|High-Speed CCDs for Adaptive Optics Applications|
|The current generation of ground based optical telescopes, e.g. the European-VLT or the Keck telescope have already yielded scientific results comparable to those obtained by the Hubble telescope in space. The driving forces for these results are advances in adaptive optics (AO). For the next generation of ground based optical and near infrared (NIR) telescopes, AO is one of the most crucial developments for astronomical instrumentation. One of the mayor issues will be the development of appropriate wave front sensors.||
Artist’s bird’s eye view of the European Extremely Large Telescope. (Courtesy of European-ELT).
|Originally designed for X-ray applications, the MPI HLL built pnCCD comprising many characteristics of an optical wave front sensor. Its concept of a column parallel readout and integrated first stage of amplification results in frame rates of more than 1,000 frames per second with a noise performance of less than three electrons. The large sensitive volume of this detector leads to a high detection efficiency even in the NIR region.|
|Adaptive optics has
found widespread use in astronomical settings during the past years
to compensate for atmospheric turbulences and telescopic aberrations.
Almost all current generation ground based optical and NIR telescopes
such as the European-VLT or the Keck telescope are using
this technique to improve the angular resolution.
Due to advances in AO, these telescopes are often performing at the diffraction limit of the main optics. A new generation of ground based optical and NIR telescopes with total mirror surfaces stretching between 30 m to 100 m in diameter may open a completely new window to universe: They are starting to produce unprecedented results with a resolution and sensitivity hundred or even thousand times beyond what is available today.
AO systems for future telescopes such as the European-VLT will require wave front sensors comprising very large pixel arrays (256 pixels by 256 pixels, up to 1,024 pixels by 1,024 pixels) due to the fact that these telescopes are going to have deformable mirrors with several thousand actuators.
[more... PDF 178 kB]
|pnCCDs for Ultra-Fast and Ultra-Sensitive Optical and NIR Imaging Proceedings of the HTRA Workshop, Sept. 2007, Edinburgh, AIP Conf. Proc. 984 (2008) 115-120 [PDF 593 kB]|
|A high speed pnCCD detector system for optical applications NIM A 568, 118-123 (2006) [PDF 201 kB]|
|ESO website European Extremely Large Telscope (E-ELT)|
|ESO website European Very Large Telescope (VLT)|
|Website of the KECK Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, USA.|
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