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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Imaging in Extreme Low Light Conditions

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The industrial and scientific video imaging market faces continuous challenges to capture useable color video in extreme low-light conditions. The introduction of electron-multiplying CCD technology (EMCCD) is an advanced development that creates new color video applications in the bio-science fields of low-light, single-molecule and dynamic-cellular microscopy detection.

Toshiba Imaging has designed an extreme low-light color camera, the IK-1000ME using the EMCCD technology. The reproduction of full color (rather than high resolution) is the characteristic that is most sought after in applications such as non-destructive testing, underwater video, homeland and specialized security. Minimum illumination is measured at 0.00025 lux.

There are two processes the Toshiba camera uses to deliver color images in extreme lowlight conditions. The first process is impact-ionization (internal signal amplification) and the second is to minimize dark current noise. The EMCCD technology amplifies the incoming electron energy by up to 1,000 times. A CCD has dark current and dark current noise caused by temperature variations of the CCD. Consequently, Toshiba also added a Peltier cooling device to keep the CCD at a constant temperature.

The result is a remarkable full color reproduction of an extreme low light scene.

Toshiba America Imaging Systems Division
9740 Irvine Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92618-1697
Phone: (602) 796-7130
Fax: (623) 594-1689
www.cameras.toshiba.com



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