DECTRIS PILATUS Hybrid Pixel Detectors receive Red Dot Award for Product Design

tl_files/root/news/20140407-Red Dot Award/Red Dot Success Story pict.jpgEssen, Germany, April 2014: The DECTRIS PILATUS Hybrid Pixel Detector family receives the yearly Red Dot Product Design award. Together with its longterm partner Erdmann Design, DECTRIS developed the industrial design of the PILATUS detectors, which are installed into X-ray diffraction systems and at synchrotron beamlines. The advanced functionality combined with the design convinced the jury to distinguish the detector with the Red Dot award for Product Design.

Clemens Schulze-Briese, (CSO at DECTRIS): ”At DECTRIS we strive hard to develop and built the best possible X-ray detectors. For us, quality covers all aspects and every detail of our products, including their design. We were really delighted when we received the information that we won the Red Dot Award! This shows us, that even in the high-tech area product design plays an important role for the people.”

Corresponding to their slogan “In search of excellence” the jury was searching for innovative product designs. 1,816 manufacturers, designers and architects from 53 different countries sent their products to the design center in Germany. During several days the forty members of the jury selected the best designs from 4,815 applications. 

All winners will be celebrated at the 7th of July at the Red Dot Gala in Essen, Germany.

About Erdmann Design
Erdmann Design is an international design consultancy that helps companies create meaningful ideas, designs, and experiences that customers crave. We are driven by an obsession for understanding people, brands and technology. Formulating cultural and user insights, mapping opportunity spaces through strategic frameworks, and expressing compelling solutions are our strengths.

Rather than asking us to make an already developed idea more attractive to consumers, companies are asking us to create ideas that better meet consumer needs and desires. The former role is tactical, and results in limited value creation, the latter is strategic and leads to dramatically new forms of value. The impulse for a new idea comes often from an individual that wonders about the future.


About Red Dot Award

The Product Design competition has existed since 1954. Its award, the Red Dot, is an internationally recognised quality seal. The best products receive the Red Dot: Best of the Best award.

DECTRIS Ltd. Delivered Customized PILATUS 12M-DLS Detector to Diamond Light Source

Didcot (UK), April 2014: DECTRIS Ltd. delivered and installed the unique PILATUS 12M-DLS detector for the I23 beamline at Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility. The highly specialized in vacuum X-ray detector is an important component of the beamline, one of the most ambitious macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamlines to be built anywhere in the world.

tl_files/root/news/20140403_SuccessStory_12M-DLS/PILATUS 12M-DLS_small.jpgThe I23 beamline, with the PILATUS 12M-DLS as one of its key components, will facilitate challenging research on DNA, RNA, native proteins and other building blocks of life. The scientific goal of I23, to use long wavelengths to tackle the crystallographic phase problem, has long been hampered by strong air absorption and large scattering angles. However, this approach is vital for projects where protein labelling to introduce anomalous scattering is not feasible. The PILATUS 12M-DLS, a DECTRIS Specific Solution built in close collaboration with the I23 beamline team, effectively overcomes these limitations. Placing sample and detector in vacuum eliminates air absorption. The semi-cylindrical shape of the detector covers a 2θ range of ±100° and allows to simultaneously collect low- and high-resolution data.

Armin Wagner, Principal Beamline Scientist for I23, explains: “This beamline, which will come online for first users this summer, will be an important additional tool for crystallography at Diamond. It will utilise long wavelength X-rays and, in doing so, offer a unique facility for carrying out challenging research on DNA, RNA, native proteins and other building blocks of life. To facilitate this, we need an in vacuum detector that is calibrated for low-energy X-rays. When we began this project, no such detector was commercially available. DECTRIS helped us to turn an ambitious in vacuum low-energy detector development project into a reality."

