TPX3CAM with Cricket image intensifier

ASI TPX3CAM with Photonis Cricket image intensifier.

AMSTERDAM, The NetherlandsPhotonis, expert manufacturer of electro-optic components and Amsterdam Scientific Instruments (ASI) have agreed to an exciting joint venture.

Photonis is a global innovator, developer, and supplier of photo sensor technologies. Photonis has agreed to supply ASI with highly optimized image intensifier for ASI’s ultra-fast optical imaging camera TPX3CAM.

“The TPX3Cam combined with our Photonis Cricket offers single photon imaging with high spatial and time resolution”, says Evert van Gelder, Global director of Sales and Business development. Its fast timing capabilities make it equally suitable for time-of-flight imaging of ions, electrons or neutrons. A truly versatile product.”

The joint efforts of Photonis and ASI is expected to improve the affordability and accessibility of high-quality single photon detectors. The collaboration will benefit researchers from all over the world who wish to image single photons with time sensitive data. TPX3CAM offers time resolution of 1.6 ns, continuous data readout, and can be used as stand-alone detector, or be easily integrated in table-top lab setups or free-electron-laser environments.

To find out more about TPX3CAM please visit

Determination of pharmaceutical compounds using an ASI detector

The group from Prof. Dr. J.P. Abrahams from Leiden University published their research on the determination of organic pharmaceutical compounds using a Timepix quantum area detector developed by ASI. This study has been noted in the research news of International Union of Crystallography on the 26th of February. The following message is adapted from their news item:

Model of ASI detector in an Electron Microscope detector

Model of ASI camera in an electron microscope

Reliable information about the structure of pharmaceutical compounds is important for patient safety, for the development of related drugs and for patenting purposes. However, working out the structures of pharmaceuticals can be tough. The individual molecules can pack together in the solid in different ways to form different polymorphs, and pertinent properties such as stability, bioavailability or how fast they dissolve in the stomach can vary from one polymorph to another. Single crystals (as used in standard X-ray diffraction experiments) therefore might not be representative of the bulk sample, or indeed might not even be available.

Moreover, the compounds themselves can be damaged by the high energy of the X-radiation used. As electrons are less damaging than X-rays by several orders of magnitude, using electron diffraction should be an attractive alternative, particularly when only nanometre-sized crystals are available. Cooling the sample to liquid-nitrogen temperatures (‘cryo-cooling’) can also help to minimize radiation damage, but the compound might change structure on cooling, so the structure that is obtained is not actually that of the material as taken by the patient at room temperature.

A group of scientists from a number of European countries have tackled all aspects of these problems by using low-dose electron diffraction, rotating the sample so that individual nanocrystals are not in the electron beam long enough to be damaged and collecting the diffraction data using a new type of detector developed by CERN [van Genderen et al. (2016), Acta Cryst. A72, doi:10.1107/S2053273315022500]. This new detector combines a high dynamic range with a very high signal-to-noise ratio and sensitivity to single electrons. Radiation damage was reduced so much that cooling the sample was not found to be necessary, allowing the team to study the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine and nicotinic acid (vitamin B3) at room temperature. The data they collected were high enough quality that they could solve the structures of the two compounds using direct methods and software developed for X-ray crystallography.

Based on their experience with these case studies, the authors are planning to improve the design of their experimental setup further, and will also be developing programs specifically designed for handling electron-diffraction data.

ASI is a new partner of the ATTRACT initiative

ASI is a new partner in the ATTRACT project which is a new, open, pan-EU initiative to accelerate the development of these specialist detector and imaging technologies for market – through a process of co-innovation with other labs, SMEs, industry and universities. The aim: to work with scientists, students, entrepreneurs and investors to invent new services and products, and attract new investment to the sector. A pilot effort is already underway at CERN’s Geneva campus, with the aid of Aalto, the leading Finnish university with a world-class reputation for design innovation and management. And at international business school ESADE in Barcelona, Professor Henry Chesbrough – the man who first coined the term ‘open innovation’- is developing a new framework for scaling up this kind of collaboration at scientific establishments.

Seed money would come from the European Union to get the labs, companies and entrepreneurs working together – through an independently managed programme office. After a pilot phase, ATTRACT will grow, working to enlist private and other funding sources with the capital and expertise necessary to bring these new technologies to market more quickly.


  • ATTRACT can deliver breakthrough technologies for global markets. The expertise and inventions at its biggest labs are an unparalleled resource – but need an ecosystem around them for investment, entrepreneurship and innovation. ATTRACT creates a necessary framework for this difficult, high-specification technology to move out of the lab and into the market.
  • ATTRACT can get more value from Europe’s science base. The EU and its member-states have a deep, long-standing investment in these high-end labs. This has already paid off scientifically, but ATTRACT can multiply the returns in new, economic ways.
  • ATTRACT can help strengthen European institutions. ATTRACT partner labs spread across the EU. Working together with local companies and investors, they can create a new, economically powerful ecosystem from north to south, west to east.
  • ATTRACT can engage many more citizens in science and technology – as entrepreneurs, customers, or students. It can strengthen Europe’s talent base.

Please see the ATTRACT overview here.

Medipix 3 now available

From now on we are able to deliver our products with the newest readout chips: Medipix 3. It acts the same as previous version, but aims to go much further with its colour imaging and dead time free operation. The Medipix3 pixel readout architecture seeks to mitigate the effect of charge sharing by summing charge between neighbouring pixels and allocating the sum or hit to the individual pixel with the highest collected charge. This led to a higher accuracy compared to the previous version. Moreover, by using a more advanced CMOS technology, it became possible to integrate two counters on a single small pixel, permitting one image to be taken while the previous one is being read out.

For more information about our products with the new Medipix 3 chips, please contact us.

Image of a wild bee with Medipix 3. By courtesy of Simon Procz, University of Freiburg

Image of a wild bee with Medipix 3. By courtesy of Simon Procz, University of Freiburg