There are three well known types of CCDs in scientific imaging. One is interline transfer CCD (IL-CCD), the second is full frame transfer CCD (FFT-CCD) and the third is frame transfer CCD (FT-CCD). Hamamatsu offers IL-CCD and FFT-CCD, and the interline transfer CCDs are the most popularly used in Hamamatsu Cooled CCD cameras.
An interline transfer CCD has vertically paired columns consisting of imaging photodiodes and a shielded vertical charge transfer register. Because each pixel is divided into a photosensitive area and a shielded section, the photosensitive area is limited. However, the ER-150 interline transfer CCD used in some Hamamatsu cameras has the added advantage of on-chip lenses, which allow the collection of more photons. This drives the sensitivity higher, up to 70 % quantum efficiency for some wavelengths. The advantage of an interline transfer CCD over other types of CCDs is that the signal accumulation (exposure) and readout can be done simultaneously. Also, image smearing is not an issue in this type of CCD. A CCD chip is cooled to reduce dark noise. In order to improve cooling performance in cooled CCD cameras, the chip is mounted inside of hermetic vacuum-sealed chamber utilizing Hamamatsu vacuum tube technology established for photomultiplier tube products.
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