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Proceedings Paper

The SAPHIRA detector: a near-infrared photon counter for astronomy
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Paper Abstract

The SAPHIRA is currently the only astronomical device capable of counting photons in the NIR while showing other performance easily comparable to the ubiquitous HAWAII arrays. Photon counting was previously only available in astronomy with high dark currents, prohibiting observation of many astronomical targets. Initiated by the European Southern Observatory for work on the VLT’s GRAVITY instrument, it was further developed by the University of Hawai’i and greatly improved, including a reduction of dark current by 3+ orders of magnitude. Development continues, with further improvements in dark current relative to avalanche gain and larger array sizes to be shown. Since initial deployments, it has now become a vital device in several astronomical instruments, and remains the only array capable of counting NIR photons for low-background astronomical targets.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2019
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10978, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XIII, 109780A (13 May 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2519883
Show Author Affiliations
Dani E. Atkinson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Donald N. B. Hall, Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of Hawai'i (United States)
Shane M. Jacobson, Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of Hawai'i (United States)
Ian M. Baker, Leonardo S.p.A.. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10978:
Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XIII
Mark A. Itzler; Joshua C. Bienfang; K. Alex McIntosh, Editor(s)

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