Balor sCMOS Astronomy Camera

The Balor sCMOS Astronomy Camera is Andor’s very large area sCMOS camera platform for astronomy. The camera features an enhanced FoV 16.9 Megapixel, 70mm diagonal sensor, coupled with fast, low noise readout capability. Balor is ideal for measuring photometric and astrometric variability from milliseconds to tens of seconds timescales.

Balor sCMOS Astronomy CameraThe Balor sCMOS Astronomy Camera highlights include:

– 16.9 Megapixel/70mm sensor: Large sky surveys

– 54 fps full frame: Fast solar dynamics/fast moving objects

– Low read noise: Detect weak signal/small objects

– Extended Dynamic Range: Across range of object brightness/sizes

– Minimal down time: Vacuum longevity and quality, no moisture.

Balor is the largest commercially available sCMOS camera, designed for ‘dynamic astronomy’ applications such as Orbital Debris tracking, Solar Astronomy, Solar System Object detection, Exoplanet Discovery, Atmospheric Studies and Fast Time Resolution Astrophysics. Balor lends itself particularly well to the ‘atmospheric freezing’ techniques of Speckle/Lucky Imaging, enabling resolution enhancement of ground-based astronomy over a much larger field of view than is readily achievable through use of adaptive optics.

The Balor sCMOS Astronomy Camera combines 2.9 e- read noise with an exceptionally fast 18.5 millisecond readout, allowing up to 54fps full frame readout, perfect for studying solar or atmospheric dynamics. The faster readout capability, 2500x faster than CCDs, also renders Balor superb for exoplanet discovery, radically compressing measurement cycle times and allowing more time to instead be spent capturing scarce photons.

The camera is an exception performer in the area of quantitative photometric measurement. Complimented by a linearity of > 99.7%, the large 12 µm pixels offer an 80,000 electron well depth and an on-chip multi-amplifier design means the whole photometric range, from the noise floor up to the saturation limit, can be captured with one image. Such capability is ideal for photometric accuracy of light curve measurement across high dynamic range object fields.

Balor offers both Rolling Shutter and Global (Snapshot) Shutter exposure modes. The latter can be useful for applications where every pixel across the array must carry the same relative exposure timing correlation, relative to an external timestamp.

The Balor sCMOS Astronomy Camera features include:

– 49.5 x 49.2 mm sensor: Very large field of view from 16.9 Megapixel, 12 µm pixel pitch sensor.

– 18.5 millisecond readout: Readout a 4k x 4k sensor 2500x faster than a CCD. Spend time capturing scarce photons instead!

– Up to 54 fps: Unique solution for a range of high time-resolution observing challenges, without compromising noise or FOV.

– Extended Dynamic Range and > 99.7% Linearity: Superb quantitative accuracy across a wide range of magnitudes within a single image.

– Readout noise ~ 2.9 e-: Exceptionally low noise, even at max frame rate, suited to short exposure, low light observational challenges.

– 80 000 e- well depth: High well depth for quantification of bright signals.

– Ultravac: Critical for sustained vacuum integrity and to maintain unequalled cooling and QE performance, year after year.

– CoaXPress as standard: 4 Lane CXP-6 interface enabling the highest frame rates over distances up to 30 m.

– Rolling and Global shutter supported: Maximum exposure and readout flexibility across all applications. Global Shutter for snapshot capture of fast moving/changing events.

– No mechanical shutter: Balor requires no mechanical shutter, thus avoids the downtime associated with shutter replacements

– IRIG-B GPS timestamp: Image GPS timestamp with 10 ns resolution for syncing across multiple instruments and multiple observation sites.

– Fully Enclosed Casing (optional): Reduced thermal bloom from Liquid Cooled Only variant; minimal effect on nearby optics and enclosed environmental temperature.

Specifications for the Balor sCMOS Astronomy Camera include:

– Active Pixels: 128 x 4104

– Sensor Size: 49.5 mm x 49.2 mm (70 mm diagonal)

– Pixel Size: 12 x 12 µm

– Read Noise: 2.9 e- (median)

– Maximum frame rate: 54 fps (full array)

– Maximum Quantum Efficiency: 61%

– Dark current at -30°C: 0.03 e-/pix/sec

– Readout modes: Rolling Shutter

– Pixel well depth: 80,000 e-

– Linearity: > 99.7%

– Photon Response Non-Uniformity (PRNU): < 0.5% (@ half well depth)

– Data range: 16 bit

– Interface: CoaXpress (4 Lane CXP-6)

You can learn more about Balor sCMOS Astronomy Camera here.

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