Current in vivo and in vitro microscopies rely on the ability to accurately determine when light is detected by the camera. Modern cameras are often tasked with detecting events on the order of a trillionth of a second and faster. This inherent shutter time is one of the most important parameters when choosing a camera for specific microscopies as it allows for the discerning between different photon emitters. Current cameras rely on a dated cathode tube technology to obtain a high time resolution making their use require bulky cameras. The technology presented here utilizes an all solid state CMOS design to implement ultrafast optical detection with sub-nanosecond resolution. By removing the need for a cathode tube and accompanying electronics this detector will allow for the miniaturization and simplification of these detectors, greatly easing their use.
Details on the Tubeless Design
Traditionally streak cameras have utilize the photoelectric effect and a cathode ray tube to convert the light signal into a stream of electrons. These electrons are passed through a time dependent electric field before being detected, encoding a time signal into their spatial distribution. This technology realizes the same effect in CMOS by ejecting electrons from a photodiode into a buried conductive channel, in the presence of an electric field. By positioning electron sensitive gates along the channel the distribution of the electrons in the channel can be determined by electronically queuing the gates after the incident light. Changes in the applied voltage and gate spacing allow for modularity of the design allowing for varying levels of temporal resolution and dynamic range.
- Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM)
- Laser pulse characterization
- Optical communications
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing and quality assurance
- Biomedical analytical measurements
- All solid state design
- Easily engineered for higher time resolution based on user’s needs