Who are Grenoble Scientific ?

Grenoble Scientific is an independent partner of NeutronOptics Grenoble and work in close collaboration with them. It is managed by Dr E.A. Hewat, a former scientist with the Grenoble C.E.A. (Commissariat √† l'√Čnergie Atomique) who holds a D.Phil. from Oxford University in electron microscopy and imaging. NeutronOptics will increasingly specialise in their original area, while Grenoble Scientific will work more generally in scientific imaging. The new company has been created because of the growing number of clients for imaging products, which now exceeds the capacity of the original company.

So which company should you approach and why ?

You may approach either company, and depending on your requirement and their work load, you will be directed to the most appropriate.

As a small company with scientific rather than industrial expertise, we depend on larger companies to provide most of the components. There are many manufacturers of CCD cameras of course, but few provide a complete scientific imaging solution. For example, neutron imaging cameras have usually been custom made from mass-market components by a few national research laboratories, and not commercially available, since they represent a very small market for a big company. Even when they are, they are very expensive, since big company overheads are high for small market products.

Our cameras are much more sensitive than ordinary CCD cameras, where the market is driven by high resolution at the expense of sensitivity. Yet resolution is often limited by beam collimation, not the CCD camera. We use the largest pixels compatible with resolution. Large pixels gather more light, as does covering pixels with micro-lenses. Large aperture lenses are used to focus the image onto the CCD, which contains no colour or other absorbing filters, and can accumulate images over seconds or even minutes if necessary, with low noise. We use Peltier cooling and slow read-out to reduce noise (and cost). Slower readout is not a problem when the images themselves take seconds to accumulate.

Why buy a camera instead of making one ?

Although it is possible for a big laboratory to make their own imaging cameras, even the largest laboratories find it convenient to buy such equipment. Although the principles of scientific imaging are simple, there are many details that can only be learned by experience. Frankly it's faster and cheaper to buy such basic equipment rather than re-invent it. Eventually it might be modified in-house to serve a particular need, but why not start with an off-the-shelf product that is already used by many others