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Signal-to-Noise Ratio Improvement of EMCCD Cameras

Authors: Wen W. Zhang, Qian Chen, Bei B. Zhou, Wei J. He


Over the past years, the EMCCD has had a profound influence on photon starved imaging applications relying on its unique multiplication register based on the impact ionization effect in the silicon. High signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) means high image quality. Thus, SNR improvement is important for the EMCCD. This work analyzes the SNR performance of an EMCCD with gain off and on. In each mode, simplified SNR models are established for different integration times. The SNR curves are divided into readout noise (or CIC) region and shot noise region by integration time. Theoretical SNR values comparing long frame integration and frame adding in each region are presented and discussed to figure out which method is more effective. In order to further improve the SNR performance, pixel binning is introduced into the EMCCD. The results show that pixel binning does obviously improve the SNR performance, but at the expensive of the spatial resolution.

Keywords: EMCCD, SNR improvement, pixel binning

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