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Standard Configuration

Optimized for High speed and Best SNR

Little Joe cameras are specialized to run scientific CCDs at their maximum speed with the highest possible Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR). At the lowest light levels, CCDs are limited by read noise and at the highest light levels, CCDs are limited by photon noise. Our back-thinned CCDs are selected to have the highest possible Quantum Efficiency (QE) for the wavelengths of interest. This yields the maximum photon-noise-limited SNR by maximizing the number of electrons produced by photons. Our CCDs are also selected to have the lowest possible readnoise to maximize SNR when read noise limited.


CCDs – better than EMCCDs and CMOS

EMCCDs offer low noise at low photon fluxes by using extremely high gain in their serial outputs, which leads to several problems.In high gain mode, EMCCDs suffer degradation in photon noise SNR due to the statistical processes used in the amplification process. This reduces the SNR by the square root of 2. These statistical processes also result in rogue multiplication events (spurious charge), leading to pixel spikes which when digitally eliminated in the camera can result in the elimination of real pixel spikes. The extremely high gain in the output depends on very high clock voltages in the camera. This leads to long-term damage to the sensor and the potential for gain instability.

CMOS sensors can offer low readnoise but have low QE since there is a light-mask over the electronic circuit contained in each pixel. Since the photons are not absorbed uniformly across the sensor, they are unsuitable for wavefront sensing. They also suffer from random noise spikes that are digitally eliminated in the camera and can result in real noise spikes being eliminated. Pixel lenslets can improve QE but make uniformity even worse.

 CCD39 Specifications

• 24 μm x 24 μm pixels 

• 80 x 80 pixel frame size

• Split frame for rapid image transfer

• Image transfer in 7 μs

• 4 ports for rapid image read out

• Integrated Thermoelectric Cooler

• Backthinned, Midband A/R coated for High QE:

> 25% @ 400 nm


> 60% @ 500 nm


> 85% @ 650 nm


> 45% @ 900 nm​​​​​​​​​​


Readout modes


A wide range of frame rates are offered:

 Rate(Hz) Format Binning RON(e-)

   1000   80x80    -      8.0

    625   80x80    -      6.5

    125   80x80    -      3.9

     40   80x80    -      3.2

  10000   80x12    -     12.0

   3000   40x40   2x2    11.0

   5000   28x26   3x3    11.0

   2000   80x80    -     12.0


Nominal frame rates specified. Actual frame rate can be increased to allow synchronization to external trigger. Increasing user-programmable integration time can decrease actual frame rate. Custom frame readout formats and frame rates available based upon available pixel rates and image transfer rates.


Selectable Gains*

   0.5 ADU/e-

   1.6 ADU/e-

   3 ADU/e-

  11 ADU/e-

(*Nominal gains)

  • Time-resolved Fluorescence
  • Neuroscience
  • Genetically Encoded Voltage Indicators (GEVIs)
  • Voltage Sensitive Dyes (VSDs)
  • Cardiovascular Research
  • High Throughput Screening
  • Spinning Disk Confocal
  • Swept Field Confocal
  • Astronomy
  • Wavefront Sensing
  • Shack-Hartmann Sensor
  • Pyramid Sensor
Camera Specifications


CCD Controller

Desktop controller with integrated cooling fan includes the following modules:


  • 5-slot 3U backplane

  • Digital module – includes digital sequencer, flash memory, and CameraLink interface

  • Clock Driver module – drives CCD clocks

  • Service module – provides CCD biases, temperature control and readback

  • 4-Channel Input Module – digitizes CCD video signals. Incorporates 4 14-bit 10 MHz A/D converters

  • Spare slot for future expansion

  • Measures 9.625” x 5.625” x 6.0” (255 x 145 x 150 mm)

  • Weighs 7.5 lb (3.4 kg)


CCD Camera Head

Remote Camera Head includes the following features:


  • Remote from CCD Controller for digital noise immunity

  • Passive cooling - no fan vibration

  • Massive heatsink – easily coupled to thermal sink

  • Integrated Thermoelectric Cooler (TEC) minimizes power

  • Small Camera Head fits more easily on optical bench

  • 3m cable allows flexible positioning of Camera Head

  • ¼-20 mounting holes for secure mounting

  • Measures 4.5” x 4.5” x 3.5” (115 x 115 x 90 mm)

  • Weighs 3.0 lb (1.4 kg)

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