Novel Electronic Imaging Detector for Ion Beam Profiling

The analytical instrument market is witnessing rapid progress, and novel applications are being constantly developed.

Around 25 years ago, mass spectrometers were just research tools. Today, mass spectrometers find use in semiconductor manufacturing, medical diagnostics, drug discovery, environmental monitoring and food processing.

These valuable instruments have found use in almost every field. Since new applications are constantly evolving for mass spectrometers, instrument manufacturers have substantially reduced product development cycle time.

Optimizing Ion Beam Optics

Several new tools and materials including modelling software have been developed for facilitating rapid product development. The ion path can be designed and predicted within the mass spectrometer using ion optics modelling software.

However, ion trajectories can be influenced by a number of factors that are not considered in the model. Efficient transportation of ions from the source through the mass filter is crucial for increasing instrument sensitivity.

The traditional method for the alignment of an ion beam includes scanning the beam over an electron multiplier or a Faraday cup, integrating the current and determining the settings at which the highest signal is obtained.

A new imaging tool has been developed that can be used for visualizing the location of an electron, ion, soft X-ray beam or UV photon. By imaging the beam, the instrument designer can ensure all available signal ions are collected.


The electronic imaging detector is based on a microchannel plate phosphor screen combined with a CCD camera with a frame grabber card and software on a personal computer. This device was designed to help the user capture images from the phosphor screen at a rate of 30 fps and store them in a number of formats for manipulation or improvement.

TTL inputs allow event and strobe triggers to be used for synchronization of a camera to an event. The internet capability of the system enables experimenters to synchronize the camera to a particular event and to share real time images.

The electronic imaging detector

The electronic imaging detector

Image Credit: Photonis

Typical Applications

The applications of the electronic imaging detector are:

  • Ion optic model verification
  • Imaging TOF
  • VUV spectroscopy
  • Ion beam profiling
  • High energy physics

Ion beam profile on a test pattern

Ion beam profile on a test pattern

Image Credit: Photonis

Chevron resolution test

Chevron resolution test

Image Credit: Photonis

Random ion pattern

Random ion pattern

Image Credit: Photonis

Ion Beam Images

Images obtained from the ion beam detector are shown below:

Random ion pattern

Random ion pattern

Image Credit: Photonis


It can be concluded that the ion imaging tool produces high quality images of several beam profiles.

The microchannel plate detector offers signal amplification up to 10 million, allowing electron or single ion events to be imaged and stored. Blooming is prevented by variable electronic shutter speed and automatic brightness control. The frame grabber, CCD camera and software enables efficient storage, image capture and manipulation. The TTL event strobe and trigger ensures that frames are collected during the right timeframes.

About Photonis

PHOTONIS is a leader in the innovation and manufacture of ion, electron and photon detection and amplification components that are the critical enabling technology within many analytical instruments.. PHOTONIS is a market leader in image intensifiers, digital low-light cameras, mass spectrometer detectors, nuclear safety, power tubes and custom detection components for physics and space research instruments. Our products are manufactured in several facilities globally, including PHOTONIS France, PHOTONIS Netherlands and our three facilities that comprise PHOTONIS USA.

Our products are award-winning for their innovation and quality. PHOTONIS products can be found on most space telescopes, in many high-energy physics research laboratories, and in night vision goggles around the globe where highly sensitive low light amplification is required. We are also key suppliers to the nuclear industry with our gamma and neutron detectors, and to defense industries globally with digital and portable solutions.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by PHOTONIS Technologies S.A.S.

For more information on this source, please visit PHOTONIS Technologies S.A.S.


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