Part of the Oxford Instruments Group

iStar Intensified Cameras

Extracting the very best from intensified CCD
and sCMOS imaging sensor technologies.

  iStar sCMOS
  • Superior speed up to 4,000 fps and sps
  • Ultra low noise for high sensitivity
  • NEW Ultrafast spectroscopy and multi-track
  • Ultimate timing accuracy with <2 ns gating
  • Market leading dynamic range at full speed
Request a quote

Nanosecond time-resolved applications

Quantum Physics 

Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles remain connected, even over large distances, so that actions performed on one particle have an effect on the other. Einstein described photon entanglement as "Spooky action at a distance”. Quantum entanglement understanding is the basis of the growing fields of quantum computing and quantum cryptography.


The accurate shuttering capabilities and higher sensitivity of the iStar sCMOS provide high discrimination capabilities for entangled and non-entangled photons.

Request a quote

Plasma Diagnostics

Plasmas can be artificially produced by different means (e.g. laser ablation, coupling of capacitive / inductive power source to ionised gas, …). The understanding of their properties and dynamics is relevant to a number fields such as fusion, thin films deposition, micro-electronics, material characterization, display systems, surface treatment, fundamental physics, environmental & health.

Gated detectors can be used to determine optical parameters from which fundamental plasma properties can be derived. Accurate nanosecond-scale gating of image intensifier-based detectors can be used to sample plasma dynamics, or to isolate the useful plasma information generated by pulsed lasers.

Further reading
Case Study: Thomson Scattering
Case Study: Colliding Plasmas and Stagnation Layers

Request a quote


Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is used to determine the elemental composition of various solids, liquids and gases.  A high power laser pulse is focused on to a sample to create a plasma. Emission from the atoms and ions in the plasma is collected and analysed by a spectrograph and gated detector to determine the elemental composition or the elemental concentrations in the sample.

The gating capabilities of the iStar are used to efficiently shutter the laser, while also isolating the useful atomic information from the initial broadband Bremsstrahlung continuum.

Further Reading
Case Study: Automated 2D elemental mapping by LIBS
Case Study: Stand-off LIBS
Webinar: Basic Principles of LIBS

Request a quote
Elemental images obtained by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy showing the bio-distribution of Iron (Fe), Phosphorous (P) and Gold (Au) in a murine kidney

Flow & Spray Analysis, Combustion Processes

Planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) is one of the primary techniques used in fluid dynamics Research to non-invasively access information on the dynamics and chemistry of heated flows and flames. It is based on a (pulsed) laser with a beam optically shaped into a sheet of light , which then traverses the flow/flame to analyse and excites the fluorescent species crossing the laser beam path. The fluorescence is then imaged onto a gated detector to shutter the unwanted laser pulse.

The iStar sCMOS high frame rates comfortably meets the requirement of Nd:YAG-based PLIF setups running typically at 15 Hz.It also provides excellent dynamic range and sensitivity compared to CCD or Interline-based gated detectors.

The rapid frame-pair acquisition mode suits flow analysis by PLIF-PIV, with the gating capabilities of the iStar sCMOS allowing high unwanted background rejection.

Further Reading
Case Study: Combustion Spectroscopy

Request a quote
Flow Mechanics

Non-Linear Optics 

This broad definition includes techniques such as Sum Frequency Generation (SFG) or second, third of high harmonic generation (SHG, THG and HHG respectively).

The iStar gating capabilities are used to precisely isolate useful signal information while preventing unwanted background.

Further reading
Case Study: Characterization of Ultrashort and VUV Pulses

Request a quote
Interference fringes of Coherent harmonic generation (CHG) radiation from a double-slit experiment

Time-Resolved Luminescence

Pulsed Luminescence / Fluorescence / Photoluminescence / Radioluminescence imaging and spectroscopy techniques are used for a large variety of applications including study of metal complex, organic LEDs, quantum dots, cell dynamics, stand-off chemical compounds detection, scintillators characterization.

Gated detectors are used to shutter the unwanted pulsed excitation source, but also to characterise species luminescence decay.

The gating capabilities and accuracy of the iStar series allow study of luminescence decay behaviours down to the nanosecond range. The iStar photocathode options allow to closely match the luminescence spectral characteristics of the sample for both imaging and spectroscopy studies.

