You only need to read these instructions if you have our high resolution VS60 camera.
See the detailed specifications with the manual for our fast imaging camera.
If you have the high resoltion CCD, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the slim USB CCD, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the FLIR CMOS camera, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the Macro x-ray camera, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the 1-CCD Laue camera, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the 2-CCD Laue camera, you need these instructions instead.
If you have the EMCCD camera, you need these instructions instead.
If you have a standard video camera, you need these instructions instead.

You can download the NeutronOptics software CD for this camera.
These instructions are for Windows-10; for other versions they may be slightly different.

NeutronOptics Fast Imaging Camera

This camera is designed for neutron and x-ray tomography, with high efficiency, low noise and fast read-out using our high resolution VS60 CCD unit for a FOV of up to 250x200 mm. It is also suitable for imaging with hot neutrons from a D-D or D-T generator (2.45MeV or 14MeV). Hot neutrons are much harder to detect than thermal neutrons because they are not captured by nuclei to provide ionising fission fragments, so special PP/ZnS scintillators are needed to produce knock-on protons.

We use the new 1 inch Sony ICX694ALG EXview HAD CCD II to give a resolution of 2750x2200 pixels over an area of 250x200mm (90 µm resolution). Dark current is virtually eliminated by thermo-electric cooling by -35C, and high speed readout noise is low. The total noise count in 300s with the cooled CCD is only ~1c/s/pixel (~300 counts in up to 65,536), resulting in excellent dynamic range. The 180mm long front section can easily be removed to change between different neutron and x-ray scintillators. (Detailed Manual)

 

  • Sensor: 1" Sony EXview HAD CCD II
  • Optics: High resolution f/1.4 1" lens
  • Resolution: 2750 x 2200 pixels
  • High sensitivity: (QE~75%), low smear
  • Dark current: 0.002 e/pix/s @-10 °C
  • Cooling: Regulated Peltier ΔT = -35°C
  • Digital Output: 16-bit 65536 levels
  • Readout Time: ~1s full frame
  • Binning and Region-of-Interest
  • External Trigger: GPIO synchronisation
    (Click on the photos to enlarge them)
Here is a test image on a 100 kW Triga reactor, and on a 120 kV pulsed x-ray source.
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Installing the front-surfaced mirror

  • Place the foot of the mirror against the labelled B4C ledge on the camera back
  • The plastic protected face with its instruction label must be on top
  • Push the top of the mirror into the top labelled B4C holder
  • When the camera assembly is complete, peel off the protective film
  • The front aluminised face is protected by a transparent SiO layer for 95% reflectivity
  • Do not touch or dirty the surface. If necessary, clean gently with window cleaner
  • Use cyanolite glue spots for security, or glue a B4C strip to hold the mirror

    Focussing the Lens

  • Manual focussing must be done with light, not in the neutron beam
  • Place a paper grid over the scintillator plate being careful not to touch it
  • Slide the scintillator front-end box onto the main camera box
  • Open the lens trap at the back of the camera to allow light to enter
  • Connect the CCD cables and loop expose ~0.1s
  • Adjust focus to obtain the sharpest image with light (bottom lock screw)
  • When finished, fully open the lens aperture, remove the focusing grid & close the box
  • Check that it is light-tight for a long exposure. Note that the camera is very sensitive
        and scintillator afterglow can be seen for some minutes after exposure to light
  • For very long exposures, wait several hours for the afterglow to completely disappear

    The CCD unit can be removed after first unscrewing the lens (left) to reveal three M3 bolts (right), which can then be unscrewed. There is no seal between the CCD unit and the box, and no adjustments, so the CCD unit can be easily replaced. Do not touch the exposed surfaces of the CCD or lens, the front of which is protected by a UV filter.

    Installing a Newport Turntable for Tomography


    We recommend the Newport Micro-Controle URS turntables which start at ~€2500, together with the SMC100PP motor controller (~€650) with the SMC-PS80 power supply (~€93) and SMC-USB interface(~€63). The URS150BPP is usually sufficient, but for high loads, the RV120BPP can be used. These turntables use stepper motors for precise relative positioning without encoders.

    You can use an SMC-RC manual remote control and display to rotate the turntable for alignment, and you may need an M-SK-4MA M4 screw kit to assemble the optional mechanical components such as a manual 9204-M Z-elevator, and X-Y translations M-423 with SM-25 Vernier Micrometers.

