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Products: SOPHIA Ultra-Low Noise CCD Cameras

image of SOPHIA Ultra-Low Noise CCD Cameras

Next-Generation, Ultra-Low-Noise CCD Cameras

Princeton Instruments SOPHIA®, the most advanced line of ultra-low-noise scientific cameras yet, integrate precisely engineered ultra-low-noise electronics, state-of-the-art software, and proprietary new ArcTec thermoelectric cooling technology. The speed and sensitivity of the SOPHIA series make these cameras ideal for low-light-level research applications as diverse as photometry, chemiluminescence, astronomy, in vivo small animal imaging, and spectroscopy.

Key features of all SOPHIA cameras include:

  • Ultra-low-noise readout down to 2 e-
  • ArcTec deep cooling without chillers or cryo-coolers
  • Permanent vacuum guarantee
  • Back-illuminated CCDs deliver >95% peak QE
  • Patented eXcelon technology provides low fringing & enhanced sensitivity
  • Fast frame rate enabled by 4-port, 16 MHz readout
  • Fully supported by 64-bit LightField software

New! SOPHIA 4096B - Advanced features:

  • Better Optical Design: Improved field flattener performance with reduced
    window-to-CCD distance | Minimized window thickness
  • Accurate CCD Positioning: Ability to “zero out” the variability in themechanical assembly |
    CCD alignment for roll, pitch and translation, reducing system level adjustments
  • Multi-TEC Design: Guarantees even heat dissipation and withstands thermal cycling |
    Ensure repeatable CCD position and alignment


As the most advanced ultra-low-noise camera platform developed to date by Princeton Instruments, the SOPHIA series provides an unprecedented combination of sensitivity, speed, and flexibility. Using the latest USB 3.0 data interface and multi-port readout capabilities up to 16 MHz, SOPHIA increases frame rates by as much as 4x while delivering the low noise typically attributed to slow-scan detectors.


SOPHIA CCD cameras

“Over the past 35 years, Princeton Instruments has produced iconic cameras, spectrometers, and software — advanced scientific tools utilized by leading researchers and Nobel laureates around the world. SOPHIA extends this lineage of innovation. With ArcTec cooling technology, brand-new readout electronics, and a USB 3.0 interface all integrated via our acclaimed LightField software, we believe no other scientific-grade low-light detector can match SOPHIA’s performance and ease of use.”
- Ravi Guntupalli, VP Sales & Marketing, Princeton Instruments

Learn more about the SOPHIA-XO soft x-ray cameras.


ArcTec cooling technology:
  • An all-metal, hermetically sealed vacuum design is utilized… guaranteed for life!
  • No epoxies are used. Even the vacuum window is brazed to the walls of the vacuum chamber. Therefore, there is no outgassing or long-term degradation such as that caused by the epoxies used in inferior designs.
  • A custom heat sink design is utilized to ensure efficient thermal dissipation from the sensor and electronics.
  • Options are available that cool with air only, liquid only (for vibration-sensitive environments), or a combination thereof!


Ultra-flexible performance:
  • Multiple readout modes (4-port, 2-port, or 1-port readout; custom sensor readout; kinetic readout) for capturing even ultrafast events
  • Complete triggering support
  • Independently optimized clocking for each combination
  • Field-replaceable internal mechanical shutter
  • Standard Nikon® F-mount or spectroscopy mount (or Varian Associates ConFlat® designs for SOPHIA-XO)


Better Optical Design
(applies to SOPHIA 4096B)
  • Improved field flattener performance
  • Reduced window-to-CCD surface distance and window thickness
  • Improved edge sharpness
  • Lower distortion

better optical design

CCD Positioning
(applies to SOPHIA 4096B)
  • Ability to "zero out" variability in mechanical assembly to achieve precise, repeatable CCD orientation
  • Adjustable for tilt, pitch and z-axis translation
  • Reduces requirement for system-level adjustment

CCD positioning

Multi-TEC Design
(applies to SOPHIA 4096B)
  • Redesigned CCD cooling mechanism and vacuum chamber
  • Guarantees even heat dissipation for very large CCD formats
  • Designed to withstand thermal cycling
  • Ensure repeatable CCD positioning and alignment
multi TEC

LightField imaging and spectroscopy 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®, and EPICS synchrotron control software is easy.
  • Patented IntelliCal automated wavelength and intensity calibration is fully supported.
LightField software




