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ACTinBlack (ACT) is a leading developer and manufacturer specializing in Advanced Night Vision Optics. In addition to producing high quality Night Vision Equipment, ACT is a recognised researcher in the field of Night Vision Technologies in Luxembourg.

Working with the world’s leading sub-suppliers as well as the best universities in Optical and Night Vision research, ACT partners with law enforcement and military to develop premier quality Night Vision products and solutions.

ACT provides high end products through years of experience and is able to offer qualified advice and services with a selection of products to fit the client’s needs. Knowing all customers are not the same, ACT provide customer specific solution within a short reaction time to solve the most difficult of challenges faced by our customer.


The development of Gen 3 IITs started end of the 1970 and the first contract for Gen 3 IITs (the OMNI I contract) was signed in 1981.
There are several differences between the Gen 3 and Gen 2+ technology. Main difference is that Gen 3 uses GaAs photocathodes instead of the multialkali photocathodes used in Gen 2+. Their conversion-rate is much higher then any of the Gen 2+ tubes. But they have one drawback, due to the nature of GaAs, they deteriorate much faster and have a lifespan of only about 200h. So they added a thin oxidation layer on to it, limiting its conversion-rate but extending its lifespan to more then 15.000h. This film layer usually cuts the conversion-rate in half. On a side note, the conversion rate is also given in most datasheets and is called the Luminous Sensitivity measured at withe light (2856°K) and the unit is uA/lm. (uA being the electrons and lm the light, lumens, so how many electrons do you get per Lumen) We will go deeper in to the numbers and how to evaluate a datasheet in another Sundays post.

The very first Gen 3 IIT was developed in Germany mid 70?s. The US was quick to acquire the technology and further develop it. ITT and Litton became the leading manufacturers. Then in Russia, Katod started manufacturing Gen 3 IITs. Today in Germany, the country where it all started, Harder Digital is producing tubes with great performance. Recently due to corporate takeovers ITT (Exelis) is now part of Harris and Litton is now part of the L3 group.

Then there is Photonis, perfecting the Gen 2+ multialkali technology with astonishing results. Tubes where one is unable to tell a difference compared to a good gen 3 tube. They do have some very distinct advantages, such as excellent highlight performance, a very small halo and shock resistant up to 500G. These tubes are widely used in Europe, both military and civilian applications. The XD-4 and XR5 being mostly used by military and the Supergen line is the civilian version, tubes that did not meet one or more of the military requirements.

Mythical Gen 4, yes they do exist, there was a short period where they where officially called Gen 4. Today they are called infinity tubes, manufactured by L3. In the late 90?s Litton managed to alter the GaAs photocathode in a way so that one didn?t need a oxidation film to protect it from deteriorating to fast. This meant a much better light to electrons conversion rate resulting in outstanding lowlight performance. However, they where expensive to manufacture and very shock sensitive, but they are still even today seen as the nonplus ultra of all IITs.


What tube manufacturers do you have?
We use either Photonis or Harder.

Photonis is a high-tech organization experienced in innovating, developing, manufacturing, and selling photo sensor technologies.

Our facilities are localized around the world; our headquarters are located in Merignac (France) and we have production facilities located in Brive-la-Gaillarde (France), Roden (The Netherlands), Sturbridge (United States of America) and Lancaster (United States of America). In these facilities our operators work daily on supplying our customers with a wide range of high performance products, each supported by departments such as Research & Development (R&D), Engineering and Program Management. GmbH was established in 1999 as a private company. GmbH facility located in the north part of Germany , Turm Thurau, Woltersdorf, Germany. In March 2008 GmbH became a major shareholder of Serbian Image Intensifiers Manufacturing SOVA (former “Ei Sova”). During January 2010 GmbH had completed all legal privatization proceedings of SOVA and both facilities form company.

Can you give me details about your tubes?
Please read our image intensifier info page:

We are authorized ACTinBlack dealer in Canada.
NOTE: ACTinBlack's warranty is valid to customers who have purchased this product from an authorized ACTinBlack dealer in the U.S.A. or Canada.
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