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Focus On series


Browse into our Focus On series of white papers to discover more about our visible or infrared scientific cameras, understand their applications, and identify new ideas for your imaging project !

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FOCUS ON... High speed SWIR laser beam profiling with C-RED cameras

In this paper, we demonstrate high-speed laser beam profiling to study the effect of atmospheric turbulence on a laser beam’s power distribution. Real-time image processing features included in First Light Vision software are used to monitor the laser beam profile.

FOCUS ON... High speed thermography imaging with C-RED 2 Lite

C-RED 2 Lite is a 640 x 512 stabilized SWIR camera running at 600 FPS full frame. Recent experiments have demonstrated that radiometric temperature measurements are possible with this camera. A specific plugin in our First Light Vision software enables to calibrate an imaging system and perform non-contact thermography.

FOCUS ON... Wavefront sensing & adaptive optics with First Light Imaging cameras

Light propagating through the atmosphere is disturbed by turbulences. Real-time correction systems, known as Adaptive Optics loops, use the detected light wavefront and deformable mirrors to compensate for the distortions. They are a key element for astronomical observations and Free-Space Optical communication systems.

FOCUS ON... Drone-based photovoltaic inspection with C-RED 3

First Light Imaging, along with Creative Sight™, Optoprim, and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), has developed an innovative drone-based solution for fast and accurate inspection of photovoltaic plants in operation called LIPI (Laser Induced Photoluminescence Imaging). The project brings the luminescence imaging technology onto a drone and into the field.

FOCUS ON... C-RED 2 Lite: Temperature stabilized SWIR imaging

C-RED 2 Lite is a 640 x 512 stabilized SWIR camera running at 600 FPS full frame. The camera design optimizes temperature management and enables precise sensor stabilization despite environmental fluctuations. This, in turn, opens the door to quantitative applications such as laser beam profiling, hyperspectral imaging, thermography, etc.

FOCUS ON... Development of fluorescent biomarkers with C-RED 2

C-RED 2 is a highly sensitive InGaAs camera which can be cooled down to -40°C for optimal performances, making it a great choice for fluorescence imaging in the NIR-II range. In this note, the performances of the camera to image a new biomarker based on gold nano particles are qualified. The linearity and high sensitivity of the camera enable quantitative fluorescence imaging.


Historically in visible cameras a global shutter architecture was combined to either low readout speed or high noise. In scientific CMOS imaging, low noise was achieved with rolling shutter architectures. The C-BLUE One camera line, from First Light Imaging, overcomes this performance compromise. No need to choose, you can get it all: global shutter, low noise and high speed!

FOCUS ON... C-RED 2 SWIR Extended Range

C-RED 2 ER is a highly sensitive extended short wave infrared (1100-1900 nm or 1300-2200 nm) camera. It is based on a VGA (640x512 pixels) ER-InGaAs detector array and offers framerates up to 600 Hz. This camera is a real breakthrough, as it is the only one with such technology on the market.

FOCUS ON... Monitoring weld deposition in additive manufacturing with C-RED 3

C-RED 3 is a 640 x 512 SWIR camera running at 600 FPS full frame. Developed specifically for industrial applications, it combines high performances with low SWaP (size, weight, power consumption) and low price features. This FOCUS ON… paper highlights the use of C-RED 3 for non-contact monitoring of weld deposition.

FOCUS ON... High speed SWIR hyperspectral imaging with C-RED 3

Hyperspectral imaging combines conventional spectroscopy and imaging to simultaneously gather spectral and spatial information. The sensitivity and speed of the C-RED 3 camera are key assets to optimize the throughput of such systems. A system running at 1200 Hz is designed and tested on standard use cases to demonstrate the feasibility of high-speed hyperspectral imaging. (In collaboration with ATIS 2.0)

FOCUS ON... Free Space Optical Communications with C-RED 3

FSO communications are limited by a series of factors, that can be overcome by using SWIR wavelengths. C-RED 3 is a compact SWIR InGaAs camera particularly well suited to be used in an Adaptive Optics loop for wavefront sensing in a complete Free Space Optical communication system.

FOCUS ON... Understanding C-RED 3: Use cases for uncooled SWIR imaging

Numerous applications of Short Wave Infra-Red (SWIR) imaging require short exposure times, typically below 10 ms. C-RED 3 is an uncooled, compact, and cost-optimized VGA (640x512) InGaAs camera which offers high imaging performances for short exposure time imaging.

FOCUS ON: In vivo NIR-II Small Animal Imaging with C-RED 2

In vivo molecular imaging in pre-clinial animal models is key to a better understanding of physiological mechanisms. To expose the many possibilities offered by our C-RED 2 camera, an experiment in a pre-clinical imaging context was performed to dynamically map the in vivo distribution of IndoCyanine Green (ICG) in a nude mouse.

FOCUS ON: Long exposure times optimization with C-RED 2

Long exposure time in short wave infrared (SWIR) imaging is complex. It allows to detect and image very weak signals, but most of the existing SWIR cameras are confronted to physical limits. C-RED 2 is a SWIR 640x512 InGaAs camera which offers smart parameters tuning possibilities and optimizes the acquisitions for long (over one second) and very long exposure (over one minute).

Characterization of the C-RED 2: a high-frame rate near-infrared camera

Abstract. A wave of precision radial velocity (RV) instruments will open the door to exploring the populations of companions of low-mass stars. The Palomar Radial Velocity Instrument (PARVI) will be optimized to detect RV signals of cool K and M stars with an instrument precision floor of 30 cm∕s. [...] We describe the performance of the PARVI guide camera: a C-RED 2 from First Light Advanced Imagery.

C-RED 2 : Imaging single carbon nanotubes (L.Cognet)

Abstract: Here, we show that the First Light C-RED2 InGaAs camera cooled to -40°C and mounted on a fluorescence microscope is capable of detecting single (6,5) SWCNTs immobilized on a glass slide at 25 frames per second, 125 frames per second and up to 250 frames per second (4ms exposure per frame).

SWIR Fluorescence in Life Sciences

SWIR Fluorescence in Life Sciences: a glimpse on new biomarkers imaging. Living tissues have capability to absorb and scatter photons at different depth, depending on light wavelength. Recently, the shift to higher wavelength fluorescence imaging in Short Wave Infrared (SWIR or NIR II i.e.1000 to 1700nm) region has drawn great attention worldwide.


SCExAO: Directly imaging exoplanets with large ground-based telescopes critically relies on high performance cameras to accurately measure atmospheric turbulence and detect the faint planet signal.

First Light Imaging’s C-RED One is looking at the sky!

MIRC-X, the 6-telescope beam combination instrument developed by the University of Exeter (UK) and the University of Michigan (USA), together with C-RED One, the world’s fastest low noise infrared camerafrom First Light Imaging, are opening new perspectives in Infrared Interferometry for Astronomy.