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Kepler Cooled sCMOS Cameras – KL 400
The Kepler Series from FLI is a giant step forward in throughput, providing faster digitization, higher speed interfaces, and up to 35 channel readout. Sensors currently supported include front and back illuminated sCMOS.
"But one thing became clear to us during the test [of the KL400] at this stay -the course is set for the future. In less than an hour one can record depths which can only be achieved with a CCD over many hours."--Gerald Rhemann
Scientific CMOS Cameras
Kepler releases include the KL400 (also available as TVISB or UV) KL4040, KL2020 cameras, which we offer in our program. They will be followed by the very large area KL6060 camera. Each camera features a high QE, low-noise, high frame-rate cooled sCMOS sensor. The KL400 is one of the most sensitive cameras in existence (1.5 e- read noise, 95% QE). The KL4040 is a high QE front illuminated camera with a generous 52mm imaging diagonal. The Kepler KL2020 is available with either a front or back illuminated sensor. The KL2020 BI has exceptionally high quantum efficiency. The KL2020e supports higher frame rates.
The KL400 are available with front or back illuminated sensors.
The KL400’s back-illuminated sensor has a peak quantum efficiency of 95%, making it one of the most sensitive cameras on the market. The camera can reach video rates at full resolution with as little as 1.6 electrons RMS of noise.
The extremely high bandwidth of Kepler’s USB 3.0 and optional QSFP (fiber) interfaces make it possible to push up speeds on sensors already supported by FLI, such asincreasing the frame rate of the KAI-29052 interline transfer CCD by a factor of 10.
Kepler currently supports up to 35 channel readout, greatly increasing potential throughput, as well as providing support for sensors like the ON Semi KAI-47051 interline transfer CCD.
Kepler KL400 Operational Modes
The KL400's Low Dynamic Range (LDR) mode reads the image once and digitizes it to 12-bits. The user has eight gains to select from in LDR mode. Adjusting the gain affects full well size, dark current growth, and linearity.
The High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode reads the pixels twice, digitizing with different gains. (Unlike CCDs that only read the charge from each pixel once, CMOS sensors can measure the charge multiple times.) The two images are merged to create a 16 bit image with the linearity of a single image, thus allowing an HDR image to show detail in both low-count and high-count areas of an image. Because of the additional read time, the maximum HDR frame rate is half that of the LDR mode.
The Kepler camera also features a Low Dark Current (LDC) options for both LDR and HDR. When used, the LDC option minimizes dark current at the expense of reduced full well capacity. For short exposures where dark current growth is not a problem, LDC is not generally used. Standard modes (not LDC) provide the highest full well capacity and widest dynamic range. On the other hand LDC mode is very useful for imaging dim objects that require very long exposures where dark current growth can be significant.
The following may be useful in making the decision on which mode is most appropriate:
Choose LDR mode for required frame rate greater than 24 FPS (exposures <42 ms).
Choose HDR mode for a dynamic range greater than 0 – 4095 counts
Choose LDC when your exposures are sufficiently long that dark current growth uses a significant percentage of full well capacity. (Also cool sensor to lowest possible operating temp.)
Do not choose LDC for short exposures.
Futher information about the Kepler series and comparsions with other cameras can be found on the original webpage of FLI:
- The official Kepler documentation, including specifications for each camera and sensor available in the Kepler family is available at flicamera.com/kepler/kepler.html.
- An overview of the auxiliary connector on the Kepler cameras and the modes of indication of exposure processes can be accessed on the Connectors Page.
- Kepler Software and the Kepler Camera Manual: http://www.flicamera.com/kepler/keplermanual/Kepler.html
If you have any further questions, please send us an email to kontakt (at) baader-planetarium.de.
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