New Options for Low Light Industrial Imaging

by  Michael DeLuca  - 09-21-2016 

Over the past year, the KAE-02150 image sensor—the first device to leverage ON Semiconductor’s Interline Transfer EMCCD technology—has been recognized both as a 2015 Product of the Year by Electronics Products and as a Gold-level winner of the Vision Systems Design 2016 Innovators Award. And while we’re clearly honored by these recognitions, we know that it’s not enough to simply rest on these laurels.  That’s why we’re excited about two new advances that further expand the use of this technology into new products for low light industrial applications.

The first is the newest member of the IT-EMCCD family—the 8-megapixel KAE-08151 image sensor.  Sharing the same sub-electron noise performance and broad dynamic range as the KAE-02150, the KAE‑08151 provides four times the imaging detail of the existing 1080p resolution device.  And with a 4/3 optical format (22.2 mm diagonal) and a 1:1 aspect ratio, the new sensor aligns directly with the imaging path of professional microscopes—making it an ideal match in scientific imaging applications such as high resolution microscopy, as well as in applications such as defense and surveillance.  

A key feature driving the adoption of the KAE-02150 and KAE-08151 in these low-light applications is the extremely low read noise available from this technology—down to below one electron.  But because of this very low noise floor, it’s possible for the actual end performance of these devices to be limited by other noise sources internal to the sensor itself.  The best imaging performance, therefore, comes when the sensor is cooled, a process which helps to suppress these noise sources and unlock the full potential of this technology.

sensor is cooled


While some camera manufacturers are quite skilled at developing cooled cameras, the work involved can be difficult (and expensive).  To help simplify this process, therefore, we are making both the KAE‑02150 and KAE-08151 available in versions that integrate a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) directly into the package design:  

Instead of using an external cooler (that cools the entire package), this integration allows the image sensor die to be cooled directly—reducing both the effort and cost involved in developing an optimized (cooled) camera design for these products, and simplifying the work needed by camera manufacturers to bring cameras using these devices out to market. 

Both the new KAE-08151 as well as this cooled package design will be shown as part of our exhibit at the 2016 VISION Trade Fair, coming up the first week of November in Stuttgart, Germany.  We’ll be using this event to showcase our latest products and advancements for industrial imaging, so be sure to visit our booth (1C32) if you are planning to attend—and see our latest advancements for low-light industrial imaging. 


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