High performance accessories for high speed imaging

To optimise the performance of high-speed imaging cameras used in scientific applications, Specialised Imaging has developed a range of high performance accessories.

To ensure that data collection is precisely synchronised to a transient process, high-speed cameras typically employ optical triggers.

The Specialised Imaging OT3 optical trigger is battery-driven to make the system portable and isolate its operation from interference from ground loops, noise spiking or brownout. The sensor is a blue enhanced array of twelve diodes that has a spectral response from 300 to 1,300nm. A 700nm cut-off filter has been incorporated to reduce the range from 300 to 700nm so that it is much less likely to saturate from high IR sources, such as clouds. A further benefit of the OT3 is that it can be used as an IR flash as well as a sky-screen detector. Due to the design of the OT3, the sky-screen reference can be artificial (for example, a white board or an LED light array) thus removing any operational dependence on good weather. The OT3 Optical Trigger offers particular benefits for use with ultra high speed cameras on proofing ranges.

High-speed cameras recording transient phenomena require very short exposure times to arrest image motion of, typically, a few nanoseconds' duration. The overall time window during which the image capture occurs will be from a few hundred microseconds to a few milliseconds, so short duration high-intensity illumination sources are required. For this purpose Specialised Imaging offers two high-power xenon flash units that provide a small concentrated high-intensity beam.

Specialised Imaging offers several very high intensity flash sources. The AD500 is a short-duration flash source suitable for scientific and industrial processes that occur over short periods, complete with four controllable high-intensity-flash lights. This high performance flash source can be precisely synchronised to match the time frame of an event being recorded.

Specialised Imaging flash units operate on the principle that electrical energy is stored in large capacitors and released on command into a specially designed flash tube, creating a high-energy luminous discharge. The flash tubes in these sources use xenon, which, unlike some other gases, produces a spectral output that has energies at virtually all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, making it suitable for both film and solid-state sensors. The lifetime of the flash tubes in Specialised Imaging units is thousands of hours, so they rarely need replacing.

Requiring just a small power source to produce the necessary levels of illumination, Specialised Imaging flash units are inexpensive to run because they use very little energy. They also produce negligible amounts of heat because the illumination results from the excitation of gas molecules. The luminous intensity is much higher than that of conventional tungsten lighting, enabling the illumination to be concentrated onto much smaller areas of interest.

To provide a stable platform for high speed cameras to operate from - Specialised Imaging also offers camera supports. Combining superb torsional rigidity and support strength the Specialised Imaging QST-PHD camera tripod and TP HD2 pedestal stand both use a rack and pinion driven centre column to enable vertical height adjustments of cameras by up to 46 cm. Strong, thick walled anodised tubular construction guarantees years of reliable stable performance from these camera supports.

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