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15 July 2010 Pixel-One
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The early future of astronomy will be dominated by Extremely Large Telescopes where the focal lengths will be of the order of several hundred meters. This yields focal plane sizes of roughly one square meter to obtain a field of view of about 5 x 5 arcmin. When operated in seeing limited mode this field is correctly sampled with 1x1mm pixels. Such a sampling can be achieved using a peculiar array of tiny CMOS active photodiodes illuminated through microlenses or lightpipes. If the photodiode is small enough and utilizes the actual pixel technology, its dark current can be kept well below the sky background photocurrent, thus avoiding the use of cumbersome cryogenics systems. An active smart electronics will manage each pixel up to the A/D conversion and data transfer. This modular block is the Pixel-One. A 30x30 mm tile filled with 1000 Pixel-Ones could be the basic unit to mosaic very large focal planes. By inserting dispersion elements inside the optical path of the lenslet array one could also produce a low dispersed spectrum of each focal plane sub-aperture and, by using an array of few smart photodiodes, also get multi-wavelength information in the optical band for each equivalent focal plane pixel. An application to the E-ELT is proposed.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
F. Pedichini, A. Di Paola, and V. Testa "Pixel-One", Proc. SPIE 7735, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 773526 (15 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858117;


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