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24 October 2013Investigations on performance of Electron Multiplied CCD detectors (EMCCDs) after radiation for observation of low light star-like objects in scientific space missions
The DLR Institute of Planetary Exploration has proposed a novel design of a space instrument accommodated on a
small satellite bus (SSB) that is dedicated to the detection of inner earth objects (IEOs) from a low earth orbit (LEO).
The instrument design is based on a focal plane consisting of electron multiplied CCDs (EMCCD) operating at high
frame rates for compensation of the spacecraft’s pointing jitter at very low effective readout noise. The CCD
detectors operate at a nominal operating temperature of -80°C and at a frame rate of 5fps.
It is well known, that CCD detectors are prone to space radiation. However, EMCCD, designed to detect very low
light levels of a few electrons, have not yet been used in space. Therefore, investigations have been initiated and
performed by DLR for evaluation of the performance of EMCCDs before and after radiation. The main scope of the
investigations was the characterization of the charge transfer efficiency (CTE) at low light levels because of its key
impact on the detection performance. The non-ionizing dose effects of space high energy particle radiation on the
detector were simulated by 60MeV protons at two different fluence levels. The low light-CTE was measured with
point light sources without and with background-light.
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H. Michaelis, T. Behnke, S. Mottola, A. Krimlowski, B. Borgs, A. Holland, M. Schmid, "Investigations on performance of Electron Multiplied CCD detectors (EMCCDs) after radiation for observation of low light star-like objects in scientific space missions," Proc. SPIE 8889, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XVII, 88891D (24 October 2013);