Low Light Imaging using ICCD cameras

In low light conditions intensified CCD (ICCD) cameras are proven their superiority

Scientific ICCD cameras from Stanford Computer Optics are an superior solution for low light imaging applications. Especially the extremely high signal gain of up 10^6 by the image intensifier enables good image qualities and high signal to noise ratio even at challenging applications as the low light imaging.

Low light conditions are defined as situations when the ambient light flux is below 1 lux roughly comparable to the illumination of the earth surface at full moon. Low light imaging is also referred to night vision imaging or night vision camera since first applications of this technique was the improvement of human night vision capability. However over the last decades the low light imaging was applied in many fields of science like astronomy, fluorescence- or luminescence-applications.

A ideal detector for low light imaging has a large numerical aperture, a high quantum efficiency and a signal amplification to detect as many photons as possible emitted by the object. These properties combined with a low read out noise assures a high signal to noise ratio. Furthermore user are looking for high resolution, high dynamic range, high repetition Rate and good usability.

There are multiple solutions to achieve these requirements. On the market are basically two competing techniques which provide different solutions for low light imaging. On the one hand electron multiplying (EMCCD) cameras and on the other intensified (ICCD) cameras. EMCCD reason their use in low light imaging applications with a high quantum efficiency of up to 92%. However the signal amplification takes place on the CCD chip and therefore the camera need to be cooled to reach high signal to noise ratios. As opposed to this the signal amplification in ICCD cameras take place in the image intensifier in front of the CCD chip. Therefore the ICCD cameras reach high signal to noise ratios even without active cooling. For more information read the technique comparison of EMCCD vs. ICCD cameras.

Our intensified CCD cameras 4 Quik E and 4 Picos meet the requirements of low light imaging due to the high signal amplification, high signal to noise ratio, high resolution and high dynamic range. Furthermore good signal to noise ratios can be achieved at long exposure times even without cooling the camera. Our user friendly ICCD cameras are appreciated by numerous researcher and developer in various fields with low light conditions down to an ambient light flux of nanolux.