The 12M-DLS detector is a customer specific solution to fulfill all requirements of the scientists at Diamond. It consists of 120 PILATUS detector modules mounted on a high precision frame to form a semi-cylindrical shape. With an active area of 0.34 m2, this is the largest PILATUS detector ever built. The detector can detect X-rays with low energies like 1.8 keV and it is vacuum compatible down to a pressure of 10-6 mbar. The modules are water-cooled and the system is built without a single direct water-to-vacuum connection, which greatly reduces the risk of vacuum contamination. For performance and maintenance reasons the read-out electronics are placed in an electrical cabinet outside the vacuum chamber. The electrical connections between the modules and the read-out electronics involve over 400 meters of vacuum cabling and over 6700 vacuum-to-air feedthrough pins. Finally, the electrical and software interface is identical to a standard PILATUS3 detector. Therefore the integration is very simple and existing tools and software can be used.

tl_files/root/news/20140403_SuccessStory_12M-DLS/Diamond scientists_smalla.jpg“On previous specific solution projects DECTRIS has gained extensive experience with in-vacuum detectors, custom geometries and special energy calibrations”, explains Benjamin Lüthi, project manager for the PILATUS 12M-DLS. “But the combination of these three key technologies on such a high level posed some real challenges. The results from the initial tests of the PILATUS 12M detector at the beamline exceed our expectation and we feel rewarded after all the hard work and many careful thoughts that went into this elaborate design.”


About DECTRIS Ltd.
DECTRIS Ltd. is one of the technically leading companies in X-ray detection. The DECTRIS photon counting detectors have transformed basic research at synchrotron light sources, as well as in the laboratory and with industrial X-Ray applications. DECTRIS aims to continuously improve the measurement quality, thereby enabling new scientific findings. The broad range of products is based on this pioneering technology, all scaled to meet the needs of various applications. DECTRIS also provides solutions for customer developments in scientific and industrial X-Ray detection. DECTRIS was awarded the 2010 Swiss Economic Award in the High-Tech Biotech category, the most prestigious prize for start-up companies in Switzerland

About Diamond
Diamond Light Source, a joint venture between the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust, is located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. By accelerating electrons to near light-speed, Diamond generates brilliant beams of light from infra-red to X-rays which are used for academic and industry research and development across a range of scientific disciplines including structural biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, earth and environmental sciences. For more information, please visit



IUCr-UNESCO OpenFactory hosted by STOE, DECTRIS & Xenocs

In the International Year of Crystallography 2014, STOE, DECTRIS & Xenocs jointly organize an IUCr-UNESCO OpenFactory. The event offers high quality education with hands-on training and courses by IUCr-lecturers as well as representatives from STOE, DECTRIS, and Xenocs. Participation is free of charge for accepted applicants, travel grants are provided by the organizing companies. In line of our commitment for Africa, DECTRIS provides travel grants for participant from African countries.

The intended audience are young scientists who are already knowledgeable about crystallography, but so far have little exposure to XRD. The OpenFactory will enable these scientists to become future thought leaders for crystallography and application of XRD in their home countries.

In Grenoble, the delegates will visit the ESRF (European Synchrotron) extensively and will be trained in small angle X-ray scattering at Xenocs’ headquarter. The participants will have the opportunity to visit beamlines and interact with scientists at ESRF. In Darmstadt, the participants will be trained in single crystal and powder XRD at STOE’s headquarter. DECTRIS will provide training in how to best exploit the advantages of Hybrid Pixel Detectors and various other aspects of X-ray detection. OpenFactory participants will also join the STOE annual user meeting, which offers unique networking opportunities with experienced crystallographers.

Candidates are invited to submit their written application, including CV and an essay, before March 30th, 2014. DECTRIS particularly encourages candidates from Africa to apply. For details and submitting an application please visit Please only use the IYCr website to apply, direct application to DECTRIS is not possible.

DECTRIS supports IYCr2014 and IUCr-UNESCO OpenLabs

The New Year we are about to welcome will be the International Year of Crystallography, IYCr2014. After supporting an educational project in Tanzania last year, IYCr2014 offers the unique opportunity to combine DECTRIS' dedication to education in Africa with supporting and promoting crystallography.

IUCr-UNESCO OpenLabs are a worldwide network of crystallographic laboratories, mostly in the developing countries. The OpenLabs project allows access to crystallographic knowledge and technology in all parts of the world, key for the fruitful development of science and advanced research.

DECTRIS supports the IUCr-UNESCO OpenLabs with a total of 20,000 Euros. This contribution is for OpenLabs in Africa and an OpenFactory project. The support for OpenLabs will allow students and young professors to participate in workshops and to benefit from hands-on crystallographic training. 

Finally, by sponsoring the keynote lecture of Jenny Glusker at the opening ceremony in January in Paris, DECTRIS makes a further contribution to IYCr2014. Check the DECTRIS website regularly during 2014 to read further news about our activities and involvement in the International Year of Crystallography.