Further reading
Case Study: Fluorescence Lifetimes
Case Study: Laser Induced Fluorescence Spectroscopy

Request a quote
Time-Resolved Luminescence

Options tailored to your needs

The iStar family features a range of high resolution sensors for the sharpest images and spectral signatures acquisition, while maintaining the highest dynamic range.

It uses a fiber-coupling arrangement to the image intensifiers for maximum collection efficiency, unlike lens-coupled configurations that would suffer from lower throughput, image vignetting and distortion.

MODELSiStar CCD 312iStar CCD 320iStar CCD 334iStar CCD 340iStar sCMOS
Pixel Matrix512 x 5121024 x 2561024 x 10242048 x 5122560 x 2160
Pixel size (µm)24261313.56.5
High spatial / spectral resolution--YesYesYes
Fast imaging ratesYes---Yes
Fast spectral ratesYesYesYes-Yes
Narrow-band SpectroscopyYesYesYesYesYes
Simultaneous broadband Spectroscopy-Yes-Yes-
Extended multitrackYes-Yes-Yes

Comprehensive on-board Digital Delay Generator (DDG™)

Latest generation of ultra low-jitter, ultra-low insertion delay electronics for accurate timing and synchronization of sensor, image intensifier gating and external hardware.

  • Gate width and steps setting with 10 ps accuracy
  • 3 triggering outputs adjustable with 10 ps accuracy

State-of-the art gater technology – ultrafast photocathode shuttering

  • True optical gating < 2 ns - accurate transient phenomena study
  • Intelligate™ - MCP gating for increased shuttering efficiency in the UV.
  • 500 kHz sustained photocathode gating - Maximizes signal-to-noise ratio in high repetition rate laser-based applications

The response of an ICCD is governed by the Quantum Efficiency (QE) of the intensifier tube, which is determined by the combination of the input window and the photocathode. The input window usually determines the lower wavelength limit while the photocathode determines the long wavelength response.

Andor iStar integrates the latest generation of market-leading intensifiers with ultrafast response, high resolution and low-noise multi alkali-based Gen 2 and filmless GaAs-based Gen 3 types, gating down to the nanosecond regime, response from VUV (129 nm) to SWIR (1,100 nm) and peak QE up to 50%

Gen 2 photocathodes

Gen 3 photocathodes

PhotocathodeTypeCoveragePeak QE (typ)Min. gating speedRecommendations
-03Gen 2180-850 nm18%<2 nsPlasma imaging, LIBS, transient luminescence and absorption, combustion (LIF/PLIF)
-04Gen 2180-850 nm18%<2 nsP46 phosphor for ultrafast kinetics
-05Gen 2120-850 nm16%<5 nsMgF2 window for VUV spectroscopy
-13Gen 2180-920 nm13.5%<50 nsNIR transient photoluminescence
-63Gen 3280-760 nm48%<2 nsBest sensitivity for VIS transient luminescence, plasma studies and photon counting
-73Gen 3280-910nm26%<2 nsBest NIR sensitivity for VIS-IR transient luminescence, plasma studies and photon counting
-83Gen 2180-850nm25%<100 nsSlow transient studies with maximum UV collection
-93Gen 3180-850 nm4%<3 nsNIR to IR transient photoluminescence
-A3Gen 3280-810nm40%<2 nsBest sensitivity for VIS-NIR transient luminescence, plasma studies and photon counting
-C3Gen 3<200-910 nm17%<3nsBroadband UV-NIR transient luminescence and plasma studies
-E3Gen 2180-850 nm22%<2nsBest compromise between high QE in the UV and ns gating - ideal for LIBS, transient luminescence and absorption, plasma studies, combustion(LIF/PLIF)
Fiber-optic coupling to sensor - maximum throughput Phosphor - conversion of photoelectroncs into green photons Micro Channel Plate (MCP) - photoelectroncs amplification Fast-gated photocatode and substrate

Want more dynamic range?

< PREVIOUS: Get Faster!

Comparative read noise Comparative dynamic range

Want to go faster?

> NEXT: More Dynamic Range!

Sustained full-frame imaging rates (fps) Maximum sustained spectral rates (sps)

* 2x2 binning (13 µm pix.), effective 1.4 MP

Competitor Interline ICCD: 1MP, 12.8 µm pixel size

Competitor emICCD: 1 MP, 13 µm pixel size

Model Selection

 2x2 binning (13 µm pix.), effective 1.4 MP

Customer Publications