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System Solutions

Whether your application is characterizing a massive mosaic of CCDs for the next great observatory, designing a faster FLIR for a weapons-guidance system, or production-testing a CMOS image sensor for a digital camera, Pulse Instruments can supply you with a fully-integrated test system that allows you to focus on your your device, not on your test system.

Pulse Instruments can supply every electrical component of your test system, including pattern generation, clock drivers, low-noise DC bias, A/D conversion, data acquisition, and system software for complete control, analysis and reporting capabilities.

Furthermore, our more than 30 years of experience building test equipment and systems means that we can provide total system integration, with an expert eye towards the technical hurdles that make image sensor testing different from mainstream mixed-signal testing. The architecture is designed for system-wide noise immunity and noise reduction, and our stimulus and acquisition electronics were designed from the bottom up for testing CCDs, FPAs and CMOS imagers. Our specialization also means that our systems are far more affordable than the "big iron" available from the other ATE vendors.

Choosing a System

We offer three primary system models, described in the table below. Each model describes a "baseline" system that can be configured and customized to meet your specific testing requirements. Please select a system based on the types of devices you are testing and your primary testing application:

  System 7700 Characterization System System 1828
Production Test
System 1808 Production Test
•  R&D and engineering characterization
•  Mid-volume production test
•  Low-volume production test for critical parts
•  Production test
•  R&D and engineering characterization
•  Production test 
•  Limited R&D and engineering characterization
Devices •  Military, science-grade and medical CCDs or IR FPAs 
•  CMOS ROICs and multiplexers
•  CMOS sensors 
•  Commercial/industrial CCDs, IR FPAs, ROICs, multiplexers, and CMOS sensors
•  Medical imaging devices
•  Digital image sensors (CCDs or CMOS) for consumer applications
•  Telecom and logic devices
•  High-performance, low-cost, open architecture
•  Low-noise system architecture 
•  Small footprint with high instrument density
•  Expandable for future applications
•  Highest speeds 
•  High performance, low-cost system
•  Modular design
•  Modest footprint
•  High throughput 
•  Lowest-cost, open architecture
•  Smallest footprint
•  Expandable to meet new requirements

System Architecture

This diagram below illustrates Pulse Instruments' modular approach to building systems.

Each component of the system can be independently configured. This provides several key benefits:

  • The system can be optimally configured for your specific application. You buy only the capacity and features you need, when you need them
  • You can upgrade the system as your requirements change and your budget permits
  • System uptime is maximized because cards and most modules can be swapped out in the field, by the user
  • Third-party hardware can be integrated into the system at very little cost

System Software

Each of our systems includes PI-DATS, our graphical system software for automated test and control. PI-DATS runs under Windows 2000, which means that the user interface is immediately familiar to any user. No programming experience is required to use PI-DATS. You can configure and run a completely automated test of a complex FPA or CCD without writing a single line of code.

PI-DATS sets up and controls all the hardware in the system, and stores all settings (including device-specific settings) in a single file. When you want to change the type of device-under-test, simply load a new file.

Included with PI-DATS are several powerful analysis and reporting routines, as well as the ability to export data to MATLAB, Excel, or a documented binary format.

Clocking and programming of your device-under-test is performed through the PI-PAT module of PI-DATS. In addition, PI-DATS can pass variables to PI-PAT to vary pattern execution time. This can be used to vary integration time on a CCD, for example.  PI-PAT has powerfully simple click-and-drag waveform generation, plus a re-usable subpattern architecture that allows you to test an entire family of related devices with a single timing file.

Service and Support

There are Pulse Instruments test systems throughout the industry, both here in the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, India and in the Middle East. Pulse Instruments applications engineers provide training and preliminary acceptance testing at our facility in Torrance, California, and then install the system and perform final acceptance testing at your facility upon delivery. Most customers are up and running, testing parts, within a few days of installation.

Pulse Instruments engineers are committed to keeping your system up and running. We handle all service and repair with our in-house technical staff. Equipment repairs and upgrades are handled at our facility, but our engineers are also available to travel to your site for systems integration or application support.

Today, Pulse Instruments systems are used for characterization and production test of visible and infrared imaging devices used in missile-guidance systems, weapon sights, astronomy satellites, surveillance equipment, machine vision, automated inspection, medical imaging, and night vision applications from many major manufacturers of image sensors. There are Pulse Instruments systems and equipment installed in the early 1980's that are still going strong today.


Because every application is different, we can provide a more accurate quotation if we have detailed information about your application. Please review the following questionnaire(s) so that our applications engineers can help configure a system that meets your budget and your requirements:

These surveys require the Adobe® Acrobat Reader, freely available from Adobe's website. These questionnaires are intended as discussion guides to ensure that you and our applications engineers can fully discuss your requirements. Alternatively, email us a datasheet for the device(s) you are testing.

We are always available to answer your questions at:

We look forward to working with you.

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Phone: +1-310-515-5330