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Visible cameras have been used for a very long time in astronomy, and now, Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) cameras are opening the path to new observations and discoveries. Unlike light at visible wavelengths, infrared light is not blocked by interstellar dust.

Astronomers use SWIR cameras to study the J-band (1.1 – 1.4 µm), H-band (1.5 – 1.8 µm ) and K-band (2.0 – 2.4 µm). One of the major applications of First Light Imaging’s cameras in astronomy is adaptive optics: the active correction loop used to reduce the atmospheric disturbances that cause spatial and temporal distortions.

Whether observations are made in visible or infrared spectra, in Adaptive Optics as well as Exo-planet research, laser communications or ground based observations, the key is to use very sensitive cameras able to achieve a very high frame rate. For applications that require long integration times, cooling is crucial, as it allows to integrate for several minutes.

Astronomy imaging in the SWIR range. Image of Saturn at 50ms exposure with C-RED 2 / Courtesy of JL Gach, First Light Imaging

Astronomy imaging in the visible range. Extreme Adaptive Optics with OCAM²K – image of a pupil with Pyramid wavefront sensor system with a 3.5 kHz binned frame rate and a 0.3e- read-out noise at a gain of 600x. Courtesy of NAOJ / Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics SCExAO.

In the visible range, discover the world’s high speed low light (photon counting) EMCCD cameras OCAM²K and OCAM²S dedicated to advanced adaptive optics wavefront sensing.

Astronomy imaging in the visible range. Image of Mars from the PAPYRUS OA system with OCAM² / Courtesy of PAPYRUS, LAM, ONERA, OHP

For SWIR imaging, discover the world’s high speed low-light e-APD MCT camera C-RED One (sensitive from 0.9 to 2.5µm), as well as C-RED 2, a low-light versatile InGaAs-based camera (sensitive from 0.9 to 1.7 µm) with the highest frame rate on the market. Among our high speed SWIR cameras, the SWaP optimized C-RED 3 has been designed explicitly for industrial applications, such as Free Space Optics (FSO).


In Brief…

First Light Imaging’s cameras, from visible to short wave infrared, offer incredible possibilities in various fields. With high sensitivity, high speed, high resolution, get the maximum performance for your application.