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 XR100 X-Ray detector as one of the years most technologically significant products. The XR100 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 XR100 was the standard in the industry. It is now the most widely used X-Ray detector for XRF in the world.
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:
Click here for a description of the different spaceflight instruments and programs with which Amptek has been involved.
XR100 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 XR100 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.
MCA8000A Multichannel Analyzer
The MCA8000A ‘POCKET MCA’ is a state-of-the-art, compact, low power Multichannel Analyzer (MCA) with the high performance found only in much larger systems. From 20 years of experience in building scientific spacecraft instrumentation, Amptek has developed specialized, high density circuitry that gives the MCA8000A a significant advantage over other MCAs. All that is needed to operate the MCA8000A is a computer with a standard RS-232 serial interface. Superior performance results from a sophisticated low-power peak hold circuit (Amptek PH300) followed by a 16 bit analog to digital converter with sliding scale linearization. Spectra are accumulated in nonvolatile memory and read out by a microcontroller. Advanced power management techniques maximize battery life. The MCA8000A provides the performance necessary for semiconductor detectors such as HPGe, Si and CdTe/CZT. At the same time, it provides the portability needed in the field.
Cool-X Miniature X-Ray Generator
The Cool-X is a novel, miniature X-ray generator which uses a pyroelectric crystal to generate electrons that produce X-rays in the target material (Cu). The hermetically sealed package has a thin beryllium window which allows the X-rays to be transmitted. The Cool-X does not use radioisotopes or high power X-ray tubes. It is a self contained, solid state system which generates X-rays when the crystal is thermally cycled. It is ideal for replacing radioisotopes in teaching labs. Due to its low power it is also used in portable applications as it can run on a 9 V battery. The Cool-X was awarded the R&D 100 Award in 2003 as one of the year’s most technologically significant products.
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.
Other innovative products from Amptek are the the A250CF CoolFET® Charge Sensitive Preamplifier, the lowest noise, general purpose preamplifier available, and the Mini-X USB controlled portable x-ray tube.
Commercial Applications of Amptek's Products Include:
Registered Trademarks of Amptek Inc.
14 De Angelo Drive
Bedford, MA. 01730 U.S.A.
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