The Linear CCD Sensor: Print, Scan, and Copy

CCD sensor technology is usually used for high quality imaging, and it is mostly used by professionals, although there are CCD sensors available at lower prices that amateurs can buy to shoot high quality images for their personal use. The CCD sensors come in two forms, and one of them is the linear CCD sensor, while the other is the matrix sensor. The linear CCD sensor is most often used within a wide range of applications: scanners, satellite imaging, or multifunctional printers. The linear CCD sensor brings good performance and image quality, so if you are interested in purchasing such a product, this article is for you.

Linear CCD sensor composition

A linear CCD sensor is made out of photodiode arrays, consisting of active photosites for detection of RGB signals along with another channel for luminance. This combination gives top-notch images. This kind of design of photosites in a linear CCD sensor is called a quadric-linear color array design (RGB and L). Almost every linear CCD sensor has low noise design which means that it can reproduce images in a stunning high quality.

The technology behind linear CCD sensors

The linear CCD sensor works very much like the matrix CCD sensor – it converts light to digital data in a way that the light is being held on the sensor like a small electrical charge which is then processed through a register into voltage and finally into digital signals. The register of these devices is usually stronger than the register of matrix devices since the linear CCD sensor acquires much more speed and the input lag has to be minimal. The linear CCD sensor has very sensitive photodiode arrays and this delivers high quality results with little noise.

Where are they used?

The most common uses for a linear CCD sensor are in various scanning devices, multifunctional printers, satellite imaging, as well as copy machines. One more use of a linear CCD sensor is in machine vision, a process which enables automatic inspection, control of ongoing processes which are too fast for the human eye or robot guides in industry. Another field the linear CCD sensor is used in is computer vision as well, and this discipline includes navigational systems, information organization, automatic inspection, object modeling and detecting events. Every barcode scanner you use, or most hospital examinations involve some kind of a linear sensor which helps make the daily life easier in many ways. The early use of these sensors involved photocopiers and fax machines in offices, and therefore they were optimized for speed only, not so much for quality. The quality problem is mere history today, because the linear sensors have rapidly developed and they deliver the speed, but the quality too. If you want to have high quality images, we recommend that you purchase a product that has a linear sensor integrated in order to get the best quality images.

The Infrared CCD Sensor

As you may know, the human eye is unable to see most wavelengths, and can only detect wavelengths from 390 to 800 nanometers. In the same time, the typical camcorder or digital camera sees from 400 to 800 nanometers of wavelengths, so we can say that normal cameras “see” the same things as the human eye. Of course, there are cameras that can see what we can’t see, such as infrared cameras. Above the visible range of 800 nanometers to 2500 nanometers is a region called near infrared, or NIR, for short. Cameras with an infrared CCD sensor have a reduced sensitivity above 1100 nanometers; the practical use of the camera is from 325 to 1100 nanometers. Thus, cameras that supposedly have an infrared CCD sensor are actually near infrared cameras (NIR cameras). The infrared CCD sensor is found in most of the cameras that are sold under the IR label. So, if you have ever wanted to see what is going on while it is dark, we recommend that you buy one of the infrared cameras which will give you cat eye vision and even more!

Differences between NIR and IR cameras

NIR cameras use an infrared CCD sensor which works best from 800 until 1100 nanometers, while the IR cameras use special kind of sensors which can detect heat, and they don’t use the CCD nor the CMOS sensors that are usually used in the commercial cameras. The infrared CCD sensor can’t function normally in the infrared spectrum because it doesn’t react well to the extremes like that, and therefore the infrared CCD sensor isn’t an option for this part of the spectrum.

Uses of infrared CCD sensors

The infrared CCD sensor has many uses, some of which include military, traffic and medical uses. In military, the infrared CCD sensor is used for tracking for tactical missile systems, threat warning from above, night vision and aerial scouting missions. In traffic, the infrared CCD sensor is used in the Infra Red Traffic Logger (TIRTL) which represents a traffic sensor used for counting traffic, speed readings, and it can be used for tracking red lights or heavy and overweight vehicles. In medicine these kinds of sensors are used for identifications of various defects or blemishes that can’t be seen within the normal spectrum.

Home uses of IR CCD sensors

The most common use for an infrared CCD sensor camera is home surveillance, or the surveillance of businesses or any other area that is in need of constant surveillance. The infrared CCD sensor can catch minimal amounts of light and convert them to digital signals – the better the infrared CCD sensor, the higher the price of the camera. The more megapixels the camera has, the more light it can catch, and this depends on the size of the sensor – bigger sensors give more light. So, if you want to have your home secured and supervised even when it is dark out there, we recommend purchasing one of the infrared cameras.

