Now detecting electrons too!

Sacha DeCarlo

Always passionate about electron microscopy, Sacha De Carlo started using EM more than twenty years ago at the University of Lausanne, where he majored in Biology and Physics in 1998. Intrigued by three-dimensional models of viruses obtained with cryo-electron microscopy data, processed on graphic workstations, he decided to continue exploring with EM and obtained a Ph.D. in biophysics in the lab of Prof. Jacques Dubochet, also in Lausanne. Sacha continued his academic career in France (IGBMC, Strasbourg) and the U.S., with postdocs in Berkeley (California) and Boulder (Colorado), culminating with a faculty position at CUNY in New York City.

Sacha left academia in 2011 and switched to industry, when he decided to work for one of the major electron microscope manufacturers, based in the Netherlands. There he was in charge of the life science applications team in the EMEAI Nanoport, the centre of technical excellence that serves as demo lab and training centre for customers as well as employees.

Born in Locarno (TI), Sacha returned to his home country and joined DECTRIS in June 2016 and is responsible for business development electron microscopy. He is working closely with the DECTRIS product development team and with EM manufacturers to deliver the next generation of direct electron detectors to the EM community.


DECTRIS CEO Christian Brönnimann introduces spectral imaging

For the third consecutive year DECTRIS exhibited at the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) with great success. By now, our presence at the largest radiological conference worldwide has become a cherished tradition. Our lunchtime seminar was again well attended and stimulated vivid discussions. The audience felt that spectral photon counting will take radiology “Beyond Imaging”, the conference’s motto.

We look forward to meeting you again at RSNA 2017. Until then, visit to learn about the future of medical X-ray detector technology.


All I want for Christmas is PILATUS

SESAME starts detecting the future with a PILATUS3 300K

SESAME is the best-known synchrotron source that is not in operation. While the electrons start to orbit in the storage ring, a gift-wrapped detector “under the tree” waits for the light.

SESAME, a new star in the Middle East.

“PILATUS3 is the first detector to arrive to SESAME. And DECTRIS is the first company to make a donation. This is excellent progress not only for the Material Science beamline, which is getting the detector, but also for the whole research center,” summarized Giorgio Paolucci, the scientific director of SESAME, during the 14th Users’ Meeting. Still, the story is more elaborate than that.

There are two remarkable aspects in the development of an international research center in the Middle East: science with its impact on the region, and the region itself. SESAME, the International Center for Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, is the first center of that kind, and its political layout matches its technical complexity. Current members of SESAME are Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. The center is built in Jordan, under the auspices of UNESCO, and is supported by donations from several European synchrotron sources.

SESAME’s Materials Science beamline got its name and its wiggler from the Materials Science beamline at the Swiss Light Source [1]. A year ago, beamline scientist Mahmoud Abdellatief took over the project.

“It is an honor and a responsibility to have Materials Science as the first diffraction beamline at SESAME. It needs to serve as a true multi-purpose station, and satisfy as many users as possible,” Mahmoud reported at the European Powder Diffraction Conference (EPDIC) [2]. “We want to cover various experiments: single crystal, powder diffraction and scattering, non-ambient, time-resolved and high-resolution. But, the number of applications unfortunately clashes with our budget.”

Even neighbours are excited about PILATUS 300K. Messaoud Harfouche, XAFS/XRF beamline scientist (left) and Dubravka Šišak Jung, application scientist at DECTRIS (right) at the future Materials Science beamline.

At DECTRIS, there was not much discussion about it. The obvious idea was to donate a fast, flexible 2D detector. After all, these detectors are already successfully utilized at many multi-purpose beamines, such as the PILATUS 2M at the Swiss-Norwegian Beamline BM01A [3] and, earlier, the PILATUS 100K at beamline 711 at MAX II [4, 5]. But, future users of Material Science need more. In order to support that many applications, the angular coverage, quantum efficiency and the speed of the detector need to be as high as possible. And in order not to impose restrictions on the choice of a future diffractometer, the weight of the system needs to be low. Since the EPDIC, lots of emails have been going back and forth before the optimal solution was found. The lightweight PILATUS3 300K system, with frame rates of 500 Hz is the perfect choice for the job.

