Comparison of light detection by rod photoreceptors, cone photoreceptors, photomultiplier tubes (PMT), and charge-coupled devices (CCD)

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Reference F. Rieke and D. A. Baylor, Single-photon detection by rod cells of the retina, Rev. Mod. Phys. 70, 1027 – Published 1 July 1998 DOI: link p.1035 table I
Comments "Rod photoreceptors detect and encode incident photons exceptionally well, providing highly sensitive input to the visual system at low light levels. They collect sparse photons with high efficiency, as more than 25% of the photons incident on the retina produce a rod response. They maintain a low dark noise, equivalent to a light producing one absorbed photon every 90 sec in a human rod. And they generate reproducible responses to each absorbed photon, allowing the number of photons absorbed to be accurately determined from the rod signals. In lights producing more than one absorbed photon per rod every 10–20 sec, Poisson fluctuations in the incident photons dominate the rod’s internal noise, and the cell acts as a nearly perfect photon counter. The performance of a mammalian rod is compared with that of a cone photoreceptor, a photomultiplier tube (PMT) and a charge-coupled device (CCD) in Table I. Rods have lower dark noise and smaller pixel areas than the PMT and CCD, but the PMT’s integration time is much shorter. Cones have a lower quantum efficiency and much larger dark noise than the rods, but a shorter integration time." See note above table
Entered by Uri M
ID 111345