CCD Sensor Technology

With many uses for a camera these days, more and more people wonder what camera is the best. Upon starting their research, they stumble upon many different terms like the shutter, the image sensor, number of pixels, aspect ratio and many more. Most of these terms you are familiar with, but many people still do not know much about image sensors. As you start researching them, you may discover that image sensors come in two main types, called the CCD sensors and CMOS sensors. CMOS sensors (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) can be usually found in your everyday cameras, while CCD sensor technology (charge-coupled devices) can be found in the more professional cameras. However, CCD sensor technology has become a bit cheaper over the years, and is therefore available to more people. One of the best traits of CCD sensor technology is the fact that it delivers extremely high quality images.

A short history of the CCD sensor

CCD sensor technology came into being in the late sixties of the twentieth century in the labs of AT&T Bell Labs. They listed several possible uses for their new invention, and one of them was an imaging device. As years passed, many companies became interested in the device, so they started development programs on it, and so the CCD sensor technology started its quick development. In 2006 Boyle and Smith, the inventors of the CCD sensor technology, were awarded the National Academy of Engineering Charles Stark Draper Prize and in 2009 they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work.

How does CCD sensor technology work?

CCD sensor technology converts light into digital data, and the process involving the CCD sensor chip being exposed to light. The chip holds this light in form of an electrical charge in each photo sensor. The charges get converted to voltage and then into digital information. The CCD sensor technology delivers high quality images with minimal noise or distortion because every single pixel is processed separately, so the other pixels are focused on reacting to the light exposure. We hope that you now understand a bit more on CCD sensor technology and how does it work, because many of us use it every day, but we don’t quite understand what it does and how it does it.

Where it’s used?

CCD sensor technology is usually used by professionals, or so it was until some years back. The main disadvantage of CCD sensor technology a few years back was its cost. The alternative to CCD sensors, CMOS sensors, has a lower cost because they are made through a simpler and less costly process. They also have a disadvantageous side to them, though – images recorded with such sensors have a lower quality and they don’t perform very well for images taken in low light conditions.  In conclusion, however, CCD sensor technology has cut down production cost a little so that these sensors are available to a wider public now.

High Speed CCD Cameras

Movies are filmed and reproduced at a rate of 24 frames per second, and the television uses 25 frames (PAL) or 29.97 frames per second (NTSC). In direct contrast, a high speed CCD camera is able to record a whopping 1000 frames per second.  Such high speed CCD cameras can be used for either research, entertainment or in industry. A high speed CCD camera is usually used in crash testing or ballistic testing too, but there are also many other uses for it.

The history of high speed CCD cameras

The first high speed images that were recorded were the images of a horse in gallop to determine if all of its feet were in the air at the same moment. The first image of a supersonic bullet was taken in Rijeka, Croatia, in 1886 by a physicist called Peter Sacher. The high speed cameras were used by German weapon scientists.   All these cameras used film. As time passed, and technology developed, instead of film, an array of CCD or CMOS cameras came in use for rotating mirror cameras. This way the high speed CCD camera was born.  The high speed CCD camera can achieve unimaginable speeds up to 25 million frames per second.  The first use of high speed CCD camera was in 1980s, and one of the first cameras was the HS4540 which was manufactured by the Kodak MASD group; this camera was intensively used in car crash testing. Later on, there were different types of high speed cameras that developed, like the IS-CCD or the rotating mirror CCD.

Uses of high speed cameras

Today, the high speed CCD camera is used for all kinds of purposes. One of the purposes for a high speed CCD camera is entertainment too, and there are various shows on the subject of super slow motion which show animal reactions and behaviors in slow motion, like fast snake attacks or praying mantis strikes, or objects being destroyed in super slow motion. The slow motion cameras are also used in sports for slow motion replays of big events during a game. Other use of these cameras is in the car test industry, for testing cars in car crashes, so they can have a slow replay of what was happening. Another use in industry is using slow motion during production to notice things that happen too fast in real time to follow them normally. The high speed CCD camera found its many uses today, especially in the world of science too, where it is used even in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to capture the tiniest bits of events that happen at such tremendous speeds.

LHC and the high speed cameras

The Large Hadron Collider (the LHC) is currently the largest energy particle accelerator in the world. It is located beneath Geneva, Switzerland, along the border with France. The spectrometers used in tests have CCD image sensors which have strong anti-blooming functions, no lag, and have high readout speeds and low noise. All these features are very important for high speed CCD camera because it has to register the collision of subatomic particles in order to find the answers for many still unanswered questions. Without the use of a high speed CCD camera this wouldn’t be possible, so the manufacturers of the high speed CCD camera used in LHC, the Hamamatsu Photonics, are very proud to be part of such an immense project.

