29 July 2016 Optical and dark characterization of the PLATO CCD at ESA
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Abstract
PLATO – PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars – is the third medium-class mission (M3) to be selected in the European Space Agency (ESA) Science and Robotic Exploration Cosmic Vision programme. It is due for launch in 2025 with the main objective to find and study terrestrial planets in the habitable zone around solar-like stars. The payload consists of >20 cameras; with each camera comprising 4 Charge-Coupled Devices (CCDs), a large number of flight model devices procured by ESA shall ultimately be integrated on the spacecraft. The CCD270 – specially designed and manufactured by e2v for the PLATO mission – is a large format (8 cm x 8 cm) back-illuminated device operating at 4 MHz pixel rate and coming in two variants: full frame and frame transfer. In order to de-risk the PLATO CCD procurement and aid the mission definition process, ESA’s Payload Technology Validation section is currently validating the PLATO CCD270. This validation consists in demonstrating that the device achieves its specified electrooptical performance in the relevant environment: operated at 4 MHz, at cold and before and after proton irradiation. As part of this validation, CCD270 devices have been characterized in the dark as well as optically with respect to performance parameters directly relevant for the photometric application of the CCDs. Dark tests comprise the measurement of gain sensitivity to bias voltages, charge injection tests, and measurement of hot and variable pixels after irradiation. In addition, the results of measurements of Quantum Efficiency for a range of angles of incidence, intra– pixel response (non-)uniformity, and response to spot illumination, before and after proton irradiation. In particular, the effect of radiation induced degradation of the charge transfer efficiency on the measured charge in a star-like spot has been studied as a function of signal level and of position on the pixel grid, Also, the effect of various levels of background light on the amount of charge lost from a star image are described. These results can serve as a direct input to the PLATO consortium to study the mission performance and as a basis for further optimization of the CCD operation.
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Peter Verhoeve, Thibaut Prod'homme, Tim Oosterbroek, Ludovic Duvet, Thierry Beaufort, Sander Blommaert, Bart Butler, Jerko Heijnen, Frederic Lemmel, Cornelis van der Luijt, Hans Smit, Ivo Visser, "Optical and dark characterization of the PLATO CCD at ESA", Proc. SPIE 9915, High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy VII, 99150Z (29 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232336; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232336
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