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14 October 2019 Direct measurement of the Kepler Space Telescope CCD’s intrapixel response function
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Space missions designed for high precision photometric monitoring of stars often undersample the point-spread function, with much of the light landing within a single pixel. Missions such as MOST, Kepler, BRITE, and TESS do this to avoid uncertainties due to pixel-to-pixel response nonuniformity. This approach has worked remarkably well. However, individual pixels also exhibit response nonuniformity. Typically, pixels are most sensitive near their centers and less sensitive near the edges, with a difference in response of as much as 50%. The exact shape of this fall-off, and its dependence on the wavelength of light, is the intrapixel response function (IPRF). A direct measurement of the IPRF can be used to improve the photometric uncertainties, leading to improved photometry and astrometry of undersampled systems. Using the spot-scan technique, we measured the IPRF of a flight spare e2v CCD90 imaging sensor, which is used in the Kepler focal plane. Our spot scanner generates spots with a full-width at half-maximum of ≲3  μm across the range of 400 to 850 nm. We find that Kepler’s CCD shows similar IPRF behavior to other back-illuminated devices, with a decrease in responsivity near the edges of a pixel by ∼50  %  . The IPRF also depends on wavelength, exhibiting a large amount of diffusion at shorter wavelengths and becoming much more defined by the gate structure in the near-IR. This method can also be used to measure the IPRF of the CCDs used for TESS, which borrows much from the Kepler mission.

© 2019 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) 2329-4124/2019/$28.00 © 2019 SPIE
Dmitry Vorobiev, Alexis Irwin, Zoran Ninkov, Kevan Donlon, Douglas Caldwell, and Stefan Mochnacki "Direct measurement of the Kepler Space Telescope CCD’s intrapixel response function," Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 5(4), 041507 (14 October 2019).
Received: 29 March 2019; Accepted: 16 September 2019; Published: 14 October 2019

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