CMOS and CCD image sensor technology was developed in the 1960s. Although for the last forty years CCD sensors have dominated the market, improvements in CMOS sensor design have catapulted them to a growing market share and the CMOS seems poised to replace the CCD in many applications. Often times, customers familiar with the past advantages of CCD sensors question the use of CMOS image sensors in laser beam profiling cameras. We seek to provide a short overview of the CMOS sensor’s advantages and the improvements that have enabled it to become a contender in the image sensor market.
One of the most important measurements in laser beam profiling is the beam width measurement. A common question we see is “How small of a beam can I measure with this camera?” Generally, we recommend that the user ensures that they cover at least 10 camera pixels along each axis to get a good measurement. The rest of this blog post will examine why we provide this guideline, discuss the theory behind it, and use some measured data gathered from several DataRay cameras to validate the theory. We will also provide what approximate error values to expect when covering small numbers of pixels.