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Products: SOPHIA-XO Soft X-Ray Cameras

image of SOPHIA-XO Soft X-Ray Cameras

X-Ray Cameras for Soft X-Ray, VUV, and EUV Applications

NEW ... 4k x 4k version now available.

Princeton Instruments' high-sensitivity, high-speed, thermoelectrically cooled SOPHIA®-XO cameras utilize back-illuminated CCDs for direct detection of the widest range of VUV and x-rays ( ~5 eV to 30 keV). A rotatable, industry-standard CF flange with a high-vacuum seal design, as well as software-selectable gains and readout speeds, makes this camera well suited for UHV applications. The SOPHIA-XO camera platform is specially designed for scientific applications such as VUV/EUV/XUV imaging, x-ray diffraction, x-ray microscopy, x-ray holography, x-ray spectroscopy, and x-ray plasma.

Key features of SOPHIA-XO cameras include the following:

  • Excellent sensitivity with >95% QE (~5 eV to 30 keV range)
  • 2k x 2k and 4k x 4k formats; 13.5 and 15 micron pixels
  • High frame rates with 1-, 2-, and 4-port readout
  • Cooling down to -90ºC using liquid or air
  • Microsoft® Windows® 10 or Linux® 64-bit operating system support
  • Supports EPICS, Python®, Linux, MATLAB®, and LABVIEW®  
  • Fully supported by 64-bit LightField® software

Princeton Instruments LightField software now supports McPherson EUV/VUV spectrometers with PIXIS-XO and SOPHIA-XO soft x-ray cameras. Read the press release.

Download the datasheet for complete information

See soft x-rays and more!

Princeton Instruments SOPHIA-XO cameras are engineered to deliver the highest direct-detection performance for applications that involve x-ray spectroscopy, x-ray imaging, x-ray microscopy, x-ray plasma diagnostics, and EUV lithography.

These new "XO" camera models feature 2048 x 2048 and 4096 x 4096 formats with 100% fill factor, up to 150,000 e- full well, >95% peak QE, and read noise as low as 3.5 e- rms. A 4-port, 16 MHz readout architecture allows the new cameras to deliver more than 3 full frames per second — 7x to 10x faster than previous 2-port cameras..

coherent x-ray diffraction

(a) Patched coherent x-ray diffraction data from a star-shaped Au sample, (b) Rreconstructed image, and (c) SEM image of the Au sample. Image credit: Yu et al., "Coherent X-ray scattering beamline at port 9C of Pohang Light Source II," J. Synchrotron Rad. 21, 264-267 (2014). doi: 10.1107/S1600577513025629.

Looking for ultra-low-noise CCD cameras? Visit the SOPHIA camera page.


Sensitivity in x-ray energy range from ~ 5 eV to 30 keV:
  • Covers wide variety of applications
  • Highest sensitivity for >95% peak QE in 5 eV to 30 keV range
ArcTec™ cooling technology:
  • A custom heat sink design is utilized to ensure efficient thermal dissipation from the sensor and electronics
  • Options available that cool with air only, liquid only (for vibration-sensitive environments), or a combination thereof
Latest UHV technology:
  • An all-metal, hermetically sealed, vacuum design is utilized… guaranteed for life!
  • No epoxies are used, therefore no outgassing or long-term degradation caused by epoxies used in inferior designs
  • Six or eight inch CF flange vacuum interface


Ultra-flexible performance:
  • Flexible multiple-readout-port design for capturing even ultrafast events
  • 4-port, 2-port, or 1-port readout; custom sensor readout; and kinetic readout
  • 3.2 fps at 16 MHz
  • Complete triggering support
  • Independently optimized clocking for each combination
  • Field-replaceable internal mechanical shutter
  • Industry-standard CF designs


Choices of three sensors
  • 2048 x 2048, 27.6 x 27.6 mm imaging area  
  • 2048 x 2048, 30.7 x 30.7 mm imaging area
  • 4096 x 4096, 61.4 x 61.4 mm imaging area


LightField and other software:
  • A powerful, intuitive user interface provides complete control of PI cameras and spectrographs
  • A built-in math engine enables the analysis of image and spectral data in real-time
  • A universal programming interface, 64-bit PICAM, is included for easy custom programming
  • Seamless integration of hardware controls and direct data acquisition into National Instruments' LabVIEW, MathWorks' MATLAB, Python, and EPICS synchrotron control software is easy
LightField Software


SOPHIA-XO Cameras - Model Comparison and Datasheets

Imaging Models Imaging Array Sensor Type Pixel Size Peak QE
SOPHIA-XO 2048B-132datasheet pdf 2048 x 2048 Back-illuminated 13.5 x 13.5 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA-XO 2048B-152datasheet pdf 2048 x 2048 Back-illuminated 15.0 x 15.0 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA-XO 4096B-154datasheet pdf 4096 x 4096 Back-illuminated 15.0 x 15.0 µm view QE data below


SOPHIA-XO Quantum Efficiency



X-Ray Plasma Diagnostics
Hot and dense plasmas are of enormous interest in basic physics research because of the multitude of interesting phenomena that arise from them.

