Part of the Oxford Instruments Group

Tools for Plasma Imaging and Spectroscopy

Andor’s portfolio of intensified sCMOS, EMCCD and sCMOS cameras provide a wide range of high sensitivity, fast detection solutions for the plasma diagnostics research community. These detectors are optimised especially for applications in the field of plasma diagnostics such as Thompson Scattering, Time Resolved Plasma Imaging, Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) and Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES). Andor’s range of detectors excel at studying the temporal, spatial and chemical behaviour of fast transient plasmas with time accuracy down to the nanosecond.

Plasma Imaging & Spectroscopy Techniques

Fast Transient Plasma Imaging

Time resolved plasma imaging is the capturing of the evolution of a plasma, often on the nanosecond time scale, in order capture spatial information on plasma evolution over time. Time resolved plasma imaging is often used to capture the evolution of repetitively produced plasmas temporally to study the evolution of plasma dynamics over time e.g. in the instance of some plasmas produced via laser ablation or radio frequency plasmas.

Time resolved plasma imaging is also often used to capture single images of plasma formation when studying the coupling of capacitive/inductive power sources to ionised gas to study the plasma streamer dynamics. Additionally, plasma imaging is important in the understanding of plasmas in the fields of fusion, thin film deposition, micro-electronics, material characterisation, surface treatments and fundamental physics.

Andor offers a comprehensive portfolio of fast, low noise, time resolved gated cameras are ideally suited to provide high temporal and spatial information in order to accurately reconstruct the behaviour of transient plasmas over multiple excitation cycles (Radio-Frequency, Inductively-Coupled, Laser-induced).

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Thomson Scattering

Thomson scattering is the scattering of photons by free electrons in an ionized gas. Since the number density of scattered photons and their spectral distribution is directly related to important plasma properties such as ne (electron density) and Te (electron temperature), it is one of the most prominent techniques in plasma diagnostics for understanding the characteristics of specific plasmas.

Using a combination of Andor nanosecond gated CCD/sCMOS cameras and high resolution spectrographs enable the accurate resolution of spectral features used to measure ne and Te with the highest precision.

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Laser Induced Fluorescence

Laser induced fluorescence or LIF is a long-established technique for diagnosis of the makeup and characteristics of plasmas. The presence and concentration of a species may be determined from its characteristic fluorescence when it is excited by a laser source. Typically, a laser excitation wavelength is chosen that is well matched to an optical absorption transition of the species, and a narrow band filter is used to select the fluorescence in the region of characteristic wavelengths associated only with that species whilst rejecting background. Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence or PLIF is a variant of the LIF technique which confines the excitation illumination to a well-defined sheet (or thin plane) within the plasma thus enabling the acquisition of spatial information on the concentrations of the species.

In choosing cameras for LIF/PLIF applications its important to be able measure at high frame rates (>10 Hz) with high sensitivity using short temporal windows of a few 100’s of nanoseconds. Additionally, the ability to take two dual frame images with a minimal interframe time to enable the acquisition of a background image to subtract from a LIF image to optimise imaging resolution. High frame rates are required to match the high repetition rate of excitation lasers.

Andor offers intensified CCD cameras and the iStar sCMOS camera specifically for LIF applications. The iStar sCMOS in particular is ideally suited to LIF/PLIF as it is able to operate at up to 50 fps and can also be configured to take two dual images up to 100-300 nanoseconds apart to study plasma dynamics.

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Optical Emission Spectroscopy

Optical Emission Spectroscopy, or OES analysis, is a rapid method for determining the chemical makeup of materials and plasmas. Time-resolved optical emission spectroscopy in addition to time-resolved chemical information also provides key plasma parameter information (e.g. electron temperature, electron density) for fast transient plasma. Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is a type of OES where the elemental information from the sample must be precisely isolated in time from the initial laser irradiation and so-called initial Bremsstrahlung continuum.

Andor offers market leading intensified spectroscopy CCD & sCMOS cameras for time resolved optical emission spectroscopy applications. Andor’s iStar range offers a comprehensive mixture of high spectral rates, low noise and high dynamic range readouts ideal. Additionlly, Andor offers modular spectrographs to offer a comprehensive range of opto-mechanical interfaces, triggering and acquisition setup options to seamlessly integrate into a wide range of spectroscopy setups.

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Benefit from the Best

Andor offers a comprehensive portfolio of camera solutions for plasma studies from fast, high dynamic range, low noise sCMOS cameras, to deep cooled, low noise, imaging and spectroscopy CCD cameras. Additionally, Andor offers a range of highly versatile spectrographs that provide high resolution, high throughput, high modularity, ease of use from the UV to the NIR and SWIR.

Intensified sCMOS Solutions

At the cutting edge of intensified camera development is Andor’s iStar sCMOS camera that combines the excellent time resolution of an image intensifier with the high frame rate, low read noise and high dynamic range of 2D sCMOS sensor technology.

The iStar sCMOS enables researchers to access shot for shot imaging at repetition rates of up to 50 fps whilst providing up to single photon sensitivity and a comprehensive range of intensifiers. Additionally, the iStar sCMOS is capable of rapid dual interframe imaging with a minimum interframe time of 100-300ns. Overall the iStar sCMOS is a versatile tool for the study of plasma dynamics for both fast imaging and spectroscopy applications.

Intensified CCD Solutions

Andor’s iStar CCD series extracts the very best from CCD sensor and image intensifier technologies. Exceptional detection performances are accessed through high quantum-efficiency image intensifiers, thermo-electric cooling to -40ºC, 500 kHz photocathode gating rates and enhanced intensifier EBI noise reduction.

Low jitter, low insertion delay gating electronics and nanosecond-scale optical gating provide excellent timing accuracy down to a few 10’s of picoseconds, allowing ultraprecise synchronization of complex experiments through iStar’s comprehensive range of input/output triggering options.

Spectrographs for UV, NIR & SWIR

Andor offers a range of highly versatile spectrographs that provide high resolution, high throughput, high modularity, ease of use from the UV to the NIR and SWIR, from macro- to nano-scale, with fluxes down to single photon and time-resolution down to nanosecond.

Andor’s spectrograph technology is based on Czerny-Turner, Echelle or Transmission optical designs. 

Plasma Imaging and Spectroscopy Solutions

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