Custom Solutions

XCAM’s reputation is built upon its ability to develop and build custom solutions. The solutions shown below represent just a few examples of some of the custom systems which have been produced in the past or which are currently under development.


In 2022, XCAM delivered an advanced multi-sensor digital camera system based on electron-multiplying CCD technology to Pennsylvania State University, a key part of their Off-Plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE) sub-orbital sounding rocket mission. Incorporating many of the highly specialised technologies XCAM is known for including; complex low-noise detector drive electronics, multi-detector focal planes, in-vacuum operations and cryogenic cooling, OGRECam enables unparalleled low-noise performance for the OGRE X-ray spectroscopy application.

Some publications on OGRE and OGRECam:

Evan, Daniel A. R.; Holland, Andrew D.; Endicott, James; Holland, Karen; Gopinath, David; Tutt, James H. and McEntaffer, Randall L. (2022). The focal plane camera for the Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment. In: X-Ray, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy X (Holland, Andrew and Beletic, James eds.), SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation, article no. 1219115.

Tutt, James H.; McEntaffer, Randall L.; Donovan, Benjamin D.; Schultz, Ted B.; Biskach, Michael P.; Chan, Kai-Wing; Kearney, John D.; Mazzarella, James R.; McClelland, Ryan S.; Riveros, Raul E.; Saha, Timo T.; Hlinka, Michal; Zhang, William W.; Soman, Matthew R.; Holland, Andrew D.; Lewis, Matthew R.; Holland, Karen and Murray, Neil J. (2018). The Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE) system overview. In: Proc. SPIE 10699, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray (den Herder, Jan-Willem A.; Nikzad, Shouleh and Nakazawa, Kazuhiro eds.), article no. 106996H.

View the OGRECam poster here:

Treeview - Space camera for precision forestry

TreeView is a high performance multi-spectral Earth Observation mission concept designed for precision forestry applications. The development of the mission has been funded by the UK Space Agency through the National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP) and is a collaboration between The Open University (leading) and XCAM, In-Space Missions, Beck Optronic Solutions, Adiuvo Engineering, Teledyne e2v, 2Excel Geo and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Forest Research.

XCAM have designed the electronics for the camera system payload. This integrated electronics package includes the front end electronics (FEE) to drive the imaging sensor (a new TDI CIS125 developed by Teledyne e2v), the Data Handling Unit (DHU) to manage the data produced by the sensor including storage and on-board processing and the Payload Monitoring and Control unit (PMC) to manage thermal control and stabilisation. This includes the design and thermal modelling of the mechanical housing for this electronics package.

Further to the payload design work, XCAM have also developed a flat-sat breadboard protoype of the payload electronics to de-risk the camera electronics design given its reliance on the new novel imaging sensor from Teledyne e2v.

Read more about the preliminary design of the TreeView mission here.

Cold Atom Space PAyload (CASPA)

CASPA (Cold Atom Space PAyload) was an Innovate UK-funded project to design and develop a prototype 6U satellite carrying a cold atom experiment into space. The project was led by Teledyne e2v Ltd (Teledyne e2v), and involved 6 other consortium members including XCAM Ltd, University of Birmingham, University of Southampton, Covesion, Gooch and Housego, and Clyde Space.

The project aimed to prove that operating a miniature cold atom system in space was a viable possibility and raised the TRL level of the technology required to a level at which such payloads can now be considered for larger satellites which require more mature technology with space heritage.

Within the project XCAM was responsible for the Electronics and Imaging Sub-system, a set of PC-104 PCBs providing the power and data interface between the Platform and the entire payload and an imager (based on XCAM's C3D CubeSat camera) that was used to capture images of the cold atom cloud within the cold atom trap.

Further information on CASPA has been published here:

Devani, D., Maddox, S., Renshaw, R. et al. Gravity sensing: cold atom trap onboard a 6U CubeSat. CEAS Space J 12, 539–549 (2020).