Start up of GALAXI - laboratory SAXS/GISAXS beamline in Jülich

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Dr. Ulrich Rücker (on the left), beamline team and officials in the GALAXI experimental hutch during the inauguration ceremony on November 19th, 2013.    SAXS image of a nanoparticle solution recorded with PILATUS 1M at GALAXI and displayed by Albula, DECTRIS' free image viewer. 


Dr. Ulrich Rücker and his team at the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) have successfully put an outstanding SAXS instrument into operation. GALAXI (the Gallium Anode Low Angle X-ray Instrument) is an X-ray beamline in the laboratory dedicated to serve the needs for GISAXS and high-resolution SAXS investigations. The beamline's advanced laboratory X-ray source (MetalJet from Bruker AXS) is perfectly matched by highest performance X-ray detectors from DECTRIS: a PILATUS 1M hybrid pixel detector for recording SAXS data and a MYTHEN 1K strip detector for simultaneously recording WAXS signals with excellent angular resolution. The single-photon-counting technology of these detectors offers noise-free detection with a dynamic range of above 1:1,000,000, which assures that the SAXS/WAXS signals with their high intensity range can be optimally captured.

Ulrich Rücker, project leader of GALAXI, made a well-considered choice about the detectors for his beamline: "For our instrument, the PILATUS and MYTHEN detectors are superior to all other solutions due to their incredibly low background. This together with a careful design of the beamline enables us to measure very low GISAXS scattering signals, even if we need 30 minutes illumination time for a single picture."

A limited amount of time on the instrument is reserved for potential DECTRIS customers who would like to test the detectors on the beamline.

Links to: Official press release by FZ Jülich (in German) and  GALAXI instrument homepage

For more information please contact FZ Jülich or DECTRIS. 

Forschungszentrum Jülich
Dr. Ulrich Rücker
Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich Centre for Neutron Science – Streumethoden (JCNS-2)

Dr. Tilman Donath, Application Scientist

PILATUS3 accelerates vaccine development

Diamond Light Source currently operates more than 20 DECTRIS X-ray detectors.

Diamond Light Source is one of the world's currently operating top synchrotron science facilities. Using the highly brilliant X-ray light produced by Diamond, scientists conduct research on important issues of our future. The findings of this research are highly sought after in a variety of scientific fields. They enable the development of nano- and high-performance materials such as more efficient catalysts and energy storage materials. Also, medical research and drug development is greatly driven forward by the knowledge gained at Diamond.

Particularly in the field of structure-based drug development, Diamond has developed over the last 10 years into one of the world's leading facilities. Recently, a team of virologists and structural biologists achieved a breakthrough in improving the vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease. This disease is still a major problem in livestock farming, often with disastrous economic consequences. The outbreak in England in 2001 caused the death of 7 million animals and economic losses of about £ 2 billion. Research at Diamond allowed scientists to determine the spatial structure of the foot-and-mouth disease virus particles at atomic resolution. Using this knowledge, a new type of vaccine could be developed. Atom by atom, the researchers changed the vaccine specifically and substantially improved its stability at high temperatures. The result is a safe and effective vaccine that can easily be produced and transported and has the potential to make the disease manageable worldwide. The powerful X-ray detectors from DECTRIS played an important role in this breakthrough. Thanks to their high speed and high image quality, a novel measurement method could be used that allows to acquire more and higher quality diffraction images of the very sensitive virus crystals.

Motivated by similar success and on request from Diamond, DECTRIS has developed over the past 18 months PILATUS3, the third generation of their PILATUS X-ray detectors. The first devices of the world's fastest X-ray cameras, acquiring up to 500 images per second, have now been installed at two synchrotron beamlines at Diamond in April. In early June, the detectors were officially inaugurated in a joint ceremony of Diamond and DECTRIS. After a timely delivery within a critical deadline, the first results obtained with PILATUS3 have sparked a lot of enthusiasm among Diamond's scientists. A complete dataset of several hundred images can now be acquired in less than a second. Only a few years ago such measurements lasted at least 10 minutes. More importantly, the measured data are of the highest quality. The structural biologists and pharmaceutical researchers will use PILATUS3 to develop further improved and highly efficient measurement protocols, enabling previously impossible experiments. The results obtained with these novel methods will continue to drive forward the development of drugs and vaccines.

