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Xenics has released the Cougar-640, a high-performance InGaAs camera for extreme low light imaging applications in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) range. LN2 cooling reduces dark current. The Cougar's spectral response covers 0.9 to 1.7μm at a high resolution of 640 x 512 pixels.

The Cougar camera incorporates an in-house designed InGaAs detector XFPA-1.7-640-LN2 featuring 640 x 512 pixels at a pixel pitch of 20μm and full 24-bit ADC. The detector is optimised for 77K liquid nitrogen (LN2) cooling and is based on an SFD (Source Follower per Detector) read-out topology to achieve ultra low noise levels. Pixel operability is >98 per cent.

The Cougar camera offers extremely low dark current specification of less than 10e- per pixel which allows integration times of several hours. Together with the Read While Integrate (RWI) feature, the Cougar is perfectly suited to extremely low light applications such as photoluminescence measurements in semiconductor manufacturing and failure analysis, Raman spectroscopy or astronomy. Exposure time reaches from 5.6μs up to several hours. A non-destructive read-out mode simplifies operation when long integration times are used.

The camera features a maximum full frame rate of 1.42Hz. The frame rate can be increased when a smaller region of interest is selected through the windowing mode. Window size can be arbitrarily defined from 2 x 4 upward. Read-out mode is Integrate Then Read (cooled or uncooled) or Read While Integrate (77K cooled).

The Cougar setup consists of two modules: a Dewar (178 x 93 x 207mm) containing the LN2-cooled InGaAs sensor, and a separate housing for the control and read-out circuitry (40 x 100 x 130mm). Camera interfacing is provided via standard Camera Link interface for ease of integration.

Xenics has also released the Bobcat-640, a small (55 x 55 x 67mm, Camera Link or 55 x 55 x 85mm, GigE Vision) SWIR camera. The camera is ideal for machine vision and high temperature process control, as well as scientific uses.