Cameca is a manufacturer of scientific instruments, namely material analysis instruments based on Charged particle beam
Charged particle beam
A charged particle beam is a spatially localized group of electrically charged particles that have approximately the same velocity . The kinetic energies of the particles are typically measured in keV or MeV, much larger than the energies of particles at ambient temperature...

 , ion
An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. The name was given by physicist Michael Faraday for the substances that allow a current to pass between electrodes in a...

s or electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...



The company was founded as a subsidiary of Compagnie générale de la télégraphie sans fil  (CSF), en 1929, as « Radio-cinéma » at the time of the emergence of the talkies. The job was to design and manufacture Movie projectors for big cinema screening rooms

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, spurred on by Maurice Ponte, director of CSF and a future member of the French Academy of Sciences, the company manufactures scientific intruments developped in university French laboratories:
Electric arc
An electric arc is an electrical breakdown of a gas which produces an ongoing plasma discharge, resulting from a current flowing through normally nonconductive media such as air. A synonym is arc discharge. An arc discharge is characterized by a lower voltage than a glow discharge, and relies on...

Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and radiated energy. Historically, spectroscopy originated through the study of visible light dispersed according to its wavelength, e.g., by a prism. Later the concept was expanded greatly to comprise any interaction with radiative...

 at the beginning of the fifties, Castaing Microprobe
Electron microprobe
An electron microprobe , also known as an electron probe microanalyzer or electron micro probe analyzer , is an analytical tool used to non-destructively determine the chemical composition of small volumes of solid materials...

 from 1958, then Secondary Ion Analysers
Secondary ion mass spectrometry
Secondary ion mass spectrometry is a technique used in materials science and surface science to analyze the composition of solid surfaces and thin films by sputtering the surface of the specimen with a focused primary ion beam and collecting and analyzing ejected secondary ions...

 from 1968. Also in the early fifties settles the company in the factory of Courbevoie
Courbevoie is a commune located very close to the centre of Paris, France. The centre of Courbevoie is situated 2 kilometres from the outer limits of Paris and 8.2 km...

, boulevard Saint-Denis where it will remain more than fifty years. The Spark Spectrometer was abandonned at the end of the fifties.

The name of CAMECA, standing for Compagnie des Applications Mécaniques et Electroniques au Cinéma et à l'Atomistique was given in 1954. The business of movie projectors has been stopped soon after 1960, but in the sixties, there is a short-lived revival of the film business through the adventure of the Scopitone
Scopitone is a type of jukebox featuring a 16 mm film component. Scopitone films were a forerunner of music videos. The Italian Cinebox/Colorama and Color-Sonics were competing, lesser-known technologies of the time....


From 1977, year of the lanching of the IMS3F, Cameca has a virtual monopoly in the field of magnetic SIMS
Secondary ion mass spectrometry
Secondary ion mass spectrometry is a technique used in materials science and surface science to analyze the composition of solid surfaces and thin films by sputtering the surface of the specimen with a focused primary ion beam and collecting and analyzing ejected secondary ions...

, while it must share the market Castaing microprobe
Electron microprobe
An electron microprobe , also known as an electron probe microanalyzer or electron micro probe analyzer , is an analytical tool used to non-destructively determine the chemical composition of small volumes of solid materials...

 with Japanese competitors, including Jeol
is a manufacturer of electron microscopes and other scientific instruments. Its headquarters are in Tokyo, Japan, with 25 subsidiaries and two associated companies....

. Semiconductor industry
Semiconductor industry
The semiconductor industry is the aggregate collection of companies engaged in the design and fabrication of semiconductor devices. It formed around 1960, once the fabrication of semiconductors became a viable business...

 is a very important outlet for magnetic SIMS. At the end of the XXth century, Cameca gets a foothold in a third analytical technique, Tomographic atom probe.

In 1987, Cameca left the Thomson-CSF
Thomson-CSF was a major electronics and defence contractor. In December 2000 it was renamed Thales Group.-History:In 1879 Elihu Thomson and Edwin Houston formed the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in the United States....

 group and was suject to a Leveraged buyout
Leveraged buyout
A leveraged buyout occurs when an investor, typically financial sponsor, acquires a controlling interest in a company's equity and where a significant percentage of the purchase price is financed through leverage...

 operation led by its management and its employees. In 2001, the company was sold to a small French Private equity
Private equity
Private equity, in finance, is an asset class consisting of equity securities in operating companies that are not publicly traded on a stock exchange....

 fund, and then to another private equity fund conrolled by the big US Carlyle Group
Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group is an American-based global asset management firm, specializing in private equity, based in Washington, D.C. The Carlyle Group operates in four business areas: corporate private equity, real assets, market strategies and fund-of-funds, through its AlpInvest subsidiary...

. This last owner sold again Cameca to the US group Ametek
AMETEK, Inc is a manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices with headquarters in the United States and over 80 manufacturing sites worldwide....


From 1975, the number of employee has been about 200. Subsidiaries were created in United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, Taïwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 and Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. These subsidiaries were engaged in commercial and maintenance activities and employ a few dozen people.

The company in 2011

In 2011, according to the website of the company, its business can be shared into two different markets: Scientific intruments deditated to research activities and metrology
Metrology is the science of measurement. Metrology includes all theoretical and practical aspects of measurement. The word comes from Greek μέτρον , "measure" + "λόγος" , amongst others meaning "speech, oration, discourse, quote, study, calculation, reason"...

 for the semiconductor industry. This last market addresses semiconductor fabrication cleanrooms with a dedicated version of the Castaing electron probe based on the LEXES technique (Low Energy Electron induced X-Ray emission Spectrometry) developped at the beginning of the XXIst century.
Cameca instruments are wellknown in academic communities, including the fields of Geochemistry
The field of geochemistry involves study of the chemical composition of the Earth and other planets, chemical processes and reactions that govern the composition of rocks, water, and soils, and the cycles of matter and energy that transport the Earth's chemical components in time and space, and...

 and Planetary science
Planetary science
Planetary science is the scientific study of planets , moons, and planetary systems, in particular those of the Solar System and the processes that form them. It studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, aiming to determine their composition, dynamics, formation,...

  that had earned the company to be cited dozens of times in scientific journals such as Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

 or Science
Science (journal)
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....


In 2010, Ametek purchased the Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 start-up Imago Scientific Instruments
Imago Scientific Instruments
Imago Scientific Instruments is a company founded in 1999 by Dr. Tom Kelly. At that time Tom Kelly was the Director of the Materials Science Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but left his tenured position in 2001 to guide the company's growth...

 and attached it to Cameca. Cameca holds therefore the monopoly in the manufacturing of atom probe
Atom probe
The atom probe is a microscope used in material science that was invented in 1967 by Erwin Wilhelm Müller, J. A. Panitz, and S. Brooks McLane. The atom probe is closely related to the method of Field Ion Microscopy, which is the first microscopic method to achieve atomic resolution, occurring in...


External links

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