A fast optical camera for nanosecond timestamping of photons.

The TPX3CAM fast optical camera is dedicated to time stamping optical photons. It is based on a new generation of so-called pixel-hybrid silicon sensor which, in combination with the Timepix3 reading ASIC, is suitable for a wide range of applications requiring time-resolved imaging of electrons, ions or single photons.

The TPX3CAM camera can be easily integrated into laboratory equipment, synchrotron-type environments or free electron lasers.

The TPX3CAM is capable of simultaneously imaging and timestamping light pulses of more than 1000 photons with high quantum efficiency in the wavelength range of 400 to 1000 nm. It can efficiently record ions hitting a MCP (Micro Channel Plate) in VMI (Velocity Mapping) configuration. The MCP is coupled to a P47 Fast Phosphor Screen, which produces pulses of light in response to ions striking the MCP. The TPX3CAM, placed outside the vacuum, can detect light pulses on the Phosphor screen. Adapted from Zhao et. al, Review of Scientific Instruments 88, 113104 (2017).

TOF ion mass spectrum of CH2IBr recorded with the TimepixCam, with a previous generation of camera on the FLASH beamline of the German Hamburg Synchrotron. Imaging after strong field ionization with an intense laser pulse and camera images for each peak in the TOF spectrum.
Adapted from M.Fisher-Levine et al, J. Synchrotron Rad. (2018) 25, 336-345.

Ion and electronic imaging

Applications of the TPX3CAM camera include spatial imaging and ion velocity mapping in time-of-flight mass spectroscopy, ion and electron coincidence imaging, and other types of resolution imaging spectroscopy
The TPX3CAM is capable of detecting and timestamping ion strikes with a temporal resolution of 1.6 ns, allowing ion pulse images to be recorded simultaneously for all ion species and to avoid having to configure the detector on a single species. This unique sensor design is simple, flexible and capable of highly differential measurements.

Single-photon imaging

The light intensifier version of the TPX3CAM camera can be sensitive to a single photon. In this configuration, the TPX3CAM is used in combination with an integrated light intensifier on the camera.
Applications include wide time range correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) imaging, phosphorescent imaging lifetime measurement (PLIM), and all applications requiring single-photon imaging with temporal resolution.

Image (a) Lifetime images of beads implanted with different Ir compounds and fluorescent plastics acquired with the TimepixCam.
Image (b) Intensity as a function of time (decay of phosphorescence) for the areas A1-A4 indicated in (a), with mono-exponential regressions at the decay of phosphorescence and with the residuals of the regressions. Adapted from L. M. Hirvonen et al, Rev. Sci. Instrument. 88, 013104 (2017).

Advantages of the TPX3CAM

  • Silicon detector with very high optical sensitivity.
  • Wavelength range: 400-1000 nm.
  • Simultaneous detection for each pixel of time (ToA, Time-of-Arrival) and intensity (ToT, Time-over-Threshold).
  • 1.6 ns temporal resolution, effective frame rate > 500 MHz.
  • Noise-free, data-driven reading at up to 80 Mega-shots/second over 10Gb/s Ethernet.
  • Flexible design of optics outside of vacuum.