pco.edge 5.5
pco.edge 5.5
scientific CMOS camera
low noise
1.1 electrons
high resolution
2560 x 2160 pixel
high speed
100 fps
high dynamic range
27 000 :1
high quantum efficiency
> 60 %
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
Selectable rolling shutter operation modes of pco.edge cameras.
dual outside in
dual top down
dual inside out
single top down
rolling shutter readout modes - optimized for synchronization of microscopes and scanning applications
All pco.edge sCMOS cameras from the beginning
feature a variety of precise synchronization modes,
which are optimized for advanced microscopy imaging and scanning. The flexible frame and line triggers with very low latency in combination with the
free selectable readout modes can easily be combined to cover every modern microscopy situation
to name a few:
For example, one mode is used in a lightsheet or
SPIM application, the lower right rolling shutter
operational mode “single top down” operation
is convenient to proper synchronize the camera
exposure with the scanner. On the other hand, if
speed is required and a flash like exposure is be
applied the upper left mode “dual outside in” is
used for localization microscopy techniques like
lightsheet microscopy
selective plane imaging microscopy (SPIM)
structured illumination microscopy
localizations microscopy
spinning disk confocal microscopy
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
free of drift
The pco.edge sCMOS cameras feature temperature stabilized Peltier cooling, allowing for continuous operation free of drift phenomena in image
sequences capture. This is achieved by the proper
selection and sophisticated combination of electronics and FPGA algorithms.
As the measurement result shows while running at
full speed of 100 frames/s over 4 hours measuring
time the camera doesn’t show any significant drift
(figure on the right side). This degree of stability
enables long-term measuring series, which should
be quantitatively evaluated and processed. For
example, in PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)
applications, when so-called melting curves must
be measured, the fluorescence in multi-well plates
with different samples is recorded over a longer
time at different sample temperatures. Here all
the images are used for processing, which is only
possible if the offset is stable and the camera is
free of drift.
Mean dark signal drift measurement of a pco.edge camera stabilized
at +5 °C over a 4 hour period record at 100 frames/s
(1 count = 0.5 electron).
reaching emCCD domain
The graph shows the signal-to-noise (SNR) curves of a typical
emCCD camera (gain = 1000) and a pco.edge 5.5 camera vs.
number of photons.
In the past emCCD image sensors featuring on-chip
amplification were developed to detect the lowest level of light. However, amplification, while reducing read
out noise, comes at the expense of dynamic range.
Both features are not possible simultaneously in
emCCD sensors. In addition, the amplification process
generates excess noise, which reduces the effective
quantum efficiency (QEeff) of the emCCD sensor by
the factor of two (e.g. the 90 % QE of a back illuminated emCCD sensor has an QEeff of 45 %). The excess
noise present in emCCDs makes the pco.sCMOS the
sensor of choice at light conditions above 2 photons
per pixel (at 60 % QE, assuming a cooled sensor with
dark current = 0). Furthermore, available emCCD sensors are limited in resolution and frame rate.
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
readout noise in sCMOS
The EMVA 1288 standard explains that in principle
for each pixel in an image sensor the noise behavior
is determined by recording many images and calculating the time dependent variation or deviation of
each pixel from its mean value. This is the determination of the root mean square (rms) value for each
pixel. Since the widely used CCD image sensors
don’t have a separate output stage for each pixel,
the variation of the noise between each pixel is minimal. Therefore, instead of measuring many images,
it is sufficient to measure two images, calculate the
variance for each pixel and average these variances
within the image to obtain an rms value for the image sensor. For CCD image sensors this simplification is a good approximation and has been now for
years to describe the readout noise of image sensors in general.
However, CMOS image sensors, including scientific
CMOS image sensors, feature a different behavior
such that the simplified rms determination with the
averaging across the whole image sensor is not sufficient to describe the noise behavior. The figure top
right shows the result of time series of dark images,
where for each pixel an rms value is calculated along
the time axis and the results are shown in this histogram, showing the readout noise distribution for the
total image sensor. Since two different pixel clocks
are available in turn two curves are provided.
Noise distribution of the rms raw data values (noise filter off) of each
pixel in the dark image of a pco.edge 5.5 at different readout speeds
(slow scan / fast scan).
A valuable characterization of these rms value distributions is the so called median value, which is the
point where 50% of all values are larger and smaller.
For comparison the rms value measured by the simplified EMVA1288 approach is given. For a CCD image sensor these values would be identical, but for
CMOS image sensors they start to diverge. For comparison of different cameras and image sensors both
values can be used. For practical use it should be
considered, that these values are calculated from a
large series of recorded images.
The left figure shows the same fast scan curve of the
pco.edge 5.5 only in a logarithmic y-axis (frequency)
scaling, to emphasize that most of the pixels have an
average readout noise in time that is smaller than 1
electron and there are few pixels (less than 1 % of
the maximum), which have a readout noise of 3 – 6
Noise distribution of the rms raw data values (noise filter off) of
each pixel in the dark image of a pco.edge 5.5 at the fast readout
speed. Graph is identical to figure on the top but in logarithmic
y- axis scaling.
