MIRC-X, the 6-telescope beam combination instrument enabling imaging of protoplanetary discs, is now equipped with C-RED One.
MIRC-X combines the light from all six telescopes of the CHARA telescope array, which is an interferometer located on Mount Wilson in California/USA. The CHARA array is worldwide the only optical interferometer that is able to combine the light from 6 telescopes spaced up to 330 meters apart. CHARA and the MIRC-X instrument are ideally suited for imaging stellar surface structures or to image the environment around stars with unprecedented resolution.
The MIRC-X instrument has been built by the University of Exeter (UK) and the University of Michigan (USA) and aims to make the discs around young stars for the first time accessible with 6-telescopes infrared interferometric imaging. These discs constitute the left-over material from the star formation process and provide the stage where planets form. Once planets have formed, they shape the disc environment, for instance by carving out gaps or by stirring up the disc material in warps. MIRC-X will enable astronomers to obtain direct images of these inner disc processes, providing a glimpse on how our own solar system might have looked like 4.6 billion years ago, during its formation phase.
C-RED One uses the SAPHIRA e-APD detector by LEONARDO (formerly SELEX), allowing avalanche amplification and multiplication of electrons. The amplification process reduces the read noise contributions by several orders of magnitudes, enabling MIRC-X to detect the faint starlight associated with young stars and their protoplanetary discs.
First Light team would like to send a huge THANK YOU to the MIRC-X team, for their amazing job and sharing their results !
For more information : http://mircx.skraus.eu
Fig. 1: Image of test fringes obtained with the MIRC-X instrument and C-RED One. Top is the image without gain, equivalent to the one obtained with a classical scientific infrared camera, bottom is the image obtained with C-RED One, showing the spectacular increase of signal to noise ratio when avalanche gain is applied.
Fig. 2: The graph shows the cut of the images in figure 1 cut without gain (top) and with avalanche gain applied (bottom)
Here it is… This is the end of 2 years of (a lot of) hard work, efforts, headaches and commitment from all the team, with wonderful memories all along this adventure.
C-RED One is now a commercial product, and we are really proud of it.
A huge thank you to Horizon 2020 – SME Instrument and the European Union, who helped us make it possible.
We are very proud and happy to have welcomed in our new office, the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, who came to pick up their brand new toy: C-RED One!
We wish you a lot of wonderful work with C-RED One and can’t wait to see wonderful images!
A warm Thank You to all your team!
Check out the latest pictures of C-RED One, and the provisional shell.
The pre-industrial version of the world’s fastest low noise infrared MCT camera is getting ready, videos coming soon!
Here is the first image taken by the detectors received last week: AWESOME!
Our team is now performing tests and making a great job to have our first commercial C-RED One ready very soon.
Hot news: we just received today the 2 sensors integrated in their flex, from our partner. So impressive!
Our R&D Team is thrilled to integrate them in our C-RED One demo camera and can’t wait to perform tests!!
First Light Imaging has signed its first contracts for C-RED One with two prestigious universities. And this is only the beginning!
The C-RED One team has sent the flex to our partner and is now waiting to receive them, with the sensors integrated.
All the tests performed on C-RED One confirm the incredible performances and potential the team expected.
The design of the commercial camera will be available in November.
Discover the poster presented by Timothee Greffe at the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation Poster session on Wednesday 29, June 2016 [9907-86]
Discover the paper presented by Jean-Luc GACH at the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation conference on Wednesday 29, June 2016 [9909-41]
Abstract: First Light Imaging’s C-RED One infrared camera is capable of capturing up to 3500 full frames per second with a subelectron readout noise. This breakthrough has been made possible thanks to the use of an e-APD infrared focal plane array which is a real disruptive technology in imagery…
C-RED One is honoured in “l’Usine Nouvelle“, the French weekly magazine, specialized in Economy and Technologies in the Industry.
The C-RED One team has received the new version of the e-APD sensor from our partner. They have integrated it into the camera, and results are fantastic:
C-RED One offers now new functions and reading modes such as correlated double sample, that were not possible before!
(Photo courtesy of Doug Cody for SPIE)
C-RED One is making the buzz!