First PILATUS3 6M and 2M delivered to Diamond Light Source

PILATUS3 is DECTRIS' latest generation of ultimate performance Hybrid Pixel Detectors. This new series of X-ray detectors for the most demanding synchrotron applications was introduced in July 2012 at the International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation. The roadmap outlined to scientists and customers upon product launch scheduled first delivery of PILATUS3 2M and 6M for May and July 2013, respectively. With first delivery in April, DECTRIS is months ahead of the roadmap and meets critical deadlines of Diamond Light Source.

After less than two days of commissioning with our support team on site, the detectors are now running flawlessly at their maximum frame rates. The PILATUS3 6M with a maximum frame rate of 100 Hz will further facilitate outrunning of radiation damage at room temperature.


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PILATUS3 2M at beamline I22 The team of beamline I24 with their new PILATUS3 6M

PILATUS enables progress in Diffractive Imaging

A recent publication in Nature shows how diffractive imaging methods can be generalized [1]. The authors present a Ptychographic Imaging experiment with the PILATUS detector to demonstrate their findings. Simultaneous reconstruction of sample and wave front of the illuminating beam is achieved in this experiment, even using a not fully coherent X-ray beam.
The PILATUS photon-counting pixel detector applied enables the precise measurement of the diffraction pattern around the very intense direct beam with high spatial resolution (PSF: 1 pixel). The new series of PILATUS3 detectors increases the measurement speed by offering even higher count rates up to 107 cps and frame rates of up to 500 Hz in diffractive imaging.

DECTRIS congratulates the authors to their research, which paves the way for a wider application of diffractive imaging techniques! 

[1] "Reconstructing state mixtures from diffraction measurements"
P. Thibault & A. Menzel, Nature 494, 68–71 (2013), doi:10.1038/nature11806

HDF5 and NeXus for EIGER and beyond

EIGER hybrid pixel detectors feature substantial progress towards faster frame rates and higher pixel density. This poses challenges in handling of large data rates and volumes for the detector system itself as well as the research facilities exploiting EIGER. To tackle these challenges, DECTRIS initiated a collaboration with The HDF Group as well as PSI and DESY, which face similar demands at synchrotrons and free electron lasers. The solutions to these challenges can not only be applied to EIGER, but are generally of great importance for sustained data acquisition at high rates.

Compression is an essential approach to handle large data volumes. However, at high data rates, compression has to be fast and data need to be compressed in parallel. To this end, DECTRIS and PSI financed development of an extension that allows to pass precompressed chunk data to the HDF5 library. Furthermore, development of a plug-in mechanism for dynamic loading of custom filters by The HDF Group was promoted by DESY. This allows to readily use suitable algorithms for fast compression and decompression with HDF5. The new extensions are scheduled for release with HDF5 1.8.11 in May 2013. Another challenge was the concurrent high-speed data writing and real-time experiment logging within the NeXus data format. The solution is a file architecture comprising a master file and a small number, depending on data volume, of data files. This approach enables simultaneous writing of experiment data and metadata. Extensions to the NeXus format allow logging of metadata specific to single photon counting detectors.

In their combination, the solutions and developments achieved in the collaboration between PSI, DESY, The HDF Group and DECTRIS pave the way to an efficient use of EIGER and any state-of-the-art detector delivering high data rates. Furthermore, the groundwork is laid for a multitude of applications with sustained high data rates at synchrotrons, free electron lasers and other research facilities that plan to use HDF5/NeXus as a framework for data management.

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DECTRIS supports Education Project in Tanzania

tl_files/root/news/20121224/helvetas-logo-4.gifDECTRIS’ success in providing outstanding X-ray detectors to our customers is based on innovation and technological leadership, for which education is a prerequisite. However, education is also the basis for economic, political and social development. As such, education is an important step towards poverty reduction in every country. For this reason, DECTRIS donates 30’000 CHF for an education project in Tanzania implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, a Zurich based NGO for development cooperation.

Education and advanced training for teachers has been neglected in Tanzania for a long time, notably in the context of strained budgets. This is reflected by the poor performances of pupils in the country. The Tanzanian Teacher Union (TTU), in close collaboration with Helvetas, offers a comprehensive teacher training programme to improve the quality of primary education in English Language, Mathematics, Natural Science and Education for Sustainable Development. In addition, the programme makes adequate learning and teaching materials available to schools. Read HELVETAS’ acknowledgement here.


Image: Helvetas