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Last edited: [[User:P.nanda|P.nanda]] 17:13, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Last edited: [[User:P.nanda|P.nanda]] 17:13, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Revision as of 22:35, 18 April 2011

Summary:Interfaces with Andor cameras
Author:Pariksheet Nanda (Andor product support) Previous document by Nenad Amodaj, with contributions from Jizhen Zhao and Daigang Wen (Andor). Maintenance and development by Daigang Wen from Sep 2007 to Nov 2008.
Maintainers:Francis McCloy (Andor), Arthur Edelstein
Platforms:Windows and Linux (No Mac driver available)

Wiki: Building MM on Linux

ANN: Andor driver on Linux
Devices:Andor cameras: iXon/iXon+, Luca-S, Luca-R and Clara



Before you proceed, you must have a copy of Andor software already installed since it contains the necessary files to recognize the camera. The software could be the Andor SDK, Solis or iQ.

When you first power on and plug in your camera and Windows tries to recognize it, select to "Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)" > "Search for the best driver in these locations" > "Include this location in the search" > C:\Program Files\(Your Andor Directory)

Clara support is introduced in SDK v2.84

(Clara Only) DLL file from Andor SDK

For Clara only, in the Micro-Manager 1.3.39 beta release (May 15, 2009), the 32-bit Andor driver file (atmcd32d.dll) is not new enough to support the Clara.

The file version is 2.82, whereas Clara support is introduced in 2.84. Therefore you need to copy the "atmcd32d.dll" file from your Andor installation to your Micro-Manager directory. e.g. If you have the Andor SDK, copy and overwrite C:\Program Files\Andor Clara\Drivers\atmcd32d.dll to C:\Program Files\Micro-Manager-1.3\atmcd32d.dll

When trying to create a fresh configuration you may get error code 22, Andor error code 20006 (unable to load cof/rbf file). This is because your particular Clara needs file version >=2.87.30002.0 because it has newer firmware.


Before you proceed, you must have a copy of the Andor's Linux SDK package already installed since it contains the necessary files to recognize the camera. The Linux Andor Kernel driver must be compiled and installed. When Micro-Manager is compiled, it looks for "/usr/local/include/atmcdLXd.h" before it compiles and installs the Andor device adapter.

Add to your configuration

Open Micromanager. You will be prompted to load a configuration file. To create a new configuration file use "Tools" > "Hardware Configuration Wizard..." to manually add the device.

Working with your Andor camera

Set camera properties under "Tools" > "Device/Property Browser..." Micromanager does not offer every feature available in Andor Cameras. TODO: List camera features not available in Micro-Manager. However for the Clara overlap mode, Extended NIR and the variable pre amp gains are available.

All EMCCDs (iXon, iXon+, Luca-R and Luca-S)

EMgain slew rate

  • EM gain levels should be kept same between channels during an acquisition (because EM gain levels should not be immediately switched)
  • EM gain circuitry is powered by a high +53V voltage rail and the gain applied to the EM readout register is proportional to this voltage.
  • Thus when you increase or decrease the EM gain on the camera, you have to wait for the voltage slew to stabilize at the new set value.
  • This is typically about 1-2 seconds, the maximum time being from setting EM gain from 0 to the maximum value of 1000.
  • Thus it is much better to vary exposure times or excitation signal intensity rather than switching EM gain levels in a multi-channel acquisition (unless you know what you are doing)


  • iXon cameras MUST be cooled to the specified temperature: at least -60 C for DV models and -70 C for DU models.
  • Offset ("Baseline") is optimal at this setting. If the camera is not cooled, the offset can be display as 0 data counts.
  • Some blemishes are compensated at the specified temperature setting and will be more visible at warmer temperatures.
  • No need to warm up cameras before shutdown of software and computer (since condensation does not occur).
  • Full gain will not be achievable without cooling.
  • EMgain is temperature compensated for RealGain cameras.
EMgain range
  • EMgain does not start at 1 for all cameras. The start level is tuned for each EMCCD chip.
  • The actual EM gain range depends on the model of your camera: it can be from 0 to 255 (non-linear), 4096 (non-linear), or RealGain 1000 (linear)
Pre-Amplifier Gain (PAG)
  • PAG is ironically named since it is really post-readout gain of your sensor signal, which affects sensitivity.
  • PAG multipliers like 1x, 2x, 4x can vary between cameras since they are tuned for each EMCCD chip.
  • PAG can affect the saturation limit of your chip. To determine the expected digital saturation limit, consult your camera performance sheet of your camera. Divide the "Saturation Signal per Pixel (Electrons/pixel)" by the "CCD Sensitivity (Electrons/A2D count)" to get saturation signal in digital counts.
Conventional or EM
  • With the exception of the 885, you can switch between CCD and EMCCD modes via the Output_Amplifier setting
  • EMCCD readout without EM gain is more noisy (~40e read noise) so Conventional readout (~6e read noise) is beneficial if light levels do not require EM gain.
  • Benefits of EM gain combating the EMCCD readout register noise of ~40e can be seen from 45x onward, i.e it is better to use 45x EM gain and upward.



  • Clara must be cooled to the specified temperature: -45 C with fan, -15 C without

Known bugs

  • Clara-Output_Amplifier enabling "Extended NIR" with Overlap mode raises an exception using Live. The camera hardware does not support Extended NIR with overlap; the option should not be populated in the drop-down list.


Camera questions

For contacting Andor product support regarding any questions, see under "Support" for your location -

Development support

Please liaison with Micro-Manager developers to contact the Andor software team

Last edited: P.nanda 17:13, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

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