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PI-MAX4 Series - emCCD / emICCD / RFICCD Cameras

Princeton Instruments

Imaging & Spectroscopy Cameras


The Ultimate in
Precision and Intelligence

Now featuring new emICCD Technology

Powered by Princeton Instruments LightField Software



The Fastest, Smartest ICCD Just Got Bigger!

Building on the long tradition of developing the fastest, smartest, most sensitive scientific ICCD cameras, Princeton Instruments introduces the next generation of PIMAX4 ICCD technology: PI-MAX4:2048f.


In addition to the proven technology advancements of the PIMAX4 camera family, the PIMAX4: 2048f provides four times the imaging area of any ICCD currently available. The larger imaging area allows more data collection in experiments where time is critical and samples are difficult to obtain.


The PIMAX4: 2048f includes all the technology of Princeton Instruments ICCD cameras including the powerful, intuitive LightField software.


PIMAX4: 2048f will provide more publication-ready data in less time allowing researchers to focus on science instead of their equipment.




      Applications for PI-MAX4:2048f

  • Shock Wave Physics

  • Neutron Research

  • Combustion applications

Courtesy of J Kojima and D. Fischer (OAI/NASA).

Visit the datasheet page for model specifications and application notes and specifications


The PI-MAX Family of Cameras - The Ultimate in Precision and Intelligence in an ICCD Camera

  • New! PI-MAX4: 1024 EMB emICCD - higher frame rates!

  • PI-MAX4: 512 EM - World's first emICCD camera delivers single photon sensitivity

  • PI-MAX4: 1024f - ICCD with scientific-grade imaging CCD for imaging and spectroscopy applications

  • PI-MAX4 family of cameras - for gating to < 500 picoseconds

  • PI-MAX4 RF for frequency domain imaging applications

They boast innovations ranging from precise picosecond gating to intelligent controls, enabling users to set up and execute challenging experiments easily right out of the box



PI-MAX4 elevates intensified CCD camera technology to the next level. As the latest addition to Princeton Instruments’ acclaimed ICCD camera line, the PI-MAX4 with Gen II or Gen III image intensifier is the result of our numerous years of experience designing gated camera technology informed by unrivaled imaging and spectroscopy application knowledge.


Applications for PI-MAX4 cameras include:

  • Frequency Domain / Time Domain Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM)

  • Time-resolved Imaging & Spectroscopy

  • Plasma Diagnostics

  • Combustion

  • Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF)

  • Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV)







PI-MAX4 with Acton Series Spectrograph


Time-Resolved Imaging and Spectroscopy

PI-MAX4 ICCD cameras offer built-in precision and intelligence to enable advanced research, including the following innovations.

Ultimate in Precision

Superb Linearity

By carefully selecting every single component and painstakingly packaging each of them in a camera that does not require any external electronics boxes except a power supply, Princeton Instruments has ensured that the new PI-MAX4 surpasses the performance of all other scientific ICCD cameras available on the market. The benefits of the PI-MAX4 design are readily apparent in one of the most important camera system specifications: linearity.


Achieve even better linearity with PI-MAX4: 512EM shown in graph below:


Video Frame Rates and Higher


PI-MAX4: 512EM achieves 32 fps with full 512 x 512 pixel resolution. With custom configurations, hundreds of images and even thousands or spectra per second can be acquired. With dual gain mechanism, this camera can deliver Single-Photon sensitivity.




PI-MAX4: 1024i achieves close to video frame rates (even at full 1k x 1k resolution). With ROI and binning, hundreds and even thousands of spectra per second can be acquired while in spectroscopy mode. The new camera also has the ability to capture a gated image or spectrum for every pulse of a high-repetition-rate laser. By contrast, slower-frame-rate ICCD cameras do not allow full synchronization with such pulsed lasers; they use only a fraction of the pulses emitted.


