5 August 2016 The effect of proton radiation on the EMCCD for a low Earth orbit satellite mission
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Abstract
We report on the proton radiation effects on a 1k x 1k e2v EMCCD utilized in the Nüvü EM N2 1024 camera. Radiation testing was performed at the TRIUMF Proton Irradiation Facility in Canada, where the e2v CCD201-20 EMCCD received a 105 MeV proton fluence up to 5.2x109 protons/cm2, emulating a 1 year’s radiation dose of solar protons in low earth orbit with nominal shielding that would be expected from a small or microsatellite. The primary space-based application is for Space Situational Awareness (SSA), where a small telescope images faint orbiting Resident Space Objects (RSOs) on the EMCCD, resulting in faint streaks at the photon level of signal in the images. Of particular concern is the effect of proton radiation on low level CTE, where very low level signals could be severely impaired if not lost. Although other groups have reported on the characteristics of irradiated EMCCDs, their CTE results are not portable to this application. To understand the real impact of proton irradiation the device must be tested under realistic operating conditions with representative backgrounds, clock periods, and signal levels. Testing was performed both in the laboratory and under a night sky on the ground in order to emulate a complex star background environment containing RSOs. The degradation is presented and mitigation techniques are proposed. As compared to conventional CCDs, the EMCCD with high gain allows faint and moving RSOs to be detected with a relatively small telescope aperture, at improved signal to noise ratio at high frame rates. This allows the satellite platform to take sharp images immediately upon slewing to the target without the need for complex and relatively slow attitude stabilization systems.
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Ken Smith, Ken Smith, Olivier Daigle, Olivier Daigle, Alan Scott, Alan Scott, Louis Piche, Louis Piche, Danya Hudson, Danya Hudson, "The effect of proton radiation on the EMCCD for a low Earth orbit satellite mission", Proc. SPIE 9915, High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy VII, 991508 (5 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233620; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233620
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