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Photon Force launches neural imaging firmware module with real-time autocorrelation

Photon Force, manufacturer of single photon counting camera and sensor products, has launched a new firmware module for its latest generation of PF32 cameras that features real-time autocorrelation. 

The PF32 Correlator firmware is an optional module which can perform real-time autocorrelation (g(2)) calculations on ultra-high-speed photon counting image data for up to 64 Tau values for all 1,024 camera pixels, and leverages the enhanced computational capacity of the recently launched PF32-USBC cameras.

The module was designed to support diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) and related techniques in applications such as neural imaging, blood flow monitoring, and brain-computer interface research. It is the first of several planned firmware modules for Photon Force's latest generation of PF32 cameras.

“The rate at which our photon counting camera range captures data has frequently been challenging for traditional software tools to manage” said Richard Walker, CEO of Photon Force.  

“Providing a range of firmware modules that move the processing into the camera itself removes data-transfer limitations that prevent faster processing and accelerates the work of our clients.”

According to early alpha site users, including a team at Meta who used the new firmware for a study on increasing sensitivity in diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) instruments, this module enables autocorrelation at sustained frame rates over 20 times higher than could be achieved by processing raw camera data using PC-based software. This is achieved by performing the correlation function in the camera’s internal FPGA, eliminating readout bottlenecks and computational loading on the customer’s PC system. 

The g2 autocorrelation function offers real-time, hardware-accelerated autocorrelation calculation of photon counting image data for up to 64 Tau values per pixel, and supports user-programmable Tau axis precision and value spacing covering timescales from one to over 38,000 frame periods. 

It also has a user-programmable correlation period from 18-65,535 frames, autocorrelation data delivered for every integration period, support for sensor frame rates up to 500kfps, and wide internal arithmetic datapaths capable of accommodating up to 65,535 photons/pixel/Tint period.

Photon Force supplies the correlator either embedded in new cameras or as an upgrade to existing PF32-USBC Artix-based cameras. The company also offers a custom firmware service where non-standard functionality may be required.


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