, a new packaging option is available for both devices in this family that incorporates a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) directly into the package design. This integrated cooler simplifies development of a cooled camera that optimizes the performance available from these devices.

IT EMCCD devices combine two established imaging technologies with a unique output structure to enable a new class of low-noise, high-dynamic- range imaging. While interline transfer CCDs combine superior image quality and uniformity with a highly efficient electronic shutter, this technology is not always ideal for very low-light imaging because of the overall noise floor of its outputs. Conversely, EMCCD image sensors excel at low-noise imaging, but historically have been available only as low-resolution devices with limited dynamic range. Combining these technologies allows the low-noise architecture of EMCCD to be extended to multi-megapixel resolution image sensors for the first time, and an innovative output design allows both standard CCD (low gain) and EMCCD (high gain) outputs to be utilized for a single image capture—extending scene detection from sunlight to starlight in a single image.

The KAE 08151 is sampling today in monochrome and Bayer color configurations in a CPGA-155 package, with samples incorporating an integrated TEC available in the first quarter of 2017. The KAE 02150, already in production, is now sampling in a CPGA-143 package that incorporates an integrated TEC. All package options are RoHS-compliant. Both devices will be demonstrated in ON Semiconductor’s booth (1C32) at the 2016 VISION trade fair, held November 8–10 in Stuttgart, Germany.



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