View the CASPA poster here:

Multidetector Camera for XFEL Applications

XCAM developed a flexible multi-detector CCD-based camera system for the DESY FLASH X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) beamline. The camera system incorporates many of the specialist capabilities that XCAM is known for including multi-detector systems, vacuum compatible construction, precision engineering and temperature controlled systems.

View the XFEL camera poster here:

BETACam - Camera for Beta Autoradiography

The technique of Beta Autoradiography is used in many scientific disciplines for analyses ranging from rock porosity to drug discovery. XCAM developed a digital imaging system based on CCD technology derived from X-ray Astronomy applications to replace conventional film which offers the benefits of high sensitivity, excellent linearity, real-time data acquisition, with the major benefit of operating in air at room temperature.

View the BetaCam poster here:

Tritium Detector

XCAM has successfully undertaken a project to develop a proof of concept prototype of a tritium in groundwater monitor. Utilising XCAM’s sensing technology it directly monitors the water using a high performance silicon sensor. This system provides safe continuous real-time monitoring avoiding the need to collect samples, pretreat or filter the water under test.

View the Tritium Detector poster here:


XCAM specialises in producing custom and prototype CCD cameras for leading-edge science experiments all over the world and is able to design and manufacture large area and multiple CCD cooled camera systems that suit your application.

We specialise in understanding your application so that we can optimise the choice of CCD type and the design and manufacture of the camera system to maximise the performance for your application. We commission custom camera systems personally on-site.

  • CCD types: Front-illuminated (FI); Back illuminated (BI); with or without Anti-Reflection coating; Deep depletion (DD); Red-enhanced; UV enhanced; coated for wavelength sen-sitivity; high resistivity; EMCCD
  • Large area, or arrays of smaller CCDs
  • UHV compatible construction if required
  • On-site commissioning and support
  • Custom software requirements met
  • Specification and procurement of custom CCD if required
  • Master-Slave mode for synchronous operation of multiple CCDs
  • Unique software enabling one PC to control multiple CCD cameras as one

For more details please contact us for further information specific to your requirement.

, ,

Non-imaging X-ray spectroscopy with a swept charge device. Swept Charge Devices (SCDs), such as e2v technologies CCD54 and C1XS devices with four CCD54 detectors in on one ceramic package (shown in the images below), offer a low cost, large area, fast read-out alternative to the CCD, for situations where spatial information is not required. These devices are designed to operate at temperatures that can be achieved using Peltier cooling, so that liquid nitrogen is not required, making them a good replacement for the Si(Li), PIN and SDD devices.

SCDs are:

  • Low cost
  • Efficient over the 0.5-10keV band
  • Large area, up to 400 mm2
  • Low noise; typically ~5 electrons rms, giving 80 eV FWHM at 1keV and 130eV FWHM at 6keV
  • High SNR; peak to background ratio of 4000:1 with collimation
  • A suitable replacement for Si(Li), PIN and SDD devices
  • Able to be operated warm (without LN2)
  • Fast to read-out

The figure below shows a spectrum obtained from vanadium using an SCD, showing the good peak to background of in excess of 3000:1 (without collimation).


, ,

XCAM has developed a camera system for high frame rate multi-fibre optical spectroscopy. In this system, up to 16 user-selectable windows are defined on the CCD image and sampled, providing up to 3200 spectra per second (16 windows x 200 frames per second).

This technology was initially developed for fusion reactor diagnostics and was used to obtain the image below. The image depicts a dispersed spectrum (y-axis) of emission from a He-Ne laser as a function of time sampled at 5ms intervals (x-axis).


The CCD is required to detect a tiny amount of exponentially-decaying light, and to operate in a mode which permits the decay constant to be determined. The resulting spectrum’s temporal resolution is around 2 microseconds.


A CCD with a scintillating fibre-optic stud attached for hard X-ray detection.


XCAM offers detector consultancy services including selection, characterisation and optimisation of CCD detectors. Please contact us for further details.

We have strong links with CCD chip manufacturers such as e2v technologies as well as the e2v Centre for Electronic Imaging (part of the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute at the Open University), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the European Space Agency (ESA). These academic and industrial links allow us to retain our innovative engineering capability and access facilities around the world.

, ,