  • Download SMC100-V2.0.0.3.zip right-click & "extract all", launch Drivers/EasySync.exe
  • Run SMC100 Utility Installer from the V2.0.0.3 folder to manually monitor the turntable
  • Download and install PuTTY This will also install the command-line version called Plink
  • Open a Windows Command Prompt (cmd) as Administrator and check that Plink runs
  • Connect the RS232C socket on the controller to a computer USB socket using SMC-USB
  • Connect the 25 pin Motor socket on the controller to the 15 pin turntable socket
  • Connect the DC-In socket on the controller to the 48V power supply and plug it in
  • In the Windows Device Manager check under Ports (COM) for a USB serial port
  • Note the number of the of this USB serial port eg COM4: this is used in Orient.bat script
         C:\commands.bat | Plink -v -serial COM4 -sercfg 57600,8,n,1,N
         Plink opens COM4 and configures it as required for the controller
  • The Command.bat script is then piped to the port to execute the following commands:
         echo 1PR0.5
         timeout /t 1 /nobreak >nul 2>&1
         taskkill /f /IM Plink.exe
         exit

         Command 1PR0.5 steps motor 1 to Position Relative 0.5o, wait 1s, then kill Plink & exit
  • These *.bat scripts can be kept on disk C:\ Double click Orient.bat to test it
  • The control software ArtemisCapture will execute Orient.bat after each acquisition

    NeutronOptics Fast Imaging Camera Specifications

  • X-ray Scintillator: Interchangeable fast, fine x-ray scintillator
  • Neutron Scintillator: Interchangeable high resolution neutron scintillator
  • Optics: Interchangeable high resolution 25mm f/1.4 low-light lens
  • CCD Sensor: 1 inch Sony ICX694ALG EXview HAD CCD II
  • Chip size: 12.40x9.99 mm, diagonal 16 mm (Type 1")
  • Resolution: 2750x2200 pixels (90 µm resolution over 250x200mm)
  • Pixel Size: 4.54x4.54 µM (larger pixels & micro-lenses collect more light)
  • Binning: from 2x2 to 8x8 (for boosted frame-rate and efficiency)
  • Region-of-Interest: fully variable (for full resolution at higher frame-rate)
  • High sensitivity (QE~75% at 500-600nm), low smear
  • Low dark current: 0.002 electron/pixel/sec @ -10 °C
  • Full well capacity: 20,000 electrons (large dynamic range)
  • A/D Conversion: 16-bit 65536 levels in Flexible Image Transport System
  • LiveView Mode: 8 bit readout mode for faster readout
  • Digitisation Speed: 6-12 MPixels/s
  • Readout Noise: 6 e- at -10°C
  • Interface: USB 2.0 High Speed with 10-20m amplified USB cables
  • Power: Regulated 12v DC 2.5A, to EU, UK, US/Japan, AU/CN standards
  • Minimum Exposure Length: 0.001 seconds
  • Maximum Exposure Length: Unlimited
  • Cooling: Regulated dual fan thermo-electric Peltier with max ΔT = -35°C
  • External Trigger: For synchronisation with sample environment
  • CCD Unit: 120x120mm dimensions, 50mm height, 800g weight
  • SDK: C++, VB Wrapper, .net Wrapper, ImageJ, LabView drivers

    Installing the Driver and Artemis Capture software

  • Browse the CD & launch "SetupArtemisUniversal.exe" or "artemisinstaller.exe"
  • This installs the driver & "ArtemisCapture" to control the camera
  • You can also download and pre-install the Artemis core software & drivers
  • Plug the 12V supply into the camera; the fan should start up
  • Connect the 10m USB extension to the computer, and wait for its driver to be installed
  • Then connect the camera to this cable, or directly to a USB port on your computer
  • The computer should automatically search for and install the driver. Be patient !
  • The Windows Device Manager should now show an ArtemisCCD USB controller
  • Launch ArtemisCapture to control the camera (see next section)
  • If the driver is not found automatically, try manual installation:
    • Click the Windows "Start" button and open "Devices and Printers"
    • Double-click the "Unknown Device", select "Hardware" then "Properties"
    • Click "Change Settings" under the "General" tab
    • Click "Update Driver" under the new "General" tab
    • Choose "Browse for Drivers" on the Product Software CD
    • Select the 32-bit or 64-bit driver from the drivers folder
    • Click "OK" then "Next" then accept and install the camera driver

    Top of the page

    ArtemisCapture with the High Resolution Camera

    Launch ArtemisCapture to display the image and controls. The "File" menu is used to save the last image, the "Camera" menu connects the camera if it is not done automatically, and the "Colour" menu should be set to "Raw". The icons under the menus launch a single exposure or continuous loop exposures. The three remaining icons open the Exposure, Display and Cooler tabs. IMPORTANT: Zoom out to see the green outline of the full CCD.