Coherent X-Ray Diffraction
X-ray diffraction is a technique for studying the characteristics of matter such as macromolecules, crystals, powders, polymers, and fibers.

EUV Lithography
EUV lithography is gaining popularity because it retains the look and feel of the traditional optical lithography process (i.e., utilizes the 13.5 nm wavelength) and uses the same basic design tools.

X-Ray Spectroscopy
X-ray absorption spectroscopy is an element-specific probe of the local structure of elements in a material.


C. MacRae, A. Hughes et al.
Fast Hyperspectral Soft X-Ray Mapping
Soft X-Rays,EUV/X-Ray imaging,EUV/X-ray spectroscopy,SXES-Soft X-Ray emission spectroscopy
B. Buades, J. Biegert et al.
Dispersive soft x-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopy in graphite with an attosecond pulse
X-Ray spectroscopy can give element specific information about electrons in a material as well as determine information about the structure (how far are atoms apart). Researchers use attosecond pulses to dynamically measure and correlate both properties.
U. Zastrau et al.
A sensitive EUV Schwarzschild microscope for plasma studies with sub-micrometer resolution
EUV microscopy of plasmas from hydrogen jets for understanding plasma dynamics.
J. Kramer, A. Irman et al.
Making spectral shape measurements in inverse Compton scattering a tool for advanced diagnostic applications
Researchers from Germany measure the spectral shape of an X-ray beam using inverse Compton scattering to characterize a radiation source. They use an in vacuum CCD camera to record the spectra by counting single photon events.
Matthias Müller, Tobias Mey, Jürgen Niemeyer, and Klaus Mann
Table-top Soft X-ray Microscopy with a Laser-induced Plasma Source Based on a Pulsed Gas-jet
A table-top soft x-ray microscope based on a long-term stable and nearly debris-free laser plasma from a pulsed nitrogen gas jet target is presented. The microscope operates in the “water window” region at 2.88 nm wavelength. The emitted soft x-ray radiation is focused by an ellipsoidal condenser mirror into the object plane and a sample is imaged using a Fresnel zone plate onto a CCD camera. The spatial resolution of the microscope is about 50 nm demonstrated for a Siemens star test pattern.

Application Notes

High-Harmonic Generation (HHG) and High-Sensitivity, High-Speed Scientific Cameras for Applications in the Soft X-ray Energy Regime
X-ray experimental setups for individual labs continue to evolve and gain popularity...selecting the right application-appropriate camera will be imperative to capitalize fully on the benefits of these new setups

This note describes several examples of XPCS in which high-performance CCD systems from Princeton Instruments can be used to capture microscopic, low x-ray-flux images.


Product Manuals
Download operation manuals for Princeton Instruments cameras, spectrometers, and accessories from our ftp site.

Tech Notes

The Art and Science of Being Cool
An Introduction to ArcTec - the Newest Generation of Scientific Camera Cooling Technologies

New QE Response Curves for Soft X-ray to VUV Energy Range
A Quantitative Comparison of Different Scientific CCD Types


LightField Scientific Imaging & Spectroscopy Software

LightField Scientific Imaging & Spectroscopy Software

Ground breaking software to control your Princeton Instruments systems. Now with Windows 10 support. It's like nothing you have ever experienced!

PIXIS-XO Soft X-Ray Cameras

PIXIS-XO Soft X-Ray Cameras

X-ray open nose (XO) cameras designed for direct detection of deep UV and X-rays in the <30 eV to 20 keV range

PI-MTE In-Vacuum Cameras

PI-MTE In-Vacuum Cameras

PI's smallest, in-vacuum cameras for direct detection of soft X-rays in the energy range from <30 eV to ~20 KeV

SOPHIA Ultra-Low Noise CCD Cameras

SOPHIA Ultra-Low Noise CCD Cameras

Sophia ultra-low noise cameras for the most demanding low-light applications from astronomy to x-ray.

Princeton Instruments