The nature of high-speed or high frame rate imaging results in a short exposure time requiring the object be illuminated with a high brightness light source. In some cases, as in biological studies and other heat sensitive materials this is not an option. For these low light level applications we have developed an intensified high-speed camera. This camera extends the sensitivity to 10-6 fc (10-5 lux) at a minimum frame rate of 1000 frames per second (fps). Frame rates well above 1000 fps have been achieved. Part of the success of this camera lies in the use of a high quantum efficiency (QE) image intensifier, having a GaAs photocathode with a QE exceeding 50%, fiber optically coupled to a high-speed camera. The intensifier, which can be gated, also serves as an external shutter to the image sensor. The gate allows exposures as short as 50 ns not achievable with the unintensified camera. The gate can be delayed and synced with the image to capture information at the right moment. Gating also allows the camera to be used in brighter situations extending the dynamic range of the camera to over 10 orders of magnitude.
A high performance Gen III Image Intensifier has been integrated into a high performance cooled integrating CCD Camera. Performance measurements have been performed on the system showing the ultimate performance at the lowest light levels possible. Performance extension of the camera has been achieved with very little change in image quality over the unintensified camera.