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Optimization of CCD Charge Transfer for Ground and Space-Based Astronomy


Bilgi, Pavaman (2019) Optimization of CCD Charge Transfer for Ground and Space-Based Astronomy. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/CNKG-8Y84.


This thesis will be of particular interest to anyone integrating Charge-Coupled Devices (CCDs) into any precision scientific imaging instrument, especially so in space. The first part of the thesis concerns optimization of a CCD camera as a whole. CCDs for the WaSP imager at the Hale telescope are characterized using a minimal amount of data using just a flat-field illumination source. By measuring performance over the entire parameter space of (clock and bias) inputs and analyzing the multidimensional output (linearity, dynamic range, read noise etc), optimal operating conditions can be selected quickly (and possibly automatically). With ever growing sizes of detector arrays such as the recently launched Gaia mission, the upcoming Euclid mission and ground-based cameras such as the LSST (189 CCDs), the task of streamlining detector optimization will be increasingly important. In the second (larger) part, the optimization of Charge Transfer Efficiency (CTE) is explored in particular. In modern CCDs, CTE is caused by lattice defects in the bulk silicon and is significantly worsened by radiation exposure, which is unavoidable in space. As shown in the literature, just a year of exposure to high energy solar proton radiation at low earth orbit can result in CTE reducing to 0.9999 for a signal level of 10,000e- — problematic for most precision astronomical measurements. Here, CTE degrading traps are fully explored in an undamaged CCD to new levels of accuracy. Several unique species are identified, and their population statistics are analyzed by both wafer and sub-pixel location. Subsequently, easily applied CTE measurement techniques are presented, yielding results with new levels of accuracy, concluding in the presentation of a new trap mitigating readout clocking scheme. This scheme can be readily applied to any CCD employing a parallel transfer gate without readout speed penalty. It is proposed that the results herein may be used to construct a simple model to predict CTE given a temperature, readout timing and signal level. This model could then be used to automatically optimize CTE for any CCD, given only its trap parameter statistics.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:CCD, Astronomy, Precision, Charge transfer, CTE
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Kulkarni, Shrinivas R. (advisor)
  • Pellegrino, Sergio (co-advisor)
Group:Astronomy Department, GALCIT
Thesis Committee:
  • Meiron, Daniel I. (chair)
  • Smith, Roger M.
  • Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.
  • Pellegrino, Sergio
Defense Date:10 April 2019
Non-Caltech Author Email:pavan.bilgi (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05302019-172558320
Persistent URL:
Bilgi, Pavaman0000-0002-2642-8553
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11574
Deposited By: Pavaman Bilgi
Deposited On:03 Jun 2019 19:36
Last Modified:16 Jan 2021 00:48

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