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By Kitchin, Christopher R

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However, for some applications, such as adaptive optics, images have to be obtained, processed and the correcting optics adjusted on a time scale of a millisecond or so. It is then vital to have a detector with the shortest possible read-out time. 19 Physical structure of a two-phase CCD. 20 Voltage cycles for a two-phase CCD. then accumulates again under the buried electrode. Thus, cycling the electrode voltages, which may be done from a single clock, causes the charge packets to move through the structure of the CCD, just as for the three-phase device.

Subtracting a dark frame from the image can further reduce the dark signal. ) identical to the main image, except that the camera shutter remains closed whilst it is obtained. It therefore just comprises the noise elements present within the detector and its electronics. Because the dark noise itself is noisy, it may be better to use the average of several dark frames obtained under identical conditions. 5m. 5m) available from a typical photographic image. A major problem with CCDs used as astronomical detectors is the noise introduced by cosmic rays.

The photoelectron from the photocathode is accelerated by the voltage difference between the photocathode and the CCD and hits the CCD at high energy, producing many electron-hole pairs in the CCD for each incident photon. This might appear to give the device a quantum efficiency of over 100% but it is in effect merely another type of amplifier; the signal-to-noise ratio remains that of the basic device (or worse) and so no additional information is obtained. Confusingly, low light level CCDs (LLLCCD or L3CCD) are also known as EMCCDs because they have a high on-chip amplification and so their basic output is many electrons for a single photon input.

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