4 Spec E - Software
4 Spec E software suite serves as an all in one solution with the four functional module: camera control, live monitor, image editor and spectroscopy analysis.
Therefore, it provides the perfect tool for ICCD camera operation, data collection, analysis and handling. For more detailed information read technical description, the data sheet or get in contact with our sales offices.
ICCD cameras from Stanford Computer Optics work with their all-in-one-head design and on-board CPU and RISC processor absolute autonomously. However, to give users the outermost benefit of our cutting-edge ICCD design we provide the 4 Spec E software. It is comprising four functional modules: fully remote camera control, live monitor, image editor and a spectroscopic analysis. Therefore, the 4 Spec E software serves as comprehensive high speed ICCD camera operation and data analysis tool.
The remote camera control provides a comfortable remote access to the ICCD camera operation parameters. It enables the configuration of the ultra high speed ICCD camera systems directly on the computer. All parameter of the ICCD cameras are remotely programmable. These parameter include e.g. MCP voltage supply, gating time, video gain, trigger configuration and exposure mode. Any exposure series may easily be programmed and applied to the ICCD camera. For more information read the remote camera control section.
The live monitor gives direct access to the ICCD camera images. It simulates a video monitor on the PC with video streaming of the ICCD camera. The live monitor is designed especially for camera alignment and camera parameter control by the user.
The image editor enables the grabbing, editing and storage of the ultra high speed images. It allows manual or automatic background subtraction and flat-field correction. Furthermore, it provides extensive image editing capabilities and supports many different acquisition features ranging from basic frame adding to complex scan sequences. Any mathematical operation may easily be performed with one or more images as operands. Images can be saved in the img-data format, exported in the bmp- or tif-file format and imported for editing.
The 4 Spec E software is especially designed for spectroscopic applications. Spectroscopy is an major application of ultra high speed ICCD camera systems. For any spectroscopic application 4 Spec E serves as comprehensive spectroscopic analysis tool.
4 Spec E extracts the spectra by user defined regions from the raw image and enables the handling and post-processing of up to 215 individual spectral curves. The post-processing possibilities include upon others background subtraction, calibration, differentiation and mathematical operations of one or more curves as operands. Furthermore, the individual peaks of a spectrum can be identified and peak integrals can be calculated and plotted. Finally, 4 Spec E software enables multiple data presentation options like overlay plots and movies. Therefore, 4 Spec E enables quick and comprehensive evaluation of the collected spectroscopy data. For a detailed describtion read the spectroscopic analysis section.
LabVIEW API (optional)
A LabVIEW API is available optionally to 4 Spec E software. The LV-API is no stand alone solution and uses the 4 Spec E basis. With the LV-API our customers gain full control of the ICCD camera within the LV environment. With the LV-API the ICCD cameras can be integrated easily into experimental setups.
- Fully remote camera control
- Live monitor
- Image editor enable
- Background correction
- Flat-field correction
- Image handling (ROI, binning, rotating)
- Mathematical operations on two images
- Spectroscopy module enables
- Curve extraction
- Curve calibration
- Mathematical operations with several curves
- Peak identification and peak integral
- Data presentation with overlay plots and movies
- LabVIEW API (optional)
What is binning?
The light sensitivity of the pixels of a CCD sensor depends linearly on the pixels surface areas. The larger the surface area the more photons can be collected per unit of time. Many CCD sensor equipped video systems therefore offer the possibility to virtually couple together a certain number of single pixels to increase the effective light sensitivity. On the other hand, as a matter of course, this binning decreases the optical resolution by a factor that equals the number of binned pixels.
The frame rate on its side depends on the maximum pixel clock, i.e. the maximum number of pixels that can be read out, amplified and A/D converted per unit of time. If pixels are binned together, there is a smaller number of effective pixels that must be processed during the read-out, thereby increasing the frame rate. This resolution-reduced frame rate will be higher than the full-resolution frame rate by a factor that typically equals half the number of binned pixels.
What is the flat field correction?
The flat field correction generally compensates for all kinds of vignetting effects. The total vignetting of our ICCD cameras originate from the natural vignetting of the coupling lens and mainly from the optical and mechanical vignetting of the customer supplied objective lens. The total vignetting results in a radial decrease of light intensity throughout the image. Thus, the image of an uniform gray surface will be darker towards the rim and therefore will not be "flat" in intensity.
Our software package provides an automatic flat field correction, that completely compensates for the total vignetting by performing a multiplication on the vignetted image. Because the flat field correction is a multiplicative operation it does not depend on the exposure time as the background subtraction does. For more detailed information about the software capabilities, please see here.
What is the background subtraction?
Even if the shutter is closed the CCD sensors pixels will accumulate electrical charges that originate from the thermal darc current. The darc current varies for the single pixels and also depends on the cameras operating conditions, such as the CCD sensors temperature. Particularely under extreme low light conditions, when long exposure times are applied or a lot of frames are added together, the darc current can amount to a considerable value and it might be desirable to subtract it from the image.
Our software package provides an automatic background subtraction, that subtracts the darc current from the actual image. Because the total value of the darc current image results from the integral of the darc current over the exposure time, the darc current image must be recorded under the same operating conditions and with the same exposure time as the actual image that has to be corrected. For more detailed information about the software capabilities, please see here.