24 February 2003 Advances in microchannel plate detectors for UV/visible astronomy
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Advances in photocathodes (GaN, Diamond, GaAs), microchannel plates (Silicon MCP's), and readouts (Cross strip) are poised to make a significant impact on the capabilities of future space instruments. Alkali halide cathode efficiencies have been improved and GaN photocathodes have achieved >30% DQE in the UV with a bandpass limit of ~400nm. In addition diamond photocathodes have been made with 40% DQE and bandpass up to 200nm, and GaAs photocathodes with ~50% DQE in the visible have been made. This offers the potential for efficient photon counting from 10 - 900nm. Silicon MCP's of 25mm format with ~7μm pores, have been made, achieving gain of nearly 104 for a single Si MCP. The quantum detection efficiency for Si MCP's is the same as glass MCP's, but the background is as low as ~ 0.02 events sec-1 cm-2, the best for any MCP. Flat fields are free of any periodic modulation, and the gain uniformity is good. Silicon MCP's have low stopping power for X, gamma and cosmic rays, are stable at high temperatures (>800°C), and chemically compatible with many photocathodes. The cross delay line and cross strip anodes are based on multi-layer metal and ceramic cross strip patterns. Event positions are encoded by the difference of signal arrival times at the anode contacts (delay line) or by direct sensing of the charge on each strip (cross strip) and determination of the charge cloud centroid for each event. The spatial resolution (<5μm) achieved is sufficient to resolve 7μm microchannel plate pores while using low MCP gain (≈2 x 106). Image linearity is good enough to see distortions in the microchannel plate pore alignment, and the low MCP gain will enhance the overall lifetime of MCP detector systems.
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Oswald H. W. Siegmund, Oswald H. W. Siegmund, } "Advances in microchannel plate detectors for UV/visible astronomy", Proc. SPIE 4854, Future EUV/UV and Visible Space Astrophysics Missions and Instrumentation, (24 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.459802; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.459802

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