First Light Imaging won the Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation 2016, in the “Cameras & Imaging” category, with our incredible infrared camera C-RED One
Click here to read and download the press release in English
Pour lire et télécharger le communiqué de presse en français, cliquez ici
First Light Imaging is so happy to announce that we just won the Prism Award for Photonics 2016 in the Cameras&Imaging category, with our incredible C-RED One camera!
Our tremendous technology made once again the difference and it is amazing to be selected by the world’s Photonics Industry, as the best Photonics Innovation within our category, among so many great applicants!
We are really proud of our C-RED One and of the mutual work of our team!
Stay tuned, other good news coming soon!
First Light Imaging wishes you a Happy New Year 2016!
Discover C-RED up-to-date datasheet !
– Incredible speed: 3500 images per second
– Subelectron read out noise
– Wavelength from 1.3 to 2.5 µm, with possible extension to 0.8 µm
– QE >70% from 1.3 to 2.5 µm
Please find below two new articles about C-RED One and the tremendous e-APD technology, published in the French magazine “CONTROLES ESSAIS MESURES” in November 2015
C-RED One has been selected as a finalist for the 2016 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, in the category of Imaging & Cameras, among several product innovations.
The Prism Awards is a leading international competition, organized by SPIE since 2008 with the sponsorship of Photonics Media.
It honors the best new photonic products on the market (More info on http://photonicsprismaward.com/finalists.aspx)
Winners will be announced during Photonics West 2016 in San Francisco, USA, 17 February 2015.
On October 28th 2015, at the Adaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes international conference held in Lake Arrowhead, USA, First Light Imaging showed for the first time images captured by C-RED. A world record of 3507 images per second full frame with sub-electron readout noise has been achieved, while competitors are more than four times slower.
Using a revolutionary e-APD (Avalanche Photodiodes) sensor which allows noise free signal multiplication, C-RED is now the fastest scientific infrared low noise camera in the world. With its state-of-the-art high-reliability pulse-tube cooler, C-RED is completely autonomous and does not need complex cryogenics instrumentation. Its fully integrated system can operate in extreme environmental conditions and only requires simple electric power supply and water cooling. With its infrared wavelength coverage from 0.8 to 2.5 microns and unprecedented performances, C-RED can make the invisible visible.
C-RED is currently opening a new era in Astronomical, Biomedical, Industry and Defense imagery. Its commercialization is scheduled by 2016.
To read our Press Release, please click on the “download” button here ———————————————————>
First Light Imaging will attend the fourth biennial Adaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes meeting, which will take place from October 26 to 30, 2015 at the UCLA Conference Center in Lake Arrowhead, California, USA.
The conference will gather specialists to review and discuss the latest developments of the ELT’s current design in terms of AO systems, related instruments and science goals. Special attention will be given to key components and innovations, in order to increase the scientific impact of the future ELT’s.
In this context, and among the greatest astronomy and adaptive optics specialists all over the world, C-RED and its breakthrough technology will be presented, and reveal its secrets…
Dr. Philippe FEAUTRIER (First Light Imaging, IPAG) will give a talk on Wednesday Oct 28, 9.40 am
More surprises to come, stay tuned..
First Light Imaging is very proud to be on the cover of LASER FOCUS WORLD for its September 2015 issue!
Discover Jean-Luc Gach and Philippe Feautrier’s very interesting article on e-APD technology, used for C-Red One, the fastest low noise Infrared camera in the world :
Today is a big day: our team has received C-RED One’s sensor, a unique Avalanche Photodiode (e-APD) detector, 320×256 pixels HgCdTe with 24 microns pixel pitch.
Thank you to our partner!
We can’t wait to install it on C-RED’s first prototype and share our first results!
Our engineers have designed and produced the Acquisition Board, which will drive the complete system of C-RED.
Many tests are performed to check the video acquisition, without the sensor at the beginning.
We will obtain final results, and check if adjustments are needed, at the reception of the sensor.
After validating the hydraulic cooling system, and confirming the total lack of leaks and the good heat exchange between C-RED and its environment, it was time to push the limits of our cryostat.
We know now that the mechanic of C-RED is ok to be cooled down.
Our goal is to cool it down to cryogenic temperature using an integrated pulse tube: 70 kelvins (-203 Celsius degrees)
Goal achieved: our first tests with C-RED’s Cryostat show a possible cooling at 50 K (-223°C).
We now look forward to receiving our sensor, and start tests!
