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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

On-sky performance verification of near infrared eAPD technology for wavefront sensing at ground based telescopes, demonstration of e-APD pixel performance to improve the sensitivity of large science focal planes and possibility to use this technology in space
Author(s): G. Finger; Ian Baker; D. Alvarez; F. Eisenhauer; G. Hechenblaikner; D. Ives; L. Mehrgan; M. Meyer; J. Stegmeier; H. J. Weller

Paper Abstract

Ground based near infrared adaptive optics as well as fringe tracking for coherent beam combination in optical interferometry required the development of high-speed sensors. Because of the high speed, a large analog bandwidth is needed. The short exposure times result in small signal levels which require noiseless detection. Both of these conflicting requirements cannot be met by state-of-the-art conventional CMOS technology of near infrared arrays as has been attempted previously[1][2]. The HgCdTe electron avalanche photo diode (eAPD) technology is the only way to overcome the limiting CMOS noise barrier of near infrared sensors. Therefore, ESO funded the development of the near infrared SAPHIRA 320x256 pixel e-APD arrays at LEONARDO [3][4][5][6][7]. SAPHIRA arrays have now become the devices of choice for control loops with unsurpassed performance [21]. This has also been demonstrated by the four wavefront sensors and the fringe tracker deployed in the VLTI instrument GRAVITY which set a new sensitivity standard in infrared interferometry [8][9]. It has also been demonstrated that APD arrays have extremely low dark current (1E-3 electrons/s/pixel) and may outperform conventional CMOS arrays for 100 second integrations when operated with moderate APD gains. For AO systems of extremely large telescopes and for co-phasing segmented mirror telescopes larger formats are needed. Therefore, a 512x512 pixel SAPHIRA array with 64 parallel video outputs optimized for pyramid wavefront sensing is in development. Since the SAPHIRA array has successfully passed radiation hardness testing it soon may be used for future instruments in space. Apart from the large array common voltage for high APD gain it can also be operated with voltages compatible with the space qualified SIDECAR ASIC [10].

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2019
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 11180, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018, 111806L (12 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2536156
Show Author Affiliations
G. Finger, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Ian Baker, Leonardo (United Kingdom)
D. Alvarez, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
F. Eisenhauer, Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (Germany)
G. Hechenblaikner, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
D. Ives, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
L. Mehrgan, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
M. Meyer, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
J. Stegmeier, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
H. J. Weller, Leonardo (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11180:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018
Zoran Sodnik; Nikos Karafolas; Bruno Cugny, Editor(s)

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