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Proceedings Paper

Aeronomical application of a germanium near-infrared (NIR) detector
Author(s): John Noto; Robert B. Kerr; Richard J. Rudy; R. Williams; James H. Hecht
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Paper Abstract

The wavelength region surrounding 1.0 micrometers has traditionally been a difficult one to observe. GaAs and silicon both have very low quantum efficiency in the NIR, while some improvements can be made by pre-flashing and oxygen soaking a silicon CCD. Greater improvement can be realized by using a material other then silicon as a substrate. Recently, detector technology has improved to the point where NIR observations can be made almost routinely. Scientifically, the NIR region is ideal for the study of molecular line and band emission, as well as low energy atomic transitions. A collaboration between Boston University and the Aerospace Corporation has resulted in a germanium based detector used in conjunction with an infrared optimized Fabry-Perot spectrometer. Gold plated mirrors were installed and the appropriate transmissive optics are used in the Fabry-Perot to optimize the NIR transmission. The detector is a germanium PIN diode coated with a layer of silicon-nitride. Current produced by the detector is measured by using a capacitive trans-impedance amplifier (CITA). An A/D converter samples the amplified capacitor voltage and outputs a 12 bit word that is then passed on to the controlling computer system. The detector, amplifier, and associated electronics are mounted inside a standard IR dewar and operated at 77 degree(s)K. We have operated this detector and spectrometer system at Millstone Hill for about 6 months. Acceptable noise characteristics, a NEP of 10-17 watts, and a QE of 90% at 1.2 micrometers , have been achieved with an amplifier gain of 200. The system is currently configured for observations of thermospheric helium, and has made the first measurement of the He 10,830 angstrom nightglow emission isolated from OH contamination. In an effort to both increase the sensitivity of our Fabry-Perot in the visible and to adapt it for planetary astronomy we have entered into a collaboration with CIDTEC. A charge injection detector or CID has some unique capabilities that distinguish it from a CCD and we are evaluating it as a detector for the Hadinger fringe pattern produced by a Fabry-Perot. The CID allows non- destructive readout and random access of individual pixels within the entire frame, this allows for both `electronic masking' of bright objects and allows each fringe to be observed without having to readout a large number of dark pixels.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 September 1994
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2266, Optical Spectroscopic Techniques and Instrumentation for Atmospheric and Space Research, (30 September 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.187550
Show Author Affiliations
John Noto, Boston Univ. (United States)
Robert B. Kerr, Boston Univ. (United States)
Richard J. Rudy, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
R. Williams, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
James H. Hecht, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2266:
Optical Spectroscopic Techniques and Instrumentation for Atmospheric and Space Research
Jinxue Wang; Paul B. Hays, Editor(s)

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