We present the progress in characterization of a Nuv¨ u Cam ¨ eras CCD Controller for Counting Photons ¯ (CCCP) designed for extreme low light imaging in space environment with the 1024×1024 Teledyne-e2V EMCCD detector (the CCD201-20). The EMCCD controller was designed using space qualified parts before being extensively tested in thermal vacuum. The performance test results include the readout noise, clock-induced charges, dark current, dynamic range and EM gain. We also discuss the CCCP’s integration in the coronagraph of the High-Contrast Imaging Balloon System project: a fine-pointing and optical payload for a future Canadian stratospheric balloon mission. This first space qualified EMCCD controller, named CCCPs, will enhance sensitivity of the future low-light imaging instruments for space applications such as the detection, characterization and imaging of exoplanets, search and monitoring of asteroids and space debris, UV imaging, and satellite tracking.
Scientific EMCCD cameras have demonstrated excellent imaging performance under extreme low light conditions. Photon counting capability combined with a very low dark current offered by the CCD technology have made EMCCDs the detector of choice for high-performance applications such as time resolved spectroscopy and low light imaging. However, future astronomical instrumentation requires high spatial resolution while commercially available EMCCD devices are limited by a relatively modest area format of (1kx1k). To address this requirement, the Universitė de Montrėal and Teledyne-e2v have jointly developed a 4kx4k EMCCD, the CCD282. This paper presents the results of cryogenic characterization of the CCD282 operated with Nüvü Camēras’ CCD Controller for Counting Photons version 3. The advantages of a novel large format EMCCD over existing technology for high resolution spectroscopy are discussed.