“The system was delivered to SESAME a few days before the Users’ Meeting. This made it the best meeting I have ever attended. It was wonderful to see and hear the excitement about the detector and eagerness to get the first light,” comments Dubravka Šišak Jung, application scientist at DECTRIS.

SESAME is busier than ever. While Mahmoud is looking for a diffractometer for the MS beamline, his neighbor, Messaoud Harfouche at the X-ray Spectroscopy beamline is setting up the optics. The 14th Users’ Meeting is probably the last meeting before the first light shines from the source and proves that science can trump politics. The PILATUS3 300K came right on time. We are not going to try to prove existence of Santa. Deep down, we all know the truth, don’t we? [6] We will only wish SESAME and its users a bright New Year and lots of great PILATUS3 data.


[1] Willmott, P.R. et al. (2013) J. Synchrotron Rad. 20, 667–682.

[2] Abdellatief, M. et al. (2016) “The SESAME Material Science Beamline”, 14th European Powder Diffraction Conference.

[3] Dyadkin, V. et al. (2016) J. Synchrotron Rad., 23, 825.

[4] Martinez-Casado, F. et al. “Set-up for medium and high resolution powder diffraction (Ror rietveld refinement) and fast in situ studies” European Powder Diffraction Conference, 2016.

[5] Matěj, Z. et al. “Experimental advantages of Scanning 2D Pixel detectors for XPD ” European Powder Diffraction Conference, 2016.

[6] Oléron Evans, T., Fry, H. (2016) “The indisputable existence of Santa Claus (The mathematics of Christmas)”

Firmware 4.1 for MYTHEN2 released


The version 4.1 extends the flexibility of the systems by allowing users to upload their own flatfield files onto the system. Excellent data can now be obtained in various instrumental setups.

Modern diffractometers can be quickly adapted for a particular experimental setup by changing parameters such as filter, voltage or detector threshold. When aiming for the optimal data quality, these changes should be taken into account. This can be done by collecting a flatfield under the exact experimental conditions of your measurement, and using your flatfield for data correction.

Firmware 4.1 enables upload of four flatfield files, without overwriting DECTRIS original data. System check and interchange of active correction files take only several simple commands to the socket interface. Using the Web Client, perfect data is just a few clicks away.

 “X-ray powder diffraction technique is outgrowing its basic definitions and use. Thanks to the accuracy of MYTHEN laboratory data, we can already discuss difference Fourier maps and quantification limits well below 1%. Going further means achieving additional quality and flexibility - in current and future applications. Custom-made data correction is another step to help our customers stay ahead of their competition “ concludes Dubravka Šišak Jung, application scientist at DECTRIS.

For the upgrade of your MYTHEN2 firmware, please contact

DECTRIS achieves ISO 9001 Quality Management Certification

tl_files/root/news/0_News_2016/ISO9001_2015.jpgTo meet the needs of customers and to continuously improve customer satisfaction, even at the highest level, is the main goal of quality management and the essence of the ISO 9000 family of standards. A high level of quality and quality management is not only important to DECTRIS, but also to all of our customers.

DECTRIS has been using effective quality management processes for many years. Over the last year, we have further refined our processes to meet the specific requirements of ISO 9001:2015.

A successful audit in October 2016 has confirmed that DECTRIS’ processes meet the international standard. With efficient and well-integrated processes, DECTRIS will keep focusing on its primary mission - technological leadership in X-ray detectors for scientific, industrial, and medical applications - while incessantly improving the customer experience.
“In our 10-year history, we have always taken pride in the high quality of our detectors and customer service. At DECTRIS we are very pleased to achieve ISO 9001 certification. It shows that our commitment to quality meets and exceeds an internationally recognized and highly regarded standard,” comments Christian Brönnimann, CEO of DECTRIS, and adds: “Adhering to the ISO 9001 standard will also ensure the highest level of quality during the future growth of DECTRIS.”

EIGER X 500K Synchrotron Series

Fast, faster, EIGER X 500K

The EIGER X 500K Hybrid Photon Counting (HPC) detector utilizes the 4 and 8 bit readout capabilities of EIGER to provide never reached frame rates in a compact housing. “Until now, synchrotron experiments examining processes far below the millisecond range have only been possible via complicated pump and probe techniques. At DECTRIS we are pleased we can now empower scientists to investigate this time scale with continuous exposures and a temporal resolution of 112 microseconds”, comments Stefan Brandstetter, Product Manager Synchrotron at DECTRIS and adds: “XPCS measurements crucially depend on high temporal and spatial resolution. With small pixels and a frame rate of up to 9000 Hz with a dead time of only 3 µs, EIGER X 500K is the perfect detector for XPCS measurements.”

