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11 October 2013 Electron-multiplying CCDs for future space instruments
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Proceedings Volume 8915, Photonics North 2013; 89150Q (2013)
Event: Photonics North 2013, 2013, Ottawa, Canada
The rapid proliferation of Electron Multiplying Charge Coupled Devices (EMCCDs) in recent years has revolutionized low light imaging applications. EMCCDs in particular show promise to enable the construction of versatile space astronomy instruments while space-based observations enable unique capabilities such as high-speed accurate photometry due to reduced sky background and the absence of atmospheric scintillation. The Canadian Space Agency is supporting innovation in EMCCD technology by increasing its Technology Readiness Level (TRL) aimed at reducing risk, cost, size and development time of instruments for future space missions. This paper will describe the advantages of EMCCDs compared to alternative low light imaging technologies. We will discuss the specific issues associated with using EMCCDs for high-speed photon counting applications in astronomy. We will show that a careful design provided by the CCD Controller for Counting Photons (CCCP) makes it possible to operate the EMCCD devices at rates in excess of 10 MHz, and that levels of clock induced charge and dark current are dramatically lower than those experienced with commercial cameras. The results of laboratory characterization and examples of astronomical images obtained with EMCCD cameras will be presented. Issues of radiation tolerance, charge transfer efficiency at low signal levels and life time effects on the electron-multiplication gain will be discussed in the context of potential space applications.
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Oleg Djazovski, Olivier Daigle, Denis Laurin, Mireille Bedirian, Marie-Eve Ducharme, Étienne Artigau, and René Doyon "Electron-multiplying CCDs for future space instruments", Proc. SPIE 8915, Photonics North 2013, 89150Q (11 October 2013);

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