Line scan cameras at the Arctic World Archive

Over 2 years ago Vieworks introduced hybrid TDI line scan cameras, based on proprietary sensors combining CMOS and CCD technologies. Since the introduction they have been used in myriad of applications from flat panel displays, semiconductor inspection, genomics to some very unusual and captivating applications.

A Norwegian company called PIQL AS ( from Drammen, has been known in the past for digitizing film. Recently they have converted their technology to a new surprising use: scanning data, digitizing it and converting it to filem with the purpose of storing this data offline in an Arctic World Archive.

In an cold climate of the Svalbard archipelago where Global Seed Vault has been built to preserve the world plant seeds, a new facility has been created:  Arctic World Archive. It is located deep inside arctic mountains with permafrost and ideal climatic conditions to preserve valuable and sensitive data for hundreds of years. Digitized heritage data like Mexican National Archive, National Archive of Brazil and many others are digitized and stored there for at least 500 years according to PIQL.

Because the date is saved in analogue form on a film and stored offline, there is no chance for it to being accessed, hacked, modified or deleted. It is saved in a secure and safe place where the data will be available when all other systems fail.

PIQL selected specifically 12K TDI camera model from Vieworks for their PiqlReader system. There key consideration was the sensitivity of the TDI technology being far superior when compared to a standard line scan camera technology. There were two other reasons why they decided on using Vieworks: dimensions allowing them us to upgrade the existing scanners without mechanical rework and a low price. The sensor uses CCD pixel array with low signal to noise ratio and high dynamic range plus the transfer of charge without adding any extra noise from A/D conversion ensures the best image quality. In addition, underlying CMOS sensor structure is adding much faster readout speed and low power consumption plus A/D conversion done inside the chip eliminating the need to add additional complex circuitry outside the sensor.

PIQL uses Active Silicon’s FireBird CoaXpress frame grabber to connect with the Vieworks camera and to capture the images with the encrypted data to be converted back to visual domain. The CoaXpress transfer rate is extremely important, since huge amount of data need to be converted.