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SPARC cathodoluminescence

High-performance SEM
cathodoluminescence detector


The SPARC is a high-performance SEM cathodoluminescence detector. The system is unique for its modular design, ease-of-use, multiple imaging modes and the ability to be retrofitted on any scanning electron microscope (SEM)The sensitivity and flexibility make it possible to take any cathodoluminescence application to the next level.

With a one-of-a-kind high-precision mirror stage, the SPARC opens up new avenues of research such as electron beam-induced nanophotonics. The SPARC is also the best-performing cathodoluminescence detector with an angle-resolved mode.

The system is ideal for the optimal collection and detection of cathodoluminescence emission, enabling fast and sensitive material characterization at the nanoscale.

The SPARC is being used worldwide for research in optics, materials science, geology, and life sciences. See our resource library for a list of publications for which the SPARC system was used.



SPARC cathodoluminescence detector by Delmic


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Intensity mapping of a zircon imaged with SEM cathodoluminescence and SPARC cathodoluminescence detector

High-end research

Full characterization

The SPARC is the ultimate platform for studying spectroscopic information at the nanoscale. The system is closely integrated with an SEM, which allows you to easily correlate cathodoluminescence imaging with different SEM detection modalities such as EBSD, EBIC and BSD. This enables full in-situ characterization of your sample.

Seamless integration

The mounting of the hardware is done on a vacuum port such that it is minimally invasive for the SEM. It takes less than five minutes to bring the SEM back to its full original configuration.


To see more examples, visit our image gallery.


If you are interested in the exact specifications, download the SPARC Specifications Sheet.

Unsurpassed sensitivity

Automated alignment procedure

The unique and precise automated alignment procedure provides unrivaled user-friendliness. The aluminium paraboloid collection mirror has an ultraflat surface, thus enhancing the photon yield and enabling high-quality angle-resolved imaging.

automated alignment photon yield automated alignment photon yield

Motorized mirror stage

Fully retractable

In order to ensure the best performance, the mirror has been mounted on a motorized high-precision stage to enable reproducible alignment between experiments. This allows you to quantitatively compare different measurements.

Full experimental freedom

Modular design

The open-source software and modular nature of the SPARC offers you full experimental freedom and guarantees a future proof setup that is easy to upgrade to all cathodoluminescence imaging modularities.

SPARC SEM cathodoluminescence detector

Various imaging modes

Fast-intensity mapping SEM cathodoluminescence

Fast-intensity mapping

A fast analog PMT detector can be used for large-scale imaging. This allows for the rapid inspection of large areas, ideal for geological applications, fast device inspection, and efficient region-of-interest finding. A filter wheel can be used for spectral differentiation.

angle-resolved SEM cathodoluminescence spectroscopy

Angle-resolved cathodoluminescence spectroscopy

The SPARC provides the unique option to acquire angle-resolved images. Rather than focusing the light signal on a fiber or narrow opening, an image of the mirror can be projected onto an imaging camera. This allows for the detection of the directionality of the emitted light, also known as momentum spectroscopy. In this mode, a filter wheel is used to spectrally distinguish the different emission wavelengths.

hyperspectral SEM cathodoluminescence imaging

Hyperspectral imaging

When the SPARC system is used in spectral mode, the light coming from the mirror is focused on a slit or fiber connected to a Czerny-Turner spectrograph. A variety of imaging detectors can be used to cover a spectral range of 200-1600 nm. By scanning the e-beam across the sample, a spatially resolved hyperspectral image is produced.

SEM cathodoluminescence polarimetry

Cathodoluminescence polarimetry

Using a polarizer or even a full polarimeter in the angle-resolved mode allows for the reconstruction of the polarization state (Stokes vector) of CL for different emission angles. An advanced correction for the optical system including the paraboloid mirror is required for this reconstruction. This is provided with the polarization system.


Time-resolved cathodoluminescence imaging

With a Lab Cube module, an add-on for the standard SPARC spectral system, it is now possible to perform g(2) and lifetime imaging and observe the time dynamics of various nanomaterials. Time-resolved imaging is highly relevant for a wide range of applications, including semiconductors for photovoltaics and light-emitting devices, as well as single emitters for quantum information processing and sensing.



Lens-Scanning Energy-momentum cathodoluminescence

Lens-Scanning Energy-Momentum (LSEK) Cathodoluminescence Imaging is a new technique which can be applied to track the directionality through energy and momentum space with very high precision. It is a great tool for mapping the optical properties of a wide range of dispersive and anisotropic systems, paving the way for a broad range of studies on complex nanophotonic systems.


ODEMIS software

ODEMIS is a software package which is being used for all Delmic microscopes to analyze the imaging workflow. The modular approach in combination with the open-source acquisition software ODEMIS ensures a user-friendly solution that can serve a broad user base as well as delivering a system that is a truly unique and an ultimately versatile research instrument.


Powerful tools that improve your imaging workflow include automated peak fitting, immediate polar plotting, export functionality and drift correction. For expert users, a scripting interface in Python gives you full control of the hardware and the imaging algorithms.



ODEMIS software for cathodoluminescence acquisition and analysis


Customer Testimonial

Ruggero Verre using SPARC cathodoluminescence system

Dr. Ruggero Verre is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Applied Physics at the Chalmers University of Technology, and a user of the SPARC system. His work in the group, headed by Prof. Mikael Käll, focuses on optical antennas: devices that are capable of amplifying and manipulating light on the nanoscale. On his experience as a SPARC user, he says:

"DELMIC has developed an integrated solution and provided excellent one-to-one support which has been of help to our research.”

Click here to read his full customer testimonial [PDF].

Technical notes




Application notes


White papers



If you are interested in the brochure with the exact specifications, you can download it here.

For specific questions regarding the SPARC platform, feel free to contact our CL application specialist, Toon Coenen, at For more general inquiries about other uses of the SPARC system, please contact Daan van Oosten Slingeland at