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
superior image quality
The new pco.edge camera (with scientific CMOS
image sensor) features outstanding low read out noise
of 1.1 electrons (e-) med. Even at maximum speed of
100 frames/s at full resolution of 2560 x 2160 pixel
the noise is 1.5 e- med. Moreover the pco.edge provides an excellent homogeneous pixel response to
light (PRNU, photo response non-uniformity) and an
excellent homogeneous dark signal pixel behaviour
(DSNU, dark signal non-uniformity), which is achieved
by a sophisticated electronic circuit technology and
firmware algorithms. The lower figure shows a comparison of a scientific grade CCD and the new
pco.sCMOS image sensor under similar weak illumination conditions. This demonstrates the superiority of pco.sCMOS over CCD with regards to read out
noise and dynamic, without any smear (the vertical
lines in the CCD image).
Dark image comparison with the measured distribution of “hot
blinking” pixels at 5°C of the image sensor. The left image gives a
3D view with the sophisticated “blinker filter” algorithm off and the
right image shows the result with the filter switched on.
The left image was recorded by a scientific CCD camera while the
right image was recorded by a pco.edge under identical conditions.
flexibility and free of latency
User selectable choice of rolling or global shutter mode for exposure provides flexibility for a wide range of applications. The advantages of rolling shutter are high frame rates and low read out noise whereas global shutter
provides snapshot images for fast moving objects. Due to realtime transmission of the image data to the PC,
there is no latency between recording and access or storage of the data.
27 000:1 dynamic range
Due to the excellent low noise and the high fullwell
capacity of the sCMOS image sensor an intra scene
dynamic range of better than 27 000 : 1 is achieved.
A unique architecture of dual column level amplifiers
and dual 11 bit ADCs is designed to maximize dynamic
range and to minimize read out noise simultaneously.
Both ADC values are analyzed and merged into one
high dynamic 16 bit value.
The top image shows an extract of a typical pco.edge recording
of a grey scale with a 1 : 10 000 dynamic in 20 steps. The bottom
image is a plot of the grey values profile along the centered line
through the top image (with gamma 2.2).
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
high resolution
A 5.5 Mpixel resolution in combination with a moderate chip size (21.8 mm diagonal, 6.5 μm pixel pitch)
benefits microscopy applications with low magnification factor and large field of view, thereby reducing
processing times and increasing throughput. The
figure compares the potential of the new field of view
of the pco.edge to the 1.3 Mpixel image resolution
which is widely used in microscopy applications for
scientific cameras.
The two images show in comparison the field of view of a 5.5
Mpixel resolution vs. a 1.3 Mpixel resolution, courtesy of Dr. Stefan
Jakobs, Dept. of NanoBiophotonics, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry
high speed recording and data streaming
The new pco.edge offers in fast mode a frame rate of 100 frames/s (fps) at full resolution of 2560 x 2160 pixel
as a full download stream to the PC. Therefore the recording time is just limited by either the amount of RAM
in the PC or, in case of a RAID system, by the capacity and number of hard disks. As in many CMOS based
cameras the frame rate increases significantly if smaller regions of interest (ROI) are used. The reduction of the
image area works as well in favour of the frame rate of CCD sensors, but here unwanted regions still need to be
read out at the expense of the total readout speed. The typical frame rate for a 1.3 Mpixel scientific CCD camera
(6 e- read out noise) is 10 fps. The new pco.edge camera provides at 1.3 Mpixel resolution (< 2 e- read out noise)
a frame rate of 210 fps in comparison.
