Thursday, May 20, 2021

Hamamatsu Introduces Photon-Number-Resolving Camera

PRNewswire: Hamamatsu Photonics releases a new scientific camera called the ORCA-Quest qCMOS camera, with noise of 0.27 e- rms and a pixel count of 9.4MP.

The ORCA-Quest reduces this photoelectric noise to a level below the signals generated by photons. Hamamatsu believes that this makes the ORCA-Quest the world's first camera to achieve 2D photon-number-resolving measurement, meaning that it accurately measures the number of photons to create an image.

At the heart of the ORCA-Quest camera is a new CMOS 2D image sensor, designed and fabricated using the company's unique in-house technologies. This CMOS sensor combines incredibly low noise of 0.27 e- rms with pixel count of 4096 x 2304, and a high-speed readout. Its other features include aBSI structure, 4.6 µm x 4.6 µm pixel size, reduced crosstalk between pixels, and suppressed variations in the electrical characteristics of each pixel.

ORCA-Quest qCMOS product page shows performance data and also has a whitepaper about the new sensor:


  1. It seems to me that low noise image is more noisy than that of high noise.

  2. Welcome to the club Hamamatsu. Nice product rollout. Although, the Peter Seitz presentation incl. graphics was uncannily similar to presentations I have been making for the past 10 years. I am taking that as a compliment, thanks.

    1. Hi Eric, the qCMOS of Hamamatsu is very similar to the quanta image sensor. Do you know what's the qCMOS fundamental difference from QIS? Or this qCMOS is essentially a QIS?

    2. Indeed the branded qCMOS is a quanta image sensor (QIS). The sensor appears to have performance similar to the CMOS-QIS published 4 or so years ago at Dartmouth, although our chip had about 20Mpixels organized into 5x4 1Mpix test arrays. qCMOS has to run slow to get the ultra low noise levels and there are a number of quantitative comparisons one could make. In my (biased perhaps) opinion, Gigajot is still years ahead of this product but Hamamatsu and their partner(s) have a big machine and I think this is just the beginning of photon-counting image sensors becoming available for niche markets. I expect the Canon SPAD-QIS work to also emerge at some point although those sensors cannot readily resolve photon number intrinsically, but if they count fast enough it is sort of the same. As Gigajot and also coincidentally Hamamatsu said, practically simultaneously (boy was that weird) it is the dawn of the new era. Of course I have been saying that for 10 years now.

    3. Thanks a lot for your detalied reply. I'm studying QIS but just started.


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