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Helmholtz Funds Two DESY Spin-Offs

Two start-ups by DESY scientists will be funded by the “Helmholtz Enterprise” scheme: X-Spectrum and Class 5 Photonics.

The X-Spectrum company, entering the market with a high-technology X-ray detector, will receive 100 000 euros. The Class 5 Photonics company will build very flexible femtosecond-lasers generating short pulses with high performance. The joint spin-off of DESY and the Helmholtz Institute Jena will be financed with almost 130 000 euros.

Innovative detector

In July, the X-Spectrum company was founded by five members of the DESY detector development group (FS-DS), with DESY being the sixth associate of this new enterprise. The scientists developed an X-ray area detector named LAMBDA, offering an extremely high spatial resolution and a high recording rate. LAMBDA stands for Large Area Medipix Based Detector Array. The large active area of the LAMBDA detector sized roughly nine by three centimetres is equipped with 750,000 pixels and takes up to 2,000 images per second. Each pixel performs single light particle (photon) counting, but can also handle rates of more than 500 000 photons per second.

Colourful x-ray pictures

This very high dynamic range is complemented with the possibility to measure the energy of the detected X-ray particles, i.e. practically taking colour pictures. “High sensitivity, high resolution, high frame rate – thus, the detector precisely fulfils the requirements experimenters put on new generation synchrotron radiation detectors,” said Heinz Graafsma, DESY scientist and one of the X-Spectrum managing directors. “Moreover, the detector is suitable for photon energies up to about 100 kilo-electronvolts, which we have for example at PETRA III.” For comparison: This is about 40 000 times higher than the energy of visible light, which is for example recorded by the chip of an average digital camera.

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