Resolution 640 x 480 pixel @ 400 frames/s (color version)
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
technical data
image sensor
type of sensor
image sensor
resolution (h x v)
pixel size (h x v)
sensor format / diagonal
shutter modes
fullwell capacity
readout noise
scientific CMOS (sCMOS)
2560 x 2160 pixel
6.5 µm x 6.5 µm
16.6 mm x 14.0 mm / 21.8 mm
rolling shutter (RS)
with free selectable readouts,
global/snapshot shutter (GS),
global reset - rolling readout
76.9 lp/mm (theoretical)
30 000 e1.1med /1.5rms e- @ RS, slow scan
1.5med /1.7rms e- @ RS, fast scan
frame rate2
@ full resolution
exposure / shutter time
dynamic range A/D
A/D conversion factor
pixel scan rate
pixel data rate
binning horizontal
binning vertical
region of interest (ROI)
2.2med /2.5rms e- @ GS, fast scan
dynamic range
quantum efficiency
spectral range
dark current
27 000 : 1 (88.6 dB) RS, slow scan
> 60 %
370 nm .. 1100 nm
2 e-/pixel/s RS @ 5 °C
3 e-/pixel/s GS @ 5 °C
< 1 e- rms
< 0.5 %
1 : 10 000
anti blooming factor
non linearity
cooling method
trigger input signals
trigger output signals
data interface
time stamp
2560 x 2160
1920 x 1080
1600 x 1200
1280 x 1024
640 x 480
320 x 240
< 1 % (range of 5 .. 90 % signal)
+ 5 °C stabilized, peltier with
forced air (fan) / water cooling
frame trigger, sequence trigger,
programmable input
(SMA connectors)
exposure, busy, line,
programmable output
(SMA connectors)
Camera Link Full (10 taps, 85 MHz)
in image (1 µs resolution)
frame rate table
100 fps @ RS, fast scan
50 fps @ GS, fast scan
500 µs .. 2 s RS
10 µs .. 100 ms GS
2, 3
16 bit
0.46 e-/count
286.0 MHz fast scan
95.3 MHz slow scan
572.0 Mpixel/s
190.7 Mpixel/s
x1, x2, x4
x1, x2, x4
horizontal: steps of 160 pixels
vertical: steps of 2 pixels
fast scan
100.9 fps
201.8 fps
181.1 fps
212.1 fps
450.4 fps
893.4 fps
50.3 fps
100.0 fps
90.1 fps
105.4 fps
222.4 fps
436.0 fps
slow scan
33.6 fps
67.3 fps
60.4 fps
70.7 fps
150.1 fps
297.8 fps
power supply
power consumption
operating temperature
operating humidity range
storage temperature
12 .. 24 VDC (+/- 10 %)
20 W max. (typ. 10 W @ 20 °C)
700 g
+ 10 °C .. + 40 °C
10 % .. 80 % (non-condensing)
- 10 °C .. + 60 °C
optical interface
CE / FCC certified
F-mount & C-mount
1 The readout noise values are given as median (med) and root mean square (rms) values, due to the
different noise models, which can be used for evaluation.
2 Visually lossless compression / decompression for data transfer in fast scan mode and horizontal
resolution greater than 1920 pixel (due to Camera Link limitations).
3 The high dynamic signal is simultaneously converted at high and low gain by two 11 bit A/D converters
and the two 11 bit values are sophistically merged into one 16 bit value.
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
technical data
quantum efficiency
F-mount and C-mount lens changeable adapter.
All dimensions are given in millimeter.
camera views
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
technical data
Camware is provided for camera control, image
acquisition and archiving of images in various file
formats (WindowsXP, 7, 8 and later). A free software
development kit (SDK) including a dynamic link library,
for user customization, integration on PC platforms
is available. Drivers for popular third party software
packages are also available. (www.pco.de)
monochrome & color versions available; custom made
versions (e.g. water cooling, deep cooled,...)
Water cooling unit Aquamatic II
for use with pco.edge cameras.
third party integrations
software drivers
pco.edge 5.5 | scientific CMOS camera
life science
physical science
life science
A widefield (right) and a GSDIM superresolution (left) microscopy image of tubulin
fibers obtained with a pco.edge, courtesy
of Leica Microsystems, Germany
Seed particle PIV image of an wind tunnel
experiment (false color rendering) to
improve the aerodynamics of a racing car,
courtesy of ILA GmbH & Toyota Motorsport,
Zebrafish with two fluorescent labels,
collected with a VisiScope Confocal based
on the Yokogawa CSU-W1 wide head and
a pco.edge camera, courtesy of Visitron
Systems GmbH, Germany
life science
life science
life science
Neuronal network marked with a
fluorophore (false color rendering) and
recorded with a pco.edge.
Extract of a fluorescent slide which was
scanned by a pco.edge camera in a
Pannoramic 250 Flash scanner for digital
pathology, courtesy of 3DHistech, Hungary
An image of a sequence, which was
recorded with a pco.edge at 400 frame/s.
The maximum signal was about 100
photons, courtesy of Prof. Engstler,
University of Würzburg, Germany
application areas
n Widefield microscopy n Fluorescent microscopy n Digital pathology n PALM n STORM n GSDIM
n dSTORM n Superresolution microscopy n Lightsheet microscopy n Selective plane imaging microscopy
(SPIM) n Calcium imaging n FRET n FRAP n 3D structured illumination microscopy n High speed bright
field ratio imaging n High throughput screening n High content screening n Biochip reading n Particle
image velocimetry (PIV) n TIRF n TIRF microscopy / waveguides n Spinning disk confocal microscopy n Live
cell microscopy n 3D metrology n TV / broadcasting n Ophtalmology n Electro physiology n Lucky
astronomy n Photovoltaic inspection
Donaupark 11
93309 Kelheim, Germany
6930 Metroplex Drive
Romulus, Michigan 48174, USA
PCO Imaging Asia Pte.
3 Temasek Ave
Centennial Tower, Level 34
Singapore, 039190
fon +49 (0)9441 2005 50
fax +49 (0)9441 2005 20
[email protected]
fon (248) 276 8820
fax (248) 276 8825
[email protected]
fon +65-6549-7054
fax +65-6549-7001
[email protected]
subject to changes without prior notice | ©PCO AG, Kelheim | pco.edge 5.5 | v1.01
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