Hybrid Photon Counting HPC technology allows digital counting of single photons in real time with energy discrimination, ensuring only photons of the desired wavelength are measured. Since the charge generated by a photon is counted immediately, there is no noise added to the photon count by the detector. This gives unprecedented sensitivity and measurement accuracy for both weak and strong signals at the same time.
Charge Coupled Device (CCD) detectors are a well-refined and established technology providing excellent data quality, and were considered to be the gold standard of home lab diffractometery for many years. CCDs are known for their excellent uniformity and very low noise, but their readout speed is much slower than that of HPC technology.
Experimentally determining the absolute structure of light atom compounds typically requires high-quality instrumentation in order to be able to see very small differences in the intensities of Friedel pairs arising from anomalous scattering. High accuracy and precision of measured intensities are key requirements for the detector, which in turn requires it to be extremely sensitive and to possess a large dynamic range whilst still producing little to no noise. This type of experiment relies on many of the key attributes a detector should possess, thus was chosen as a means to compare the two technologies.