SOPHIA CCD Cameras model comparison and datasheets

Camera Models Imaging Array Sensor Type Pixel Size Peak QE
SOPHIA 2048B-132-VS-R datasheet pdf 2048 x 2048 Back-illuminated, deep depleted 13.5 x 13.5 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA 2048B-132-VS-UV datasheet pdf 2048 x 2048 Back-illuminated, UV enhanced 13.5 x 13.5 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA 2048B-152-VS-X datasheet pdf 2048 x 2048 Back-illuminated, with eXcelon 15.0 x 15.0 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA 2048B-152-VS-MB datasheet pdf 2048 x 2048 Back-illuminated, midband AR coating 15.0 x 15.0 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA 4096B-154-MB datasheet pdf 4096 x 4096 Back-illuminated, midband AR coating 15.0 x 15.0 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA 4096B-154-Xdatasheet pdf 4096 x 4096 Back-illuminated, with eXcelon 15.0 x 15.0 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA 4096B-154A-MB datasheet pdf 4096 x 4096 Back-illuminated, astro midband 15.0 x 15.0 µm view QE data below
SOPHIA 4096B-154-A-ARdatasheet pdf 4096 x 4096 Back-illuminated, astro deep depleted, dual AR coatings 15.0 x 15.0 µm view QE data below

SOPHIA 2048B 132 Quantum Efficiency

SOPHIA 2048B 152 quantum efficiency


NOTE: Graphs show typical Quantum Efficiency (QE) data measured at +25°C. QE decreases at normal operating temperatures. For the best results for your application, please discuss the specific parameters of your experiment with your sales representative.



Fluorescence, Phosphorescence, and Photoluminescence Spectroscopy
Fluorescence, phosphorescence and photoluminescence occur when a sample is excited by absorbing photons and then emits them with a decay time that is characteristic of the sample environment.

Small Animal Imaging
For small-animal imaging in the NIR II / SWIR range, Princeton Instruments recommends the NIRvana:640 camera. We designed this 16-bit camera specifically for scientific research applications that require superb linearity and excellent near-infrared sensitivity.

Astronomical Imaging
Astronomical imaging can be broadly divided into two categories: (1) steady-state imaging, in which long exposures are required to capture ultra-low-light-level objects, and (2) time-resolved photometry, in which integration times range from milliseconds to a few seconds.


Bose-Einstein Condensate
Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) can be regarded as matter made from matter waves. It is formed when a gas composed of a certain kind of particles, referred to as “bosonic” particles, is cooled very close to absolute zero.


Michel Negrerie and Sergei G. Kruglik
Structural changes and picosecond to second dynamics of cytochrome c in interaction with nitric oxide in ferrous and ferric redox states
Equilibrium and time-resolved Raman The article describes time resolved Raman spectroscopy to reveal that the heme structural conformation depends both on the nature of the distal iron ligand (NO or Met80) and on the Fe2+ or Fe3+ heme redox state. They utilize PI's liquid-nitrogen cooled back-illuminated deep-depleted CCD (Princeton Instruments SPEC-10 100BR/LN) to detect Raman signal.


Astronomy Brochure
Our state-of-the-art cameras, spectrometers, optics, and coatings are utilized at leading observatories around the world, providing the most innovative technologies to meet the very latest challenges.

Tech Notes

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

Instrument Automation via National Instruments LabVIEW
03/04/2020  Teledyne Princeton Instruments provides robust documentation and building blocks to help most users perform their desired automation without any extra effort needed.



IsoPlane Imaging Spectrographs

IsoPlane Imaging Spectrographs

Award-winning imaging spectrographs with superior performance over Czerny-Turner traditional designs, available with 203 mm and 320 mm focal length designs.

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!

eXcelon CCD and EMCCD Technology

eXcelon CCD and EMCCD Technology

Patented CCD and EMCCD sensor technology provides the best fringe suppression and broadest sensitivity in the market

ThermoCUBE Chiller

ThermoCUBE Chiller

Compact liquid chiller ideal for vibration-free, thermally stable environments

SOPHIA-XO Soft X-Ray Cameras

SOPHIA-XO Soft X-Ray Cameras

High-sensitivity, high-speed, thermoelectrically-cooled X-ray camera for wide range direct detection.

SpectraPro HRS Spectrographs and Monochromators

SpectraPro HRS Spectrographs and Monochromators

High resolution monochromators and spectrographs with multi-port flexibility.

Princeton Instruments