PI-MAX4: 1024f has been designed with highest ever speed (10MHz readout) for researchers who want to do imaging and spectroscopy with one ICCD camera.


PI-MAX4: 1024x256 has been designed specifically for spectroscopy and offers twice the readout speed of previous-generation ICCD cameras.




PI-MAX4 cameras boast SuperHV, the latest in high-voltage gating technology, to power the intensifier as well as turn it on and off in response to programmed delays and widths. It is capable of a 1 MHz sustained repetition rate, which is a 20x improvement over previous-generation ICCD cameras.






DIF (Double Image Feature):

The PI-MAX4:1024i uses an interline CCD to enable capture of two full-resolution images in quick succession. It quickly transfers a full-resolution image under the interline CCD pixel’s adjacent mask area, enabling the camera to take a second frame in as little as 450 ns (limit imposed by P46 phosphor decay time). The ability to apply the intensifier gate within two frames means lower background even when used with CW laser sources.


Picosecond Gating Technology

PI-MAX4: 512EM(B), PI-MAX4:1024i and PI-MAX4:1024x256 cameras utilize new Princeton Instruments Picosecond gating technology to achieve <500 psec gating, thus delivering exceptionally high temporal resolution for effective background discrimination. And best of all, we achieve this without sacrificing standard intensifiers quantum efficiency!

Ultimate in Intelligence

LightField Software

Princeton Instruments LightField is a new 64-bit data acquisition software platform that has been designed “from the ground up” for scientific imaging and spectroscopy. LightField provides comprehensive control of the PI-MAX4 via easy-to-use tools that help streamline experimental setup, data acquisition, and post processing. LightField is an excellent solution for multi-user facilities.


SuperSynchro Timing Generator

This new precision timing generator built right into the camera head controls intensifier gating, allowing gate widths and delays to be set in 10 psec steps with less than 35 psec rms jitter. It offers a wide variety of options to synchronize the camera with external trigger sources (e.g., pulsed lasers). Now, users can easily set up time-resolved experiments, even ones with complex timing requirements.



The PI-MAX4 features a SyncMaster signal output based on the camera’s high-precision internal clock. This signal can be used to continuously trigger pulsed-laser sources. Since the intensifier gating is based on the same clock, the jitter in the whole experiment is kept as low as possible (often only limited by the laser jitter)! In addition, by eliminating the need for external delay generator boxes, valuable lab space is conserved.

Advantages with SyncMaster

1. Lowest jitter

2. Eliminate external timing generators

Princeton Instruments Noise Suppression Technology

Princeton Instruments’ next-generation electronics ensure the best combination of CCD readout speed and  lowest possible noise levels in a scientific ICCD camera.



Intelligent mount design allows changing C-mount, F-mount and spectroscopy mount quickly and easily in the lab and still stay in focus. Our factory calibrated mounts are designed for precision camera focusing no matter what the application. Furthermore, the flexible optical mount design makes it easy to mount the camera on an English or Metric standard optical table.


Photocathode Cooling

EBI (equivalent background intensity) refers to the thermal emission from photocathode of the intensifier. The PI-MAX4 camera has a provision to cool the photocathode to reduce EBI by as much as 20 times. This is an important consideration for ultra-low light and single photon level measurements.


Gigabit Ethernet (GigE):

This high-bandwidth (125 MB/sec or 1000 Mbps) data interface affords real-time image transmission. The interface supports remote operation from more than 50 meters away.

PI-MAX4 RF for frequency domain imaging applications

RF Modulation

The PI-MAX4:1024i-RF camera enables frequency domain measurements for fluorescence lifetime studies, in addition to time resolved imaging, with minimal external equipment. By modulating the gain of the Gen III filmless intensifier at a radio frequency (RF) rate, the camera operates as a 2D lock-in amplifier. Each pixel acts as an individual phase-sensitive (lock-in) detector. The PI-MAX4:1024i-RF can be utilized for advanced imaging techniques such as FLIM and FRET.