The Dark Energy Survey Camera (DECam) will be comprised of a mosaic of 74 charge-coupled devices (CCDs). The
Dark Energy Survey (DES) science goals set stringent technical requirements for the CCDs. The CCDs are provided by
LBNL with valuable cold probe data at 233 K, providing an indication of which CCDs are more likely to pass. After
comprehensive testing at 173 K, about half of these qualify as science grade. Testing this large number of CCDs to
determine which best meet the DES requirements is a very time-consuming task. We have developed a multistage
testing program to automatically collect and analyze CCD test data. The test results are reviewed to select those CCDs
that best meet the technical specifications for charge transfer efficiency, linearity, full well capacity, quantum efficiency,
noise, dark current, cross talk, diffusion, and cosmetics.
The Dark Energy Camera is an wide field imager currently
under construction for the Dark Energy Survey.
This instrument will use fully depleted 250 μm thick
CCD detectors selected for their higher quantum efficiency
in the near infrared with respect to thinner devices.
The detectors were developed by LBNL using
high resistivity Si substrate. The full set of scientific
detectors needed for DECam has now been fabricated,
packaged and tested. We present here the results of
the testing and characterization for these devices and
compare these results with the technical requirements
for the Dark Energy Survey.
The Dark Energy Survey Collaboration is building the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), a 3 square degree, 520
Megapixel CCD camera which will be mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at CTIO. DECam will be used to
perform the 5000 sq. deg. Dark Energy Survey with 30% of the telescope time over a 5 year period. During the
remainder of the time, and after the survey, DECam will be available as a community instrument. Construction of
DECam is well underway. Integration and testing of the major system components has already begun at Fermilab and
the collaborating institutions.
DECam is a 520 Mpix, 3 square-deg FOV imager being built for the Blanco 4m Telescope at CTIO. This facility
instrument will be used for the "Dark Energy Survey" of the southern galactic cap. DECam has chosen 250 μm thick
CCDs, developed at LBNL, with good QE in the near IR for the focal plane. In this work we present the characterization
of these detectors done by the DES team, and compare it to the DECam technical requirements. The results demonstrate
that the detectors satisfy the needs for instrument.
The Dark Energy Camera will be comprised of 74 CCDs with high efficiency out to a wavelength of 1 micron.
The CCDs will be read out by a Monsoon-based system consisting of three boards: Master Control, CCD
Acquisition, and Clock boards. The charge transfer efficiency (CTE) is closely related to the clock waveforms
provided by the Clock Board (CB). The CB has been redesigned to meet the stringent requirements of the Dark
Energy Survey. The number of signals provided by the clock board has been extended from 32 (the number
required for 2 CCDs) up to 135 signals (the number required for 9 CCDs). This modification is required to fit
the electronics into the limited space available on the imager vessel. In addition, the drivers have been changed
to provide more current. The first test result with the new clock board shows a clear improvement in the CTE
response when reading out at the higher frequencies required for the guide CCDs.
We describe the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), which will be the primary instrument used in the Dark Energy Survey.
DECam will be a 3 sq. deg. mosaic camera mounted at the prime focus of the Blanco 4m telescope at the Cerro-Tololo
International Observatory (CTIO). DECam includes a large mosaic CCD focal plane, a five element optical corrector,
five filters (g,r,i,z,Y), and the associated infrastructure for operation in the prime focus cage. The focal plane consists of
62 2K x 4K CCD modules (0.27"/pixel) arranged in a hexagon inscribed within the roughly 2.2 degree diameter field of
view. The CCDs will be 250 micron thick fully-depleted CCDs that have been developed at the Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory (LBNL). Production of the CCDs and fabrication of the optics, mechanical structure, mechanisms,
and control system for DECam are underway; delivery of the instrument to CTIO is scheduled for 2010.
A description of the plans and infrastructure developed for CCD testing and characterization for the DES focal plane detectors is presented. Examples of the results obtained are shown and discussed in the context of the device requirements for the survey instrument.