Photon transfer (PT) is a popular and essential empirical characterization method employed in the design, operation, characterization, calibration, optimization, specification and application of digital scientific and commercial camera systems. The PT user-friendly technique is based on only two measurements- average signal and rms noise which together produce a multitude of important graphical data products useful for evaluating digital camera systems (most notably CCD and CMOS). PT is applicable to all imaging disciplines. Design and fabrication process engineers developing imagers rely heavily on PT data products in determining discrete performance parameters such as quantum efficiency (QE), quantum yield, read noise, full well, dynamic range, nonlinearity, fixed pattern noise, V/e- conversion gain, dark signal, image, etc. Camera users routinely use the PT technique to determine system level performance parameters to convert relative measurements into absolute electron and photon units, offset correction, flat field and image S/N, ADC quantizing noise, optimum encoding, minimum detectable luminance, operating temperature to remove dark noise , reliability, stability, etc. PT is also the first go/no-go test performed to determine the health of new camera system and/or detector as well as provide a tool for troubleshooting problems. This course will review these aspects and many others offered by PT.
- develop reproducible methods to measure empirical camera or CCD/CMOS imager performance using graphical PT methods to permit objective comparison of camera/sensor alternatives
- describe and create PT products by manipulating the Noise Equation
- calibrate a camera system in both relative and absolute physical units
- assess camera/sensor performance over the full dynamic range to ensure proper operation
- use PT to quantify optimum removal of fixed pattern noise in images to attain the highest S/N possible through flat fielding
- develop intuitive understanding of signal-to-noise image theory & optimization through PT
- discuss practical methods for taking empirical data for the novice and advanced user for generating PT, Modulation and Lux Transfer curves