    Click the image to enlarge it. The white dots are noise for a 30s un-cooled exposure.
    Typically you would set the exposure time and click "loop" with Display "Auto stretch" on.

    On the "Exposure" tab: (to speed up downloads e.g. when focussing with light)
    • Set the exposure time (s) with BinX=4 and BinY=X for 4x4 binning
    • A delay Dly (s) between exposures in loop mode can be set
    • Check the "Pre" box to reduce the time for noise correction
    Do NOT check the "Pre" box for imaging; longer exposures will show noise spots .
    • Select StartX, StartY, Width, Height as 750, 750, 500, 500 to reduce readout time
    • Use "loop" exposures of ~0.05s, which are sufficient for light (but not neutrons)

    On the "Display" tab:
    • Check the "Auto stretch" option to select the best 8-bits out of the 16-bits.
       Note: scintillator afterglow may be seen for some minutes after exposure to light.
    • "Zoom" (or the central mouse button) zooms the display window

    On the "Cooler" tab:
    • Set the temperature to -20oC to reduce noise when collecting neutron images.
    • If the CCD is cold, click "Warm up" and wait a few minutes before disconnecting.

    If the Artemis Capture window does not open, unplug/replug the power supply to reset.

    Hints on getting Optimal Performance

    • If the image is completely black, reduce the exposure to avoid saturation.
    • The exposure time depends of course on the intensity of your beam
    • 2x2 binning will give x4 the intensity and faster readout, but halve resolution
    • You can also speed up readout by limiting it to a "sub-frame" of the full image
    • The "Display" panel controls what you see, but has no effect on what you collect
    • "Zoom" (and the wheel mouse button) zooms the size of the image display
    • "Auto Stretch" compresses the 16-bit range of intensities to 8-bits for display
    • But usually you will want to select the black and white display limits manually
    • Image display is for guidance. Open the image with ImageJ for measurement
    • The CCD can be cooled to reduce noisy pixels. You can also use ImageJ filters
    • Fogging may occur if you cool below 0>C (the CCD chamber contains a desiccant)
    • The desiccant can be replaced by removing the large screw on the camera shaft

    Cooling becomes particularly important for very long exposures. The images above show a 300s exposure at ambient temperature (22C) (above left) compared to the same exposure after cooling to -6C (above right); only a few isolated hot pixels remain after cooling, and these can easily be removed with the ImageJ Despeckle filter. (Click images to enlarge).

    For high quality images, do NOT check the "Pre" box for fast readout, and do NOT bin. Both will emphasise and smear out hot pixels, and make them more difficult to filter.
    If you measure ONLY background, the display software will also emphasise hot pixels. Top of the page

    Occasional Problems with Camera Operation

    • Be patient. Wait for ArtemisCapture to load and detect the camera
    • ArtemisCapture may already be running. Unplug/replug the camera USB
    • Check there is an ArtemisCCD device in Control_Panel/Devices_and_Printers
    • Check that the services ArtemisHscService, ArtemisHSCServiceMonitor and AtikCamera Register are running in the Services tab of the Task Manager
    • Try deleting the ArtemisCapture.ini file from the C:\Windows folder to reset it
    • Try a different USB port, waiting for the driver to be found and re-installed
    • Shut down the computer, remove the power cable for a few seconds, then reboot
    • If all else fails, try using a different computer
    • Change the 12V 2A camera power supply (standard 2.5/2.1 mm outer/inner plug)
    • Before you attempt to dis-assemble the camera or CCD unit, please email me !
    • The center of the image doesn't correspond to the centre of the window
      because the CCD chip is not centred to better than 0.5mm in its housing

    Image Treatment with ImageJ

    ImageJ is recommended for image analysis. ImageJ will open the 16-bit raw FITS files produced by Artemis Capture, remove noise, modify contrast and other properties, and save them in various formats. More importantly, it will allow you to measure intensity profiles and display your data in ways that will make it more meaningful. For example:

    • The ImageJ "Process/noise/despeckle" filter will remove isolated hot white pixels
    • To correct for barrel distortion install the ImageJ Barrel Distortion macro tool

    A complete ImageJ installation is included on the NeutronOptics software CD under "Extras". Copy the ImageJ folder to your C: disk & launch ImageJ to set defaults and update ImageJ.