Cleaning Your CCD Sensor

It’s been a while since you bought your new CCD camera, and you are quite satisfied with your purchase. The images you take are clear and the colors are lifelike. You usually process your pictures using various programs on your computer. Lately, however, you have noticed that there are some kinds of spots on the pictures, but you always make sure the lens is clean. After further examination, you have come to the conclusion that those spots are dust particles, and the problem is that they are inside of your camera. You will have to clean it, but you are not sure how it’s done.  The process of CCD sensor cleaning isn’t hard when you know what to do. You can purchase CCD sensor cleaning kits, but if you are not sure if the do-it-yourself CCD sensor cleaning would go good, it’s best to bring it to a professional. If you are confident you can do it yourself, be sure of it, because cleaning it the wrong way can cost you more than bringing it to a professional.


Before you decide to try CCD sensor cleaning you should consider avoiding this in any way possible, because it’s best if it’s done by professionals. If you still think that CCD sensor cleaning will not be much of a problem to you, be sure you will clean it properly and be able to put all the things into their right places. The CCD sensor cleaning shouldn’t be a scare, but it is best done by professionals or if you do it yourself. Try having someone over who will supervise the process or help you at it.

Getting started with CCD sensor cleaning

Depending on what camera you have, the CCD sensor cleaning instructions should have come with the camera. The cleaning instructions are different based on the manufacturer of the camera, and some of them advise that you use only nonphysical means of cleaning like using the hand blower. The materials you have to use for CCD sensor cleaning should include a hand blower for those bigger pieces of dirt, a sensor cleaning brush and a swab. The CCD sensor cleaning itself isn’t difficult, but there are many things that can go wrong.

Steps of CCD sensor cleaning

The first thing to do when you start the CCD sensor cleaning process is to put your camera into cleaning mode.  How to do this should be written in your camera manufacturer’s instruction notebook. Use a hand blower to get rid of the bigger dirt specks, as they can damage the sensor if you skip this step. Some recommend the air pumps for mattresses because you operate them with your foot, so your both hands are free.  The next step in CCD sensor cleaning is the sensor cleaning brush, and after the brushing use the swab to 2 to 3 drops of sensor cleaner applied to it and gently swab over the sensor. This should complete your CCD sensor cleaning and you can close the camera and you will have spot free images once again.

CCD Sensor Sizes: Size Matters!

Many people today use cameras on a daily basis, especially after their integration into cell phones and thus becoming available to almost everyone. As you already know, the quality of the pictures taken with such cameras isn’t really the best, and you may have always wanted to have a proper camera. Before you decide to buy one, you should do some reading – an expensive camera doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best for you. There are many different factors you should be aware of. If you want the highest quality camera and you done your fair amount of reading, you may decide to buy a CCD camera. Now you have to find the right one, and still do a bit of reading on CCD sensor sizes. Many people find it difficult to understand CCD sensor sizes and it can be hard to find someone who knows this. In this article, I will explain different CCD sensor sizes and investigate the question of whether size really does matter when it comes to CCD sensors.

CCD sensor sizes

Whenever you browse an online market to see which camera you would buy, you stumble across specifications such as aspect ratio, pixel size, sensor type and more. You may understand most of them and you may know what kind of aspect ratio you want, how many pixels it should have, and you decided you wanted a CCD sensor. There is one tiny thing you didn’t look up yet, and that is the CCD sensor sizes. CCD sensor sizes are usually marked as a “type” – the numbers you can find on them are usually in fractions, like 1/2.3” or 2/3”. This is actually larger than the real sensor – this sizes date back to sizes of TV camera cubes in the fifties.  Also, compact cameras usually have smaller CCD sensor sizes and are not that sensitive to light.

What exactly do these numbers mean?

These CCD sensor sizes don’t represent the diagonal of the sensor; they represent the outer diameter of the glass envelope. Usually the sensor is two thirds of the written size. So to see the real CCD sensor sizes it’s best to calculate them using the two thirds rule. So if you want a camera that has the 1/1.7” type with an aspect ratio of 4:3 and the diameter of the tube being 14.941 millimeters, the real sensor size will be 7600 millimeters in width, 5700 in height and the sensor will be 9500 millimeters in diameter. You can find the CCD sensor sizes charts online so you can determine which size you want.

Does CCD sensor size matter?

You see that the price of the camera grows with CCD sensor sizes, so it must be important in some way. CCD sensor sizes determine the number of pixels, so the bigger the sensor, the more pixels your image will have and therefore it will be clearer. One thing you have to watch out when picking among CCD sensor sizes is that the size isn’t too big for the lens, because the image will seem like it fades out, and the edges of the field are dark, resulting in a tunnel effect.

