The Satt (Technology Transfer Acceleration Company) Conectus and the German company Optronis GmbH have signed an exclusive license for the worldwide exploitation of the innovative Solid State Streak Camera technology, from the Alsatian laboratory ICube2. The result is the marketing of a new ultra-fast camera, unique in the world according to its designers, which will be dedicated to research and industry. The first model will be offered to researchers and engineers from August 2020.
An ultra-fast camera ("slit scanning", also called "Streak Camera" in English) is a precision technical instrument which makes it possible to analyze phenomena invisible to the human eye and, in the end, to optimize them. This type of camera mainly serves the field of industry, science and research.
If the technology is proven, the models of this type of camera currently on the market have certain limitations. They prove, for many uses, still particularly fragile and bulky, and require a very substantial purchase cost (100 k € on average).
In this context, the new S3C-1 camera offers a new alternative.
A breakthrough innovation
The new S3C-1 camera provides solutions to the constraints of current cameras. “Technically, this is the first architecture of a solid state streak camera (S3C) fully integrated in CMOS 3 technology: the camera no longer requires a mirror rotating at very high speed or vacuum tube amplifier of light, indicate its designers. It is much more compact (a 12 cm cube / existing cameras having the size of a cabinet), lighter (2 kg instead of more than 20 kg) and more robust (perfectly resists shocks or intense light, this which facilitates its use in extreme technological contexts). "
The performance of the S3C-1 camera is first rate and the temporal definition is close to the nanosecond (see technical sheet in appendix). In addition, the S3C-1 camera presents a new functionality: it allows continuous recording, which offers the possibility of making a recording after an event has occurred (very useful for events of which we do not know the exact trigger moment, for example in the field of research and test experiments). The instantaneous image acquisition rate exceeds 1 tera byte / second.
This camera should benefit all industrial players in the pharmaceutical, chemical, defense, nuclear, micromechanics and pulsed laser processes.
An innovation born at the heart of Alsatian public research
The innovative technology of the S3C-1 camera is the result of the scientific excellence of the ICube Laboratory and one of its teams, led by Wilfried Uhring. This laboratory has collaborated for many years with the German company Optronis to refine and perfect this breakthrough technology. In 2011, their research results were recognized by the INSIS 4 Institute of the CNRS.
Advances multiply up to the crucial prototype stage. This is where the Satt Conectus comes in. Caroline Dreyer, its president, recalls the challenge: “after studying the economic potential of this nascent technology, Conectus decided in 2017 to provide the missing boost: invest financially to produce the functional prototype of the sensor, the heart of the camera. S3C-1, thus taking a big step towards industrialization. Optronis, for its part, focused on electronic, software and design developments to design the complete camera. Today the circle has come full circle: we have collectively transformed an invention resulting from academic research work into a truly concrete product on the market. This is our whole reason for being! "
Michel de Mathelin, director of the ICube Laboratory, adds: “the team of heterogeneous systems and microsystems (HMS) of the ICube laboratory has been designing ultra-rapid imaging systems for more than 30 years with the specialty of slit scanning imaging. which is an imaging technique 100 to 1000 times faster than conventional optical imaging. The extreme performance of these systems has been used very often for medical imaging research in the laboratory. The original idea of transposing this imaging technique into CMOS technology appeared in 1999 within the ICube laboratory. This new approach makes it possible to integrate practically all the functions of the high-speed camera in an integrated circuit chip made in a technology similar to that of the photo sensors of smartphones. This makes it a compact, reliable, easy-to-produce and potentially low-cost camera, while offering additional features like anti-glare and post-triggering. 20 years of research were necessary to arrive at the industrial product with performances at the state of the art world. "
Dr. Patrick Summ, CEO of Optronis, concludes: “Optronis, a major player in streak cameras, has set itself the task of developing and industrializing S3C technology. Thanks to the Satt Conectus, we were able to jointly develop this new camera and Optronis was able to position itself to acquire an exclusive operating license on a worldwide scale. We are building on sound foundations because the technology has already been deriscated by Conectus. This camera brings an unprecedented innovation that should appeal to all those working on the study of rapid physical phenomena. Our ambition is to be able to offer this global innovation at an attractive cost. For us, it is fundamental to democratize access to innovation and to allow the greatest number of industrial players to benefit from it. "
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