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Image Sensors

CAELESTE - Custom image sensors

Caeleste is a full turnkey supplier of high-end, beyond state-of-the-art custom designed CMOS image sensors. The activities include image sensor design, manufacture, assembly and characterization. Caeleste is the originator of many novel concepts as high-speed, low-noise image sensors, indirect X-ray detectors with photon counting, color X-ray sensors, and sub-0.5 noise electron read noise CMOS pixels.







  • Image sensors for scientific imaging and instrumentation

  • Medical imaging (X-ray devices with either direct or indirect X-ray photon conversion)

  • Particle detection (electrons – protons)

  • Industrial image sensors

  • Space and radiation hard design

  • Photonic devices for life science applications

The Caeleste team has an accumulated experience in image sensor design and development of over 250 years.
Caeleste focuses on:
Industrial & Professional Solutions
High Speed Imaging

Fast phenomena can only be studied, when recorded at high frame rate. This requires special architectures with low noise read-out chains to compensate for low light levels.

  • High sensitivity: ≥ 100 µV/e– and low noise operation: ≤ 2 e–rms

  • Technology Global Shutter (6T pixel) operation

  • Multi-row access to reduce row overhead time 

  • Block or segment wise read-out to achieve faster frame rates

  • Colour Filter Array (CFA) and Micro lens technologies are available

Sorting & hyperspectral imaging

Colour fidelity is the keyword for sorting applications. Whether a linear or area detector is used; the colour signal shall remain unchanged over the full array.

  • Low etaloning with optimised technologies

  • Custom designed pixel architecture and technology

  • Flexible timing (shutter modes & integration control) 

  • Fast frame rates for hyperspectral imaging

Quality Inspection

Vision is the ideal non-contact technique for quality inspection. Global shutter, high speed and high dynamic range are important to cope with fast throughput and low light environment.

  • Low light level operation: Gain ≥ 100 µV/e–

  • In-pixel anti-blooming 

  • Technology Global Shutter (5T and 6T pixel) to avoid jello and skewness

  • Low noise operation: ≤ 2 e–rms

Food safety

Stimulated light processes, like fluorescence and Raman, are becoming available as in line inspection tools. They require image sensors with precise integration control and high gain, low-noise operation.

  • Short integration time to capture fluorescence peak

  • Accurate timing delay to discriminate fluorescence signals

  • Noise ≤ 0.3 e–rms (4T pixels and oversampling) for Raman detection

  • Low etaloning over the full array

  • Photon shot noise limited behaviour when using SPAD’s

Space & Scientific Solutions
Image sensors for space application

Caeleste has the ambition to create CMOS imagers to exceed scientific CCD performance in all respects:

  • backside illumination, stitching up to wafer scale

  • ITCCD like operation by the use of “global shutter” (GS) CMOS technology, at the same time allowing true, on-chip CDS

  • low dark current by pinned diodes, and buried memory nodes for global shutter operation

Where CMOS outperforms CCD

  • CMOS type of interfaces, including on-chip AD conversion, extremely high data rates throughput, at the lowest possible power

  • linear, >100dB dynamic range by Caeleste’s exclusive HDR techniques (see patents page), compatible with CDS and GS

  • radiation tolerance, for TID, SEU, SET etc

Large area devices
  • Stitched designs, allowing monolithic, large scale devices, up to wafer scale

  • Global shutter pixels, charge and voltage domain.

  • Correlated double sampling

  • High Dynamic range: > 100 dB

Large area devices, designed for fault tolerant operation, combine high-speed operation, low noise operation and high dynamic range to cope with unexpected illumination conditions without blooming.

Hyperspectral and TDI
  • Long devices

  • High frame rate

  • Low etaloning

  • CCD-CMOS option for TDI operation

In low orbit missions the ground resolution is almost uniquely determined by the line rate of the image sensors. Hyperspectral devices require the readout of tens, if not hundreds, of lines in a few milliseconds time frame.


In case of high-resolution imagery, TDI operation can help in increasing sensitivity beyond the capabilities of single line integration.

Radiation hardened devices
  • Proprietary IP blocks

  • Low TID effect of dark signal

  • High immunity against SEL and SEU

  • Reduced SEFI sensitivity 


Due to special design techniques, the image sensors have low sensitivity of dark signal for Total ionizing dose. Caeleste image sensors are immune against Single event latch-up and single event upsets. Also the effects of SE Functional interrupts can be minimized.

X-Ray, UV, NIR, IR & cryogenic operation
  • Coupling with direct and indirect X-Ray absorbing materials

  • Optimized Backside illumination operation for UV sensitivity

  • Thick epi for increased NIR sensitivity

  • Deep cryogenic operation for ROIC’s and cooled Frontend electronics



The experience in other application fields allows Caeleste to design reliable sensors in wavelengths ranges outside the visible range. With partner foundries the image sensor processes are optimized for the UV and NIR range. Caeleste also designing ROICs and frontend electronics for dedicated detection materials and FPA’s.

Medical & Life Science Solutions
Cutting edge image sensors

Image and photonic sensors are used over a very broad wavelengths range to support medical diagnostics and life-science experiments.



A large part of the medical imaging diagnostics is based on X-ray technology.  Caeleste makes wafer scale devices suited for integrating indirect detection arrays.  Yet Caeleste have the capability to bring single photon and even energy resolved X-ray imaging to wafer scale dimensions. Photon imaging pushes the patient doses to the absolute minimum.

X-ray imagers can be based both on indirect or scintillator based detection  as well as on direct detection schemes for ultimate performance.

Electrons and other particles

Consider applications as

  • electron microscopy

  • dosimetry and spectrometry of X-ray, gamma, neutrons, protons and many other sources in the medical field.

Optimised, visible light detectors of various sizes can be used for the following disciplines:

  • Protocoling and recording

  • Robotics

    • Imaging aid

    • Collision avoidance

  • Endoscopy

  • (In-Situ) tissue analysis

    • spectroscopy based

    • OCT based

    • Stimulated emission based (Raman and Fluorescence)

  • Retinal implants

Caeleste can create fast framing devices with low noise and high dynamic range, which can be adjusted over a broad range of parameters.


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