Amptek is a high technology company and a recognized world leader in the design and manufacture of state-of-the-art nuclear instrumentation for the satellite, x-ray and gamma ray detection, laboratory, analytical, and portable instrumentation industries.


Amptek was founded in 1977 by Alan C. Huber and John A. Pantazis to fulfill the needs of space instrumentation for off-the-shelf, high performance, high reliability, small size and low power dissipation instruments and components. Shortly thereafter, Amptek hybrid preamplifiers became the standard for the space industry as they were used worldwide by instrument makers in both Earth satellites and deep space probes. In 1986 Amptek expanded to designing and manufacturing full satellite instruments. Numerous plasma analyzers, electron and ion detectors, and radiation monitors have been developed by Amptek and flown in both military, research, and commercial spacecraft. Amptek designed and built 42 complete space instruments.

Amptek applied its experience and knowledge of high performance space instruments to developing commercial radiation detectors and electronics in the 1990’s. In 1994 it received the R&D 100 award for the XR-100 X-Ray detector as one of the years most technologically significant products. The XR-100 opened new markets as the technology was both cost effective and portable. In 1996 it was selected for the Mars Pathfinder Mission and landed on Mars on July 4th, 1997. By 2003 the XR-100 was the standard in the industry. It is now the foundation for the most widely used X-Ray detectors for XRF in the world.

On August 4, 2014, Amptek was acquired by AMETEK, Inc. where it is now a unit of the Materials Analysis Division.

Space Related Products

Space applications of Amptek’s products include hybrid preamplifiers and front-end electronics, plasma analyzers (ESA), and radiation monitors/dosimeters (CEASE). Some examples of space missions in which Amptek’s products have been included or have been selected for flight are:

Technical overview of several Amptek space instruments.

Click here for a description of the different spaceflight instruments and programs with which Amptek has been involved.

Commercial Products

XR-100 X-Ray Detector

Taking advantage of its experience in building hybrid circuits and satellite instrumentation Amptek developed the XR-100 X-ray detector for commercial use. After winning the coveted R&D 100 award in 1994, this simple to use, thermoelectrically cooled X-Ray detector has been the technological breakthrough responsible for replacing cumbersome liquid nitrogen cooled detectors in many applications. Although developed for commercial use, the XR-100 was selected for the Pathfinder Mission to Mars where it successfully analyzed rocks and soil using X-Ray Fluorescence techniques (XRF). This successful instrument is the detector of choice in numerous Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM) applications using the XRF method.

When Amptek began development of the thermoelectrically cooled detector there was virtually no hand-held or portable XRF market. No cost-effective technology existed with good enough performance in a small enough package that could be incorporated into a portable XRF analyzer. As the detector resolution improved, more applications emerged and the XR-100 series became the standard of the industry. The thermoelectrically cooled detector has lowered the cost of XRF analysis, therefore providing access to the technique to markets and users never before thought possible by the analytical industry. With a low cost, high performance solution, XRF will expand and find new markets and applications as technological challenges demand innovative and reliable solutions.

DPP Digital Pulse Processors

The Amptek DPP is a state of the art, high performance, low power digital pulse processor. It digitizes the preamplifier output signals, replacing both the shaping amplifier and MCA in a traditional, analog spectroscopy system. The DPP offers several clear advantages over traditional systems, including improved performance (very high resolution, reduced ballistic deficit, higher throughput, and enhanced stability), enhanced flexibility, low power consumption, small size, and low cost.

Gamma-Rad5 Gamma-Ray Detector

The Gamma-Rad5 is a powerful, portable instrument combining a complete NaI Scintillation Probe with a Digital Pulse Processor that provides high quality detection and spectroscopic information. This makes the Gamma-Rad and ideal detector as a shipping container or portal monitor in Homeland Security applications. Within the next few years 100% of all inbound shipping containers must be scanned and the point of entry. The Gamma-Rad is well situated to be the detector of choice as it scans the container while it is removed from the ship to the port thereby adding no additional time to the flow of commerce.

Commercial Applications of Amptek’s Products Include:

  • X-Ray and Gamma Ray Detection
  • RoHS/WEEE Compliance Testing
  • Process Control
  • Non-Destructive Analysis with XRF
  • Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM)
  • Nuclear Plant Monitoring
  • Plastic and Metal Separation
  • Sulfur in Oil & Coal Detection
  • Plating Thickness
  • Research Experiments & Teaching
  • Medical and Nuclear Electronics

Registered Trademarks of Amptek Inc.

  • Amptek®
  • Amptektron®
  • CoolFET®


Our Facility

Amptek, Inc. is located in Bedford, MA a suburb about 20 minutes from Boston. The building is 24,000 square feet with state-of-the-art production, R&D, and clean room facilities. It was custom designed and renovated by Amptek to meet the growing needs of the company in 2005.

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Our Products

Our products are used by researchers, educators, scientists, and OEMs to measure X-Rays, Gamma rays, and for other applications.

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