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High-Speed CCDs for Adaptive Optics Applications

 

 

  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
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 document PDF 178 kB]
 
     
  Scientific Publications:  
     
PDF document 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]  
     
PDF document A high speed pnCCD detector system for optical applications NIM A 568, 118-123 (2006) [PDF 201 kB]  
     
  More information:  
     
Link to external website ESO website European Extremely Large Telscope (E-ELT)  
     
Link to external website ESO website European Very Large Telescope (VLT)  
     
Link to external website Website of the KECK Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, USA.  
     
     
To internal topic back to Collaborations, Experiments & Projects – Overview  
     
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Photo of the electronic side of a split frame transfer CCD with 264 pixels by 264 pixels