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[-]Cameras General Considerations
CAM Sensor Format0.016 to 1 Megapixel1 - 5.5 Megapixel0.3 - 12 Megapixel
CAM Pixel Size8 to 24 μm6.5 - 11 µm3.1 - 9 µm
CAM Gain1000 a.u. [1]11000 [1]
CAM QE Quantum Efficiency95% (EM gain significantly reduces QE)< 72 % > 50%
CAM Readout time> 50 fps (> 500 for low pixel EMCCDs) Fast> 100 fps , > 1000 for high speed cams, Very fastUp to 30 fps[5] Relatively slow [1]
CAM Readout NoiseExtraordinarily low (<1 e- rms) [2]Low, but eventually relevant for single-photon application [2][3]Negligible [3]
CAM Spurious Noise / CIC0.005 a.u. [1][4]Usually negligible due to CIC filters [1]0 a.u. [1]
CAM Dark Noise0.001 0.0010.001
CAM EM Noise1.41x with EM gain (effectively halves the QE) [5]-1.6
CAM PriceLess expensive to manufacture than intensified CCDs [10]More expensive compared to CCDs [4]
[-]Camera General Consideration
Binning / Sub-Array

Available for most cameras to increase readout speed, enabling faster frame rates [8]

Binning unaffectes frame rate by sensor but results in higher frame rate transmission to PC [18]

Often available to increase SNR [8]

Available for most cameras to increase readout speed, enabling faster frame rates [8]

Low Light Behavior

High Sensitivity (S/N > 1)
At typically 1-40 photons per px [1]

Outperforms ICCD due to higher QE and lower noise [1]

Ideal for for extremely low light applications ( 40 photons [11]) that require absolute raw senitivity at respectably fast frame rates [5]

Well suited for applications that can afford longer exposure times [6]

Starts to outperform EMCCD and ICCD when the SNR cross-over point is achieved. E.g. over 40 to100 photoelectrons.

Low electronic noise that's nearly one third of most high end interline CCD cameras with nearly 10x the frame rate potential [6]

High Sensitivity (S/N > 1) at typically 1-40 photons per px [1]

Can offer a quantifiable improvement over EMCCD or sCMOS at single-photon levels [7]


Most models switchable to CCD to achieve CCD performance at higher signals [1][9]

Single Photon Sensitive [1][10]

Higher QE may enable the EMCCD to outperform the ICCD [1]

Ideal for combination of high frame rates, sensitivity, dynamic range, and resolution [5][7][12]

Above the cross-over point more suitable than an EMCCD. [16]

Potentially better temporal resolution compared to EMCCD due to higher acquisition frame rates [11][16]

Larger fields of view compared to EMCCD due to larger chip sizes [5][11]

Single Photon Sensitive [4][1]

Nano/picosecond time-resolved gating possible [4]

Can outperform a EMCCD if the Image Intensifier Noise is lower than CIC noise of an un-optimized EMCCD [1]


No nano or picosecond gating (microsecond gating available on some recent interline EMCCD sensors) [4]

Multiplication noise

Limited exposure times [3]

Still relatively new technology for advanced low-light scientific applications

Slighly lower SNR performance compared to EMCCD at low light levels up to a 10-photon crossover [13]

Generally Lower detection limit than CCDs [17]

Light intensity captured per pixel is less for the s CMOS with smaller pixels compared with the EMCCD with larger pixels [13]

Lower QE restricted by photocathode [4]

Improvement of  dynamic range requires operation at higher gains [4]

No CCD mode operation unlike EMCCD [4]

Aging effect due to the poisoning of the photocathode [1]

Typically lower resolution than CCD due to the Image Intensifier [19]


Faster frame rates and/or ultra-sensitivity [9]

Well for low light levels [1]

Single photon counting

(Fluorescence) applications that can afford longer exposure times [6]

Lower noise combined with higher frame rates provide higher quality images with shorter exposure times [6]

Well for low light levels [1]

Nanosecond or picosecond gating [9]

Single photon counting with cooled photocathodes [9]


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