Using the NOCTURN Camera from Photonis for Network Compatible Centralized Surveillance

Surveillance systems safeguard both fixed and mobile assets reliably under various operational and environmental conditions. Cameras are an integral part of the surveillance network. Hence it is essential to have cameras, which provide quality imaging under different lighting conditions along with simple connectivity options.

Although a number of simple and inexpensive internet protocol (IP) cameras are being used widely for this purpose, they fail to provide quality images in low light levels under tactical surveillance situations.

By contrast, several commercial cameras are equipped with near-infrared (NIR) LED technology to enhance the image quality in low light. However, this technology reveals the presence of surveillance system to an enemy reconnaissance team having NIR detection capabilities.

Besides simple connectivity, surveillance systems also need to be less power-consuming. PHOTONIS has introduced the first day-throughnight CMOS camera – Nocturn that offers excellent low light resolution, preventing damage to components under full lighting conditions.

NOCTURN – a Digital CMOS Solution

The key features of Nocturn CMOS camera include the following:

  • USB3 connectivity or Gigabit Ethernet options with 30, 50 or 60Hz frame rates to allow visualization of digital images at <4e- lighting conditions.
  • Full SXGA resolution (1280 x 1024) within a small solid state surveillance camera
  • Standard CS-mount carrying long-range and up-close lens applications
  • SWaP-integrated design with approximately 37mm3 base camera and a 1.8W power consumption
  • Solid-state CMOS sensor technology provides either color or monochrome images and enhances low light imaging
  • Large 9.7 x 9.7µm pixels with microlenses improves quantum efficiency of the sensor
  • 8X zoom function to obtain clear details of the images
  • On-screen display of graphics, text and standard shapes

Simplified network connections are required for tactical environments. Most of the tactical communications systems are provided with encryption technologies for protecting entire IP transmission and data within the transmission.

This ensures safe and secure transmission of critical communications to central command without requiring specialized cables. Figure 1 shows the QE curves of Nocturn CMOS Sensors.

Figure 1. QE curves of Nocturn CMOS Sensors

Nocturn camera is well- suited for surveillance under long range. It can easily detect and amplify the photons using situational lighting conditions without consuming more power.

In comparison with commercial CCD surveillance cameras and low light cameras, Nocturn showed significant detection of long-range objects under quarter-moon lighting conditions. Figure 2 shows the probability of identification comparison of cameras, and the zoom function of Nocturn camera is explained in Figure 3.

Figure 2. 70% Probability of Identification Comparison of Cameras

Figure 3. Zoom function of Nocturn camera


The Nocturn camera is a suitable solution for day through night imaging, irrespective of the mobile or static surveillance application. Small size and low power consumption feature of the CMOS camera provide a large SXGA image for long-range observation purpose.

The camera can be provided with USB3 connectivity or Gigabit Ethernet as per the requirement, for providing simple command communications and additional video output options. It also provides quality images with monochrome imaging or low light color.

About PHOTONIS Technologies

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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