Using Electronic Imaging Detector for Ion Beam Profiling

The global market for analytical instruments has been going through a state of rapid advancement, and innovative applications are being continuously developed.

Nearly two and a half decades ago, mass spectrometers were merely research tools. At present, mass spectrometers are being used in drug research, semiconductor manufacturing, environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, and food processing.

These valuable instruments have found relevant applications in nearly every field, and, with new applications for mass spectrometers being discovered every day, instrument manufacturers have considerably reduced their product development cycles.

Optimizing Ion Beam Optics

A number of innovative materials and tools (e.g. modeling software) have been created to enable faster product development. Ion optics modeling software can be used to design and predict the ion path within the mass spectrometer.

Despite this, various factors that could potentially affect ion trajectories remain unaccounted for in the model. A necessary component for increasing instrumental sensitivity is the efficient transportation of ions from the source through the mass filter.

Conventionally, an ion beam is aligned by scanning the beam over a Faraday cup or an electron multiplier, integrating the current and determining the settings at which the highest signal is achieved.

An innovative imaging tool has been created for the visualization of the location of a soft X-ray beam, an electron, a UV photon, or an ion. By imaging the beam, the instrument designer can be in a position to make sure that all available signal ions are accurately collected.


The electronic imaging detector works based on a microchannel plate (MCP) phosphor screen integrated with a CCD camera with a frame grabber card and software on a personal computer. This device was developed to assist the user in capturing images from the phosphor screen at a rate of 30 fps and storing them in various formats for manipulation or enhancement.

TTL inputs enable the use of event and strobe triggers for synchronizing a camera to an event. The internet capability of the system allows experimenters to synchronize the camera to a specific event and to share images in real time.

The electronic imaging detector

The electronic imaging detector

Typical Applications

Following are the applications of the electronic imaging detector:

  • Ion beam profiling
  • Ion optic model verification
  • VUV spectroscopy
  • Imaging TOF
  • High-energy physics

Ion beam profile on a test pattern

Ion beam profile on a test pattern.

Chevron resolution test

Chevron resolution test.

Random ion pattern

Random ion pattern.

Ion Beam Images

Images acquired from the ion beam detector are illustrated below:


In summary, the ion imaging tool generates high-quality images of various beam profiles. The microchannel plate detector enables signal amplification up to 10 million times greater than standard while also facilitating the imaging and storage of electron or single ion events. Blooming is eliminated through variable electronic shutter speed and automatic brightness control. The CCD camera, frame grabber, and software allow efficient capture, storage, and manipulation of the images. The TTL event and strobe trigger guarantees that the frames are gathered during the desired timeframes.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by PHOTONIS Technologies S.A.S.

For more information on this source, please visit PHOTONIS Technologies S.A.S.


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