Keeping you informed with the latest 
news, research, new products and events.

Is the sCMOS too good to be true?

While the sCMOS technology from Andor, Fairchild, and PCO  may seem too good to be true, it actually isn’t. That's because the advance fits right into the progression of sensor technology in recent years.

There’s a lot of good information on the factors driving the CCD vs. CMOS market at this link.  The short and simple version of recent sensor history is that CMOS performance has generally been worse than CCDs and thus wasn’t heavily used in challenging scientific imaging. CMOS has slowly (more quickly in recent years) creeped up in quality, and in fact, several have entered the life sciences market in the last three years. However, most have had trouble with noise and thus aren’t as sensitive as CCDs.

It seems like these three companies put their heads together to give CMOS that one last push in performance, which was needed to make it a truly usable alternative to CCDs in the highly demand world of scientific imaging. In my time working in this industry I have never heard of three companies working together in this way, and I think it is great that they pushed this technology ahead.

Those of you that aren’t really sure what’s on the inside of your microscope’s camera might be asking why these companies would work together on something like this. The collaboration makes sense because cameras from different companies often (but not always) use exactly the same imaging chips inside. Each company optimizes the camera’s cooling, software, and data connections to the specifications they think are most important for the applications the camera is targeting.

The new sCMOS will compete with one of the more recent image sensor developments – the hybrid CCD/CMOS. This technology was introduced in the last few years and is designed to overcome the drawbacks of each type of sensor. The collaborating companies say that the new CMOS technology is less complex and less expensive to manufacturer that the hybrid sensors. I haven’t seen the hybrid technology widely available in actual cameras yet.

Since the white paper gives detailed analysis of the sCMOS with EMCCD and interline CCD cameras, here’s a look at how the specs for the new CMOS lined up with a current CMOS cameras on the market.

I’m not sure if the PCO 1200 hs CMOS camera is the best CMOS camera out today, but I know it is finding some life science applications. Some of its highlights are 1280 X 1024 resolution, 12.0 X 12.0 um2 pixel size, 85 e- rms, 27 % peak quantum efficiency. To compare the new sCMOS has 2560(h) x 2160(v) resolution, 6.5 μm pixel size, <>

It’s always exciting to see a new technology like this, especially one that is driven by the scientific market when so often other markets drive image sensor technology. We won’t know the true implications of this new technology until the cameras using it come out next year.

Read the original post on sCMOS here.
More information on this technology at



Microscopy News © 2008 using D'Bluez Theme Designed by Ipiet Supported by Tadpole's Notez Based on FREEmium theme Blogger Templates