The Super CCD: Even More Dynamics

Most people who are interested in cameras have heard of the acronyms CCD and CMOS, but let’s be honest – there are those who are interested in cameras and don’t have the slightest idea what CCD, CMOS , or super CCD are. To put it simply, these are different kind of sensors that make it possible for you to take pictures, each working differently. The CCD sensor, also known as charge-coupled device sensor is known to provide more quality while the CMOS one performs very good and is cheaper, but lacks the performance for darker pictures. There is also the super CCD which provides more resolutions than the usual CCD. Let us see what super CCD has to offer.

The super CCD sensor

The super CCD was introduced by Fujifilm and it has been developing since 1999. The standard CCD sensor uses rectangular photodiodes (pixels), while the new super CCD uses the octagonal photodiodes and therefore you can have higher vertical and horizontal resolution. The CCD sensor itself works so that it catches light in a photo sensor, and then holds it in a form of an electrical charge, which is then processed into a read-out register, then it goes to an amplifier and after this step is finished it goes into a converter which makes the signal digital. The super CCD sensor makes it possible for the images to be clearer, have better color and sharpness too.

Honeycomb design

The new pixels in the super CCD sensor aren’t rectangular but octagonal, making them look like a honeycomb. The pixels are rotated for 45° and by doing this, the sensitivity is increased, the dynamic is much wider and the colors are more lifelike. This design also enables the pixels to be nearer to each other, so the density is also greater. The super CCD therefore allows for better quality pictures – as an example, a 1.3 megapixel super CCD will give a picture of the same quality as a normal CCD with 2 megapixels.

Different kinds of super CCD

The super CCD has different subtypes, and some of them include the HR and the SR type, which were introduced in 2003, and in September 2008, after they released the 7th generation of the super CCD was introduced, they announced the super CCD EXR. The first two types, the HR and SR, represent high resolution and high quality types. Their differences are in the build of the diodes – they both have 2 photodiodes per photosite, one is bigger and the other one is smaller. The bigger one is more sensitive to light and the smaller one is less sensitive. Combined, they actually take two pictures, the bigger one takes a lighter picture and the smaller one a darker picture and then they are combined into one image, and this image has more color and vibrance to it. The announced EXR version should combine the high resolution and high quality from both HR and SR into one device.

The CCD Camera Sensor

We all use cameras today, as they are so conveniently integrated into our cell phones, and most of them are of good quality, even though the primary use of your cell phone is intended to be calling and texting and not taking photos. Most cell phone cameras use the CMOS image sensor, which is decent with processing light, so your pictures on darker days could have lesser quality. However, there is another type of image sensor, the CCD camera sensor which does better work on the quality of the pictures. The CCD camera sensor was designed at almost the same time as CMOS and it still has the lead in the CCD vs. CMOS race. The CCD camera sensor has its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s explain them.

The history of CCD camera sensor

The CCD camera sensor was designed in 1969 at AT&T Bell Labs. It was designed by Willard Boyle and George E. Smith and the first uses they wrote down for it were a delay line, a memory, or an imaging device.  Soon after that followed the first working CCD camera sensor – it was an eight pixel imaging device. The development was very fast and by 1971 the Bell researchers could capture images with these simple devices. The CCD camera sensor development went on rapidly, and these sensors are still in use today.

How do CCD sensors work?

The CCD sensor, also called the charge-coupled device sensor, catches the light as electrical charge which is then converted into voltage signals. This conversion to voltage is usually done through a small number of pathways, sometimes just one, and it’s done a pixel at a time, while other pixels can be devoted to capturing light. This is the main difference with a CMOS sensor, where all the pixels are individually converted. The CCD camera sensor has better performance benchmarks in fields that require high image quality, but they also use more power than CMOS sensors. The CCD camera sensor usually has more quality and pixels because it was mass produced longer than the CMOS sensor.

Where are they used?

The CCD camera sensor is usually used in cameras that need high quality images, so they are used more by professional photographers and cameramen. Although the CCD camera sensor scores better in image quality, the CMOS sensor is catching up, because they invested much in boosting up their quality. The CCD camera sensor on the other hand is far more expensive because of the manufacturing process which is more complicated, but they also developed cheaper versions on expense of a bit of quality. Even thought the quality of such versions isn’t as high, they are still a very good choice and will deliver remarkable results. So, if you want to have top quality images, we recommend you to find the camera with this kind of sensor integrated, because you will be stunned when you see how much better the quality of images is when you use it.

