PHOTONIS (formerly Philips Photonics, Galileo and Burle) has set the standard consistently in electron multipliers and related products for more than thirty years. Presently, an extensive R&D program paired with unrivaled knowledge of microchannel plate (MCP) technology persevere in delivering a number of process and product enhancements that surpass the limits of previous technology.
This knowledge is employed to mass-produce MCPs for image intensifier tubes in addition to a range of custom scientific applications. These benefits, in addition to the ability to adhere to product requirements, mean Photonis is the preferred choice.
A microchannel plate (MCP) is an electron multiplier which is used for detecting ultraviolet radiation, charged particles, and X-rays. The output is a two-dimensional electron image with a linear gain of up to 1000 which also maintains the spatial resolution of the original input radiation.
The image can be utilized for exciting a phosphor screen placed near to the output, which produces a visual representation of the radiation pattern. Another option is to read out the electron image by, for example, a fast delay-line anode array or a wedge-and-strip.
Important features of MCPs are:
- Quick response
- Low noise
- High spatial resolution
- High electronic gain
- Ruggedness and small size
- Immunity from magnetic fields
- Low power consumption
Each plate is made up of a variety of tiny glass tubes which have been fused to create a thin disc. To supply parallel electrical connections to all channels, both faces of the disc are metal-coated. With a potential difference (usually 800 to 1400 V) over the plate, and in a vacuum, each channel becomes a continuous dynode electron multiplier, working on the same principle (electron avalanche) as its cousin - the single-channel electron multiplier.
With continued support from ESA, Photonis has developed the first-ever radially-packed, square-pore, X-ray focusing MCP optics and is currently perfecting the technology.
Choices are available for special projects, for example a square-pore square-packed X-ray optic with plates with a thickness of several millimeters, pore sizes between 10 and 100 µm, and formed with metal-coated pore walls or a spherical radius for optimum reflectivity can be developed and provided.
In 1973 the Philips LEP laboratory invented the curved-channel MCP. It was produced in the Photonis factory in Brive in 25 µm pore, 25 mm diameter for some time. It was established as a new way to stop ion feedback at high gain with preserved spatial resolution. The major application was an invention of the Multi-Anode Multi-Array (MAMA) tube by Timothy et al. at the time.
Currently, with the MCP stacks mentioned above, better MCP readout arrangements in the form of fast delay-lines, "wedge & strip" anodes, or Vernier anodes provide equal or increased spatial resolution. As the curved-channel MCPs were extremely challenging and costly to make in large formats they are only utilized for a small amount of MAMA tubes, supplied by their competitors who duplicated the process after the patents expired.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by PHOTONIS Technologies S.A.S.
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