Phosphor coatings onto components for enhanced performance

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Custom Sensor Coatings

An Introduction to Custom Sensor Coatings

Conventional light-sensing silicon devices are predominantly red sensitive, peaking at around 800nm.

In order to be more compatible with the sensitivity range of the human eye, it is common for such devices to have this fundamental property of silicon altered by processing to make the devices more sensitive in the green and blue.

However, further processing to make silicon more sensitive to other wavelength regions such as in the ultra violet (UV) and into near infra-red (NIR) are traditionally expensive: the base silicon requires extensive reprocessing and complex electronics as in back-thinning techniques.

There are alternative materials such as InGaAs and alternative techniques such as streak cameras which give sensitivity into IR in particular.  However, these are extremely expensive and, in the case of streak cameras, are fragile, suffer from image lag and do not provide the specific performance required by many applications.

Scintacor has long experience in the development of wavelength shifting coatings.  These coatings are excited in the UV or IR, where the standard silicon device is relatively insensitive, and emit in or near the visible where the device is more sensitive.  The combination of film and device has an extended range of response vs. wavelength without any additional silicon processing.

Scintacor has long experience in developing and manufacturing custom coatings for a wide range of applications.  By selecting a suitable phosphor, Scintacor can extend the detecting range of a standard silicon detector into the UV or IR regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

UV – As with many of Scintacor’s product ranges, performance enhancement is gained by ensuring that the device is designed for the task at hand at a cost-effective price.  Thus, while conventional back-thinned & Lumogen systems offer a general solution in UV, Scintacor ensure maximum performance with increased lifetime by utilising the wide range of materials available.  

IR – As with the UV range of phosphors, Scintacor’s IR products are specifically targetted at discrete wavelengths allowing concentration on performance for the application. Further, unlike streak cameras, using Scintacor’s VisIR range at 1.55um for example provides a robust, compact & real- time imaging system without image lag or decay and elimination of expensive and “consumable” tube components.

wavelengths – Scintacor has the capability to provide coatings which will address X-rays, neutrons, electrons and other radiation types.  However, the most common applications of the direct coating technology are in UV and NIR.  Scintacor has control over a wide variety of parameters in constructing such coatings – principally excitation spectrum, emission spectrum, resolution and noise characteristics and decay parameters. 

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UV Applications

Laser profiling, UV spectroscopy (including spark analysis of metals), general UV measurement and detection

IR Applications

Laser profiling, optic fibre checking and spectyroscopy, telecom device manufacture control, machine vision and general IR detection.

A phosphor is a material that luminesces when exposed to a stimulating radiation.  Often there is a matrix, for example ZnS and an activator.  Examples of activators are silver in ZnS:Ag or copper in ZnS:Cu.  The activator concentration in the matrix can be less than 0.01% in some systems up to well over several percent in others.  The properties of the luminescence depend strongly on the activator selected.  Sometimes the matrix compound luminesces without an activator, e.g. calcium tungstate CaWO4.  This phosphor is the mineral scheelite and like some others was characterized and used from its mineral form and later synthesized.  Luminescence in many phosphors can be excited by ionizing radiation like X-rays or UV light.

Scintacor has the knowledge and expertise based on years of experience to partner you in the development of custom products for UV and IR imaging and detection using conventional, low cost silicon CCDs, detectors, and arrays. Resolution, sensitivity, speed and colour of response are a few of the parameters that can be influenced in the production of a customised product that more closely relates to your customer needs.

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