AMBER electron detectors

Our AMBER product range is closely related to LAMBDA. It is a next-generation pixel detector based on Medipix3 technology, primarily aimed at electron microscopy. It is sensitive to individual electrons, with effectively noise-free performance, and it offers a high frame rate of up to 23,000 frames per second (with no readout deadtime) and a small pixel size of 55 µm. It is designed for in-vacuum operation, with different detector sizes and mounting options available. This includes a variant with multiple compact sensors on cables, which can be flexibly positioned inside the microscope. The system is designed for high reliability. To allow synchronisation of the detector with the scan generator, it has external triggering and gating capability, and the software allows multiple ways of controlling the detector (with a GUI and APIs for different languages).

Technical data overview
Pixel size55 µm x 55 µm
Count rate (uncorrected)8 x 107 cts/mm²/s at 10% deviation from linear
Count rate (corrected)up to 2.5 x 108 cts/mm²/s
NoiseEvent counting – effectively noise free
External trigger3.3 V TTL
Software interfaceOpen-source hardware library, TANGO or Python interface

Detector options

We offer a range of detectors with different mounting options:

AMBER 750k – Bottom mounted

AMBER 750k has a detector area of 1536 x 512 pixels of 55 µm size, giving an area of 85 mm x 28 mm. It can be bottom-mounted on a CF 160 mm flange.

AMBER “Hydra” – Side mounted

The “Hydra” system can have up to 4 compact sensors of 256 x 256 pixels (14 mm x 14 mm) connected to a side-mounted flange with cables. This allows flexible positioning of multiple sensors within the microscope, for example to acquire images from different angles.

Sensor Layer

AMBER systems use Silicon as a sensor material. AMBER systems are sensitive to single electrons at 30 keV and above; below this, the protective Al layer on the sensor reduces the detection efficiency. However, sensors with a thinned entrance window for lower-energy electron detection will soon be available.

Control PC and software

All AMBER systems are sold with a control PC with software installed. Different PC options are available, depending on your requirements.

The control software provides a range of options. There is a control library written in C++ which can be integrated into common microscope control systems. This library also has a set of Python bindings. Finally, a GUI is provided for manual control.

To allow synchronisation with the microscope, there is an external trigger input which can be operated in a variety of modes. For example, this can be used to control when each image is taken, or be used as an electronic gate to switch the detector’s sensitivity on and off during image taking.

Applications

AMBER can be used for a wide range of TEM and STEM experiments. Its high speed and sensitivity make it particularly well suited to fast experiments or when working with radiation-sensitive samples, for example in electron diffraction or cryo-EM.