CMOS vs. CCD Sensors

When talking about image sensors, we always stumble across two types – CMOS sensors and the CCD sensors. And there are many arguments comparing CMOS sensors vs. CCD sensors and which type is better. The CMOS stands for complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor, while the CCD stands for a charge-coupled device. The main difference in these two sensors is the way they process the analog to digital input, the light into electrons. When talking about CMOS vs CCD, we will first explain how they both work, and after that see which one will score better in the CMOS vs. CCD match-up.

So what’s the difference?

Before I list the pros and cons of each in this CMOS vs CCD comparison, let’s explain how they both work. CCD sensors process the light using sensors that are of very high quality in light sensitivity. The light is held in a photo sensor as an electrical charge, and then it’s converted to voltage finally to digital information. CMOS sensors work with the same CMOS technology for making chips for computer memory and processors. They have transistors on every pixel, and this way every pixel can be read individually. This kind of sensors are also called active pixel sensors and the functions of the image sensor and processing function on the same circuit, while CCD can’t do that. In the CMOS vs CCD comparison there are factors which we will go through in order to see the pros and cons of every sensor. Some of the CMOS vs CCD comparison factors include: power consumption, circuit integration, imaging performance and many more.

Pros and cons of CMOS vs CCD

In this comparison, CCD sensors deliver high quality and low noise images, while the CMOS sensors aren’t as good at this field. The CMOS sensors have several transistors for every pixel, while the CCD usually has only one or a small amount of pathways for all the pixels while converting to voltage. The factor that is very important in CMOS vs CCD comparison is uniformity: this represents the way different pixels will respond to identical illumination – the ideal would be if they would respond identically so they would be uniform. In CMOS every pixel does its own conversion so the uniformity isn’t as good. Also, in CMOS vs CCD, the CMOS sensor doesn’t have the blooming effect problem like the CCD one. The blooming effect occurs when the light source overloads the sensitivity and causes light bleeding to other pixels.

CMOS vs CCD: The price?

When we compare the prices of CMOS vs. CCD sensors, CMOS sensors are usually cheaper because they use the same technology that is used to manufacture chips for PC memory and processors, while the CCD needs its own manufacturing process. Even though CCD sensors are more expensive, CMOS sensors still need additional devices in order to reach the same quality as CCD. When choosing on a CMOS vs CCD, your final decision should depend on how much quality you need and if your budget is enough. In the CMOS vs. CCD race, the CCD still leads, but CMOS sensors are catching up.

An Introduction to the Image Sensor

Everyone today uses cameras, as most are integrated in your smartphone, and it’s rather unusual to have a cell phone without a camera these days. We take pictures, upload them to various social networks and are happy about the fact that the moment you see something you want to share, you take a picture, and the next moment it’s already on your online album. Ever wondered how these interesting and funny moments get converted to pixels? It’s all done by an image sensor. Without an image sensor you wouldn’t be able to do that, so let’s get back to basics first – what is an image sensor?

Image sensor

An image sensor is a device that can convert optical images, the things you see around you, into electronic signals to create a digital photo. An image sensor is used in all kinds of cameras, whether professional ones, or the ones you have at home, integrated into your phone or camcorders. The image sensor makes this possible, so let’s explain how it works.

How does it work?

The image sensor works differently depending on what kind of sensor it is. Today, there are two types of sensors – the charge-coupled device, or CCD for short, and the complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor, or CMOS active pixel sensor. When using a CCD image sensor, the light that comes to the chip is held in the photo sensor as an electrical charge, and they are then converted to voltage, which is then converted into digital information. The name of this sensor comes from the way it reads the charges on its pixels. After the chip is holding the charges, those in the first row get transferred into a sensor called the read out register, and then they go to an amplifier and after that to a converter which makes them digital. After this row is read, its charges are deleted from the register and the new row comes in. Each row is “coupled” to the row above it and that way they are read one at a time. The CMOS image sensor has transistors at each pixel, and those transistors amplify and move the charge using traditional wires. The advantage of this sensor is that it can read each pixel individually.

Which image sensor is better?

This depends what you are looking for, because both the CCD image sensor and the CMOS image sensor have their advantages and disadvantages. For once, the CCD sensor is better at high quality images, while the CMOS one usually has more noise. However, CMOS is cheaper because it’s easier to make, and uses less power. So if you don’t really need very high quality images and don’t plan to give too much money, the CMOS image sensor might be the right choice for you. CMOS sensors are improving every day, and soon they will be able to make images as high quality as the CCD sensors. Keep an eye on the image sensor industry because we hope that we will have more interesting news in this area very soon!