The team used a turbomolecular pump and made several tests to create a vacuum in the cryostat, and avoid any leak.
We succeeded and achieved expected secondary vacuum: 1.10¯⁶ (secondary vacuum goes from 1.10¯⁴ to 1.10¯⁷)
This is a huge milestone as it allows us now to check the hydraulic cooling system, and start cryogenic cooling tests.
Concurrently with the mechanical development of C-RED, our team is working hard on developing C-RED’s software, and we have now a prototype version of the soft.
All First Light Imaging’s team is really excited:
After several weeks of conception and design, we have finalized C-RED’s cryostat assembly.
We will start to test it for vacuum and cooling very soon, without sensor, nor thermal load.
These tests will allow us to validate our first mechanical prototype.
320X256 revolutionary Avalanche Photodiode Detector (e-APD)
Wavelength from 1.3 to 2.5 μm
24 μm pixel pitch
Subelectron readout noise
Up to 1750 FPS
16 bits precision A/D converter
80 K Operation, integrated pulse tube cooling
Ultra low latency Cameralink full ® interface
Clock & trigger input/output for synchronous operation.
Custom design available upon request.
F/4 or F/2 Aperture.
Cooled microlens array for wavefront sensing option
The recent discovery of electron initiated avalanche photodiodes (e-APD) using mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) semiconductor materials permitted a significant breakthrough in short wave (1-2.5 µm) infrared imaging. These diodes have an avalanche gain of up to 100 with an excess noise factor near 1, showing that the avalanche process is quasi deterministic. The hybridization of 320×256 e-APD arrays on silicon read-out circuitry permits to build imagers with fast readout rates (in the kHz range) while having at the same time a subelectron readout noise , which is a major improvement compared to previous infrared imaging technologies. The technology used to manufacture e-APDs is similar to the one used for standard HgCdTe diodes with a 100% fill factor, therefore a high quantum efficiency (typically QE=70-75 %) is maintained.
Today First Light Imaging makes this technology available to everybody: C-RED is opening a new era in terms of sensitivity and speed in the SWIR scientific cameras domain.
C-RED is using a unique 320×256 pixels HgCdTe e-APD array with 24 microns pixel pitch. The sensor cutoff wavelength is 2.5 microns and it allows sub-electron readout noise, taking advantage of the e-APD noise-free multiplication gain and non destructive readout ability. C-RED is also capable of multiple regions of interest (ROI) readout allowing faster image rate (10’s of KHz) while maintaining unprecedented subelectron readout noise.
The sensor is placed in a sealed vacuum environment and cooled down to cryogenic temperature (70K) using an integrated pulse tube, with a high reliability (MTBF > 90 000 h) much higher than standard stirling coolers used usually with cooled infrared arrays.
Initially named OCAMIR (from its big sister OCAM), the C-RED Project was born in 2014, from the idea to create the fastest low noise infrared camera in the world.
Designed and produced in France in First Light’s premises, C-RED will revolutionate the world of SWIR cameras with its unprecendented performances, identical to what OCAM² is offering in the visible.
The innovation of the C-RED project is to propose to end-users a revolutionary near-infrared camera that combines incredible frame rates (2000 fps for a 320×256 pixel format) and sub-electron readout noise at the same time by taking advantage of the revolutionary Avalanche Photo Diode (APD) detector technology made of HgCdTe (MCT) photodiodes offering noiseless amplification of the signal by single electron multiplication.
Usually, SWIR cameras are based on InGaAs technology or classical MCT technology. This does not allow to decrease the noise below a certain level (about 10 e for a double readout mode) and only at the expense of very low readout speed. Our innovation is based on the use of the new e-APD MCT technology.
First Light Imaging’s C-RED is the first camera to propose this technology.
The majority of infrared cameras use InGaAs sensors which have the advantage to be used with low cooling (higher temperatures) but are not sensitive after 1.5 µm and have a readout noise several ten times higher than C-RED. Another advantage is for C-RED to propose an embedded cooling system with no maintenance needed; most of existing cooled IR cameras are liquid nitrogen cooled and need to be refilled every 4 to 10 hours.
This means that C-RED is able to detect events that remain literally invisible for them: C-RED will make visible the invisible.
There is no existing solution providing such incredible performances. Infrared e-APD is like EMCCD in the visible, making a real technological breakthrough and permitting unexpected uses of infrared light.