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Commentary: JWST near-infrared detector degradation— finding the problem, fixing the problem, and moving forward

Rauscher, Bernard J. and Smith, Roger (2012) Commentary: JWST near-infrared detector degradation— finding the problem, fixing the problem, and moving forward. AIP Advances, 2 (2). Art. No. 021901. ISSN 2158-3226. doi:10.1063/1.4733534.

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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. JWST will be an infrared-optimized telescope, with an approximately 6.5 m diameter primary mirror, that is located at the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point. Three of JWST’s four science instruments use Teledyne HgCdTe HAWAII-2RG (H2RG) near infrared detector arrays. During 2010, the JWST Project noticed that a few of its 5 μm cutoff H2RG detectors were degrading during room temperature storage, and NASA chartered a “Detector Degradation Failure Review Board” (DD-FRB) to investigate. The DD-FRB determined that the root cause was a design flaw that allowed indium to interdiffuse with the gold contacts and migrate into the HgCdTe detector layer. Fortunately, Teledyne already had an improved design that eliminated this degradation mechanism. During early 2012, the improved H2RG design was qualified for flight and JWST began making additional H2RGs. In this article, we present the two public DD-FRB “Executive Summaries” that: (1) determined the root cause of the detector degradation and (2) defined tests to determine whether the existing detectors are qualified for flight. We supplement these with a brief introduction to H2RG detector arrays, some recent measurements showing that the performance of the improved design meets JWST requirements, and a discussion of how the JWST Project is using cryogenic storage to retard the degradation rate of the existing flight spare H2RGs.

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Additional Information:© 2012 The Author(s). This article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Received 23 April 2012; accepted 20 May 2012; published online 28 June 2012. This work was supported by NASA as part of the James Webb Space Telescope Project. The JWST DD-FRB acknowledges the excellent contributions from Evans Analytical Group (Larry Rice) for FIB sample preparation and SEM test data and Hi-Rel Labs (Roger Devaney) for dicing/mechanical polishing sample preparation and SEM/EDS test data.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
James Webb Space Telescope ProjectUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:astronomical telescopes, cryogenics, infrared detectors, reliability
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:PACS: 95.55.Fw; 07.20.Mc; 07.57.Kp; 85.60.Gz
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120730-134834803
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:32795
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 17:23
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 21:30

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