Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Might there be a way to do a rough estimate of the quantum efficiency of a photo-detector like a CCD or CMOS sensor based only on a picture taken with it? I've read papers and guides (like this one: http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/digital.photons.and.qe/) that are along the lines of what I'm thinking, but I'm wondering if there might be a way to do it without the need for a well-calibrated light source.

It wouldn't be an extremely accurate estimate without the calibration, of course, but is it even possible?

share|improve this question
People who work with devices of that type can probably give you a rule-of-thumb value or range. For instance, I know that high-acceptance, visible-light PMTs typically run between 0.1 and 0.3 (depending on how much you paid for them) simply because I have had repeated encounters with them over the years. –  dmckee Jul 29 at 16:06
Alternately, if you can get your hands on a few datasheets of similar devices you may be able to use their performance as a guide to your thinking. –  dmckee Jul 29 at 16:15
Yes, that would be nice. Unfortunately, my project calls for a method that would apply "universally," so to speak. The cameras I'm working with are rarely, if ever, used anywhere else, don't have much documentation, and I lack the proper resources to calculate it using a calibrated star or some other fancy equipment. It wouldn't be the end of me to not figure it out, but it sure would help. –  A Blue Shoe Jul 30 at 15:47

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.