    Tomography

    For tomography you can collect a series of images, calling a script to rotate the sample after each image by using camera/sequencer. In this example we take 360 2x2 binned exposures of 4s (with no filter), writing individual files to "MyFile???.FITS" then executing script "orient.vbs" and waiting 5 seconds before starting the next exposure. You can substitute any type of script or application for "orient.vbs". See also ImageJ-for-ASCOM.

    For tomography, a precision sample turntable is needed to rotate the sample in increments of eg 0.5 degree between images. For samples of up to 30 Kg, we recommend the Newport Micro-Controle URS turntables which start at ~€2500, together with the SMC100PP motor controller (~€650) and SMC-PS80 power supply (~€93) and SMC-USB USB interface(~€63). For high loads, the RV120BPP, a smaller version of the RV350BPP used at ILL, is recommended. The Newport turntable is controlled by COM port scripts eg using PuTTY's Plink command. A system file orient.bat is used to pass a file commands.bat to the turntable eg 1PR0.5
    orient.bat:        C:\commands.bat | Plink -v -serial COM4 -sercfg 57600,8,n,1,N
    commands.bat: echo 1PR0.5 , timeout /t 1 , taskkill /f /IM Plink.exe , exit
    Plink opens port COM4 and pipes commands such as 1PR0.5 to 1 Position Relative 0.5o.
    waiting 1s before killing Plink, which will be restarted after the next camera acquisition.

    All our cameras aquire images in 16-bit greyscale FITS format, from which ImageJ can create TIFF stacks of sequential projections. Applications such as MATLAB or OCTOPUS and free applications such as MuhRec, can be used for tomographic reconstruction of a stack of sections from a stack of projections. The ImageJ 3D Viewer can display stacks as texture-based volume renderings, surfaces or orthoslices. But first read one of the free on-line books such as Principles of Computerized Tomographic Imaging and The Scientist Digital Signal Processing.

    ImageJ for ASCOM is also suitable for tomography, Laue diffraction and very low-flux acquisitions. The acquired images are opened directly in ImageJ, and you can easily modify the interface by extending the ImageJ scripts. At the end of each image acquisition, a Windows routine Orient.vbs is launched (if it exists) to eventually re-orient the sample. You can simultaneously acquire images from dual-CCD Laue cameras and stitch them together.

    LabView and Artemis Software Developement Kit (SDK)

    The camera can also be controlled using LabView, National Instruments' graphical programming environment for instrument control. You can download a free time-limited version if you want to control our camera together with other instruments. Excellent LabView on-line tutorials are available, as are a set of simple LabView (*.vi) files to control the high resolution camera. Note that you also need the LabView Vision Developement Module, and you can download a free evaluation version.

    We cannot provide support for LabView, for which you must rely on National Instruments or the NI user group, which has posted example files for Artemis cameras. One of our clients used a simple LabView application to control his sample turntable, and then used the ArtemisCapture/sequencer to call that Labview routine after each image acquisition.

    The Artemis SDK Software Developement Kit contains C++ support and example files to allow you to develope your own camera acquisition code.

    Camera Control and Image Acquisition with Nebulosity

    You can also use the PHD application for simple real-time image capture with the Hi-res camera (without cooling), or the Nebulosity3 application, with either the Atik/Artemis driver or the ASCOM driver. These applications are also available for macintosh systems.

    Sequential Image Stacking with Artemis Infinity

    The Artemis Infinity software, which works for all Atik high resolution cameras, can be installed with Atik core software; it can collect a series of short exposures, adding them together in real time. You can then see how a longer exposure is progressing eg with the 1-CCD Laue camera. Click the images to enlarge them


    • Double-click the top bar to expand/contract the window.
    • If connected, the camera name is shown in green
    • Set the exposure time and binning (to 30s and x4 for the Laue camera).
    • Advanced Settings: Uncheck "Calc.Image Movement" & Check “Long Exposures”
    • Select the "video camera" icon on the top right to enable stacking
    • In the "Image Stacking" dialogue that appears on the left Uncheck "Reject FWHM"
    • The green triangle starts exposures, turning into a white square to stop exposures
    • The "Stack Info" shows the number of images averaged (and the total exposure)
    • The bar at the bottom controls the image display range
    • Check "Auto Range" in the "Image Settings" and eg "FullRangeMinus"
    • Otherwise, drag the vertical markers to bracket the display intensity range
    • Noise is evident because we didn't cool. Set Temperature to 5C in "Cooler Settings"
    • If the camera is being cooled, click "Warm Up" before disconnecting power

      Slightly different manuals are available for our high resolution CCDs our hot neutron camera our "fast" high resolution camera. our 1CCD Laue camera and our advanced imaging camera.