The system offers noise-free single-photon counting with a sensitive area of 37 mm x 77 mm and a pixel size of 75 µm. The well established control interface remains unchanged and allows for an easy and fast integration with beamline software. Complementing the ultra-fast EIGER X 500K, an economic basic model will be released that can be upgraded at any time. Both systems are available with optional vacuum compatibility.

DECTRIS AppLab opens

First light at the DECTRIS application and training laboratory

Our diffractometer. Data collection with an EIGER R 1M in the DECTRIS application laboratory.

The DECTRIS application and training laboratory officially opened today after commissioning of the first instrument. This is a milestone in DECTRIS history and manifests our commitment towards delivering the best performing detectors for our customers, especially the growing number of laboratory users. If you are interested in testing our detectors with your crystals, please contact us to schedule a visit.

DECTRIS operates a Rigaku Oxford Diffraction XtalLAB MicroMax-003 single-crystal X-ray diffractometer with a microfocus sealed tube for standard macromolecular crystallography and small-molecule crystallography. Thanks to a partial-chi goniometer, we can collect high-multiplicity data for experimental phasing based on the anomalous signal of sulfur inherent in most proteins. The two-theta angle of up to 90° will allow us to collect small-molecule data at IUCr resolution.

We have demonstrated the performance of the instrument by quickly solving the structure of lysozyme, a common test protein, by single-wavelength anomalous dispersion. One hour of data acquisition was sufficient to obtain enough anomalous data to determine phases and autotrace the Cα backbone.

Experimental map. Strong difference density for disulfides and clear maps obtained from S-SAD phasing of lysozyme with one hour of diffraction data.

In our application laboratory we will characterize our detectors in low-flux conditions and review data collection methods. We will strive to optimize data quality and provide the basis for the faster determination of higher-quality structures. The data acquisition software supports data collection with PILATUS3 R 100K, 200K and 300K and EIGER R 1M and 4M detectors.

DECTRIS MYTHEN2 Sales Workshop

tl_files/root/news/0_News_2016/M2Workshop.jpgDECTRIS held its second Sales Workshop for OEM partners at the end of October. After concentrating on area detectors at the first Sales Workshop, applications around the MYTHEN2 strip detector were at the focus of the second workshop. The main subject were the benefits that Hybrid Photon Counting technology is providing for different scientific and industrial applications. A further point of discussion was how to explore the advantages of the different MYTHEN2 products in the relevant applications. The outcome of the discussions in the workshop will help our partners to fully realize the potential of the detector integrated in their instruments. A highlight of the workshop was a tour of the new premises in Baden-Dättwil that DECTRIS has been using since almost one year. The visiting partners were very impressed with the increased production capacity.

Feedback from participants was very positive. Each one appreciated the knowledge shared and enjoyed the convivial atmosphere of the discussions. “Thanks for organizing this great event, which was very helpful for my work!” was one of the many positive feedbacks that were given directly after the event.

As it was such a success, we have already decided to organize a similar workshop again. Details on this will be communicated well in advance through personal contacting of our OEM-partners as well as on our website.

DECTRIS celebrates ten years

To mark the tenth anniversary of DECTRIS, employees and their families celebrated with friends, users and partners. Below are some impressions from a memorable day.


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ACA 2016 Lunchtime Seminar: presentations online

At the ACA Meeting 2016 DECTRIS organized a Lunchtime Seminar with more than 100 attendees. The presentations of the Lunchtime Seminar are available for download. Sign in to our website to get access to the downloads.

The new PILATUS3 R CdTe detector series for high-energy X-ray applications in the laboratory was introduced by Marcus Mueller. Mathias Meyer from Rigaku Oxford Diffraction presented first results and observations with the new detectors. Clemens Schulze-Briese then talked about the established and successful EIGER X detectors for cutting-edge synchrotron research. The seminar concluded with a presentation by Scott Barton from Molmex Scientific about how to get the most out of HPC detectors in laboratory SAXS and GISAXS.