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Characterization of low light performance of a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor sensor for ultraviolet astronomical applications

Greffe, Timothee and Smith, Roger and Sherman, Myles and Harrison, Fiona and Earnshaw, Hannah and Grefenstette, Brian and Hennessy, John and Nikzad, Shouleh (2022) Characterization of low light performance of a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor sensor for ultraviolet astronomical applications. Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems, 8 (2). Art. No. 026004. ISSN 2329-4124. doi:10.1117/1.jatis.8.2.026004.

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Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) detectors offer many advantages over charge-coupled devices (CCDs) for optical and ultraviolet (UV) astronomical applications, especially in space where high radiation tolerance is required. However, astronomical instruments are most often designed for low light-level observations demanding low dark current and read noise, good linearity, and high dynamic range, characteristics that have not been widely demonstrated for CMOS imagers. We report the performance, over temperatures from 140 to 240 K, of a radiation hardened SRI 4k × 2k back-side illuminated CMOS image sensor with surface treatments that make it highly sensitive in blue and UV bands. After suppressing emission from glow sites resulting from defects in the engineering grade device examined, a 0.077 me⁻/s dark current floor is reached at 160 K, rising to 1 me⁻/s at 184 K, rivaling that of the best CCDs. We examine the trade-off between readout speed and read noise, finding that 1.43 e⁻ median read noise is achieved using line-wise digital correlated double sampling at 700 kpix/s/ch corresponding to a 1.5 s readout time. The 15 ke⁻ well capacity in high gain mode extends to 120 ke⁻ in dual gain mode. Continued collection of photogenerated charge during readout enables a further dynamic range extension beyond 10⁶ e⁻ effective well capacity with only 1% loss of exposure efficiency by combining short and long exposures. A quadratic fit to correct for non-linearity reduces gain correction residuals from 1.5% to 0.2% in low gain mode and to 0.4% in high gain mode. Cross-talk to adjacent pixels is only 0.4% vertically, 0.6% horizontally, and 0.1% diagonally. These characteristics plus the relatively large (10  μm) pixel size, quasi 4-side buttability, electronic shutter, and sub-array readout make this sensor an excellent choice for wide field astronomical imaging in space, even at far-UV wavelengths where sky background is very low.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Greffe, Timothee0000-0003-4594-1827
Smith, Roger0000-0001-7062-9726
Sherman, Myles0000-0002-6573-7316
Harrison, Fiona0000-0003-2992-8024
Earnshaw, Hannah0000-0001-5857-5622
Grefenstette, Brian0000-0002-1984-2932
Hennessy, John0000-0002-0135-0219
Additional Information:© 2022 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Received: 9 December 2021; Accepted: 25 March 2022; Published: 22 April 2022. We thank the SRI team for packaging multiple detectors and performing screening tests, and for their advice during our detector characterization effort. We acknowledge the support of JPL and Caltech’s President and Director’s Research and Development Fund (PDRDF Program) which supported the majority of this investigation. We also gratefully acknowledge the collaborative agreement between APL-SRI-JPL that made wafers available for this work.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
JPL President and Director's FundUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:complementary metal-oxide semiconductor; SRI Mk × Nk; ultraviolet; dark current; glow suppression; dual-gain
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220621-436943100
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Timothee Greffe, Roger Smith, Myles Sherman, Fiona Harrison, Hannah Earnshaw, Brian Grefenstette, John Hennessy, and Shouleh Nikzad "Characterization of low light performance of a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor sensor for ultraviolet astronomical applications," Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 8(2), 026004 (22 April 2022).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:115220
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Jun 2022 19:57
Last Modified:28 Jun 2022 18:13

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