Sep 3 – 8, 2017
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Europe/London timezone

Mitigating Radiation Damage in Photon Counting EMCCDs for the WFIRST Coronagraph: survival in an L2 orbit

Sep 6, 2017, 9:50 AM
Berrill Lecture Theatre (OU)

Berrill Lecture Theatre (OU)

The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA


Leon Harding (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)


The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a NASA flagship space observatory due to launch in the mid-2020s. In addition to probing dark energy and carrying out broad infrared surveys with the Wide-Field Instrument, WFIRST will also image and spectrally characterize extrasolar planets with a coronagraph at an unprecedented level of sensitivity. The faint planet targets require photon counting detectors to meet the stringent signal-to-noise requirements, with a CCD201-20 EMCCD sensor baselined for flight. However, the challenging WFIRST L2 radiation environment must first be considered. Radiation effects in the form of displacement damage from protons can hinder the charge transfer efficiency (CTE) of EMCCDs, as well as affecting dark current and other performance. In order to investigate these effects, we established a photon-counting laboratory at JPL, where we designed and completed a pre- and post-irradiation study of these sensors. Beyond characterization, which also included studies of read out noise, clock induced charge and electron multiplication gain, we discuss techniques we developed to identify damaged regions of the devices and mitigate their effects. Finally, we outline an on-going EMCCD technology development program currently underway between JPL and Teledyne e2v to modify the CCD201-20 for radiation hardness in space.

Primary authors

Leon Harding (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Patrick Morrissey (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Michael Bottom (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Richard Demers (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Robert Effinger (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Bijan Nemati (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Larry Hovland (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Yuki Maruyama (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Nathan Bush (The Open University) David Hall Ross Burgon (The Open University) Prof. Andrew Holland (The Open University) Dr Doug Jordan

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