Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

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

Navigating the Maze of Cameras & Sensors for Scientific Applications

e2v's CCD91-72s, which employs a 4.5 x 6.0 cm CCD, will help the European Space Agency's Gaia catalog one billion stars in our galaxy when it's launched in 2011.
Part of the Gaia CCD and Focal Plane Technology Demonstrators program, this back-illuminated, astrometric field demonstrator CCD-complete with flex circuit-in a custom-handling jig.
The SuperWASP-North observatory, part of the Wide Angle Search for Planets project, is located on the island of Santa Cruz de la Palma in the Canary Islands.

By Lee J. Nelson
Contributing Editor

The SuperWASP team is planning follow-up observations of the two new planetary systems with the Hubble Space Telescope (Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.) and the Spitzer Space Telescope (Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.) to more accurately determine the planets' sizes and temperatures and to explore indications of other nearby objects.

KAI-16000 is the latest Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester, N.Y.) Interline Transfer product to leverage the firm's timing and control circuitry. Collecting 16 million pixels at less than 3 fps through two outputs, the sensor is a 4872×3248 array with 7.4 μm square pixels and 35mm optical format. By incorporating features such as progressive scan readout, electronic shutter, low noise, high dynamic range and bloom suppression, KAI-16000 allows camera manufacturers to improve system throughput and utilize a wider field-of-view without sacrificing image quality. KAI-16000 is suited for the machine vision, aerial imaging and security industries. At the heart of two new members of the LYNX line from Imperx Incorporated (Boca Raton, Fla.), it is available in monochrome or color, offering 8-, 10-, or 12-bit pixel data, the later under software control. IPX-16M3-G and IPX-16M3-L digital cameras both tender fully programmable resolution, frame rate and exposure control. An on-board image processing engine, based on an FPGA and a 32-bit RISC microprocessor, supports ROI selection, binning, integration, shutter control, triggering, transfer function correction and temperature monitoring. In ROI mode, image output can reach 29 fps. For I/O control and image data transfer, IPX-16M3-G offers a CameraLink interface while a Gigabit Ethernet connection allows network-controlled installations over IP for IPX-16M3-G. Data acquisition and display, camera configuration and waveform generation tools are built-in. Windows and Linux drivers, SDKs for C++ and Visual Basic and industry-standard software (IO Industries' Video Savant, the Matrox Imaging Library, Media Cybernetics' Image Pro, MVTec Software Halcon National Instruments' LabView) also are available.

e2v Technologies Plc (Chelmsford, Essex, UK) launches AViiVA UM4, a monochrome line scan camera designed for applications that exact high-speed, high-resolution performance. The Ultimate Monochrome series unit extends detailed inspection capability in a multi-camera environment with 8192-pixel resolution, four outputs at 40 MHz each, less than 19,700 lines per second and a dynamic range of 62 dB, even at ultra-high speed. Building on the company's prior expertise, AViiVA UM4 utilizes e2v's CCD sensor technology and­like UM8—features integrated mechanics, rapid heat dissipation and accurate alignment, all of which minimize optics and lighting costs. Furnished with a CameraLink interface, AViiVA UM4 is compatible with most industry-standard frame grabbers. The CommCam GUI facilitates automatic range identification, programming, image storage and firmware uploads. It includes fine gain and offset settings, an 8-to-12 bit output mode, flat field correction and automatic tap balancing.

In 2011, the European Space Agency (ESA; Paris, France) will propel Gaia into space to begin cataloging one billion stars in our Galaxy. Monitoring each target about 70 times over five years, precisely charting their positions, distances, movements, colors and changes in magnitude, Gaia is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial bodies: extra-solar planets, failed stars, known brown dwarfs and tens of thousands of asteroids. In the process, it will generate the largest, most precise 3D map of the Milky Way to date.

To capture that data, ESA had to locate a source for high-performance CCD sensors that could meet the rigors of the mission. On one hand, the CCDs must detect very faint stars; but, at the same time, they will have to cope with extremely bright objects. They also will need to survive the hostile space environment without compromising accuracy or sensitivity.

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