Ageing and proton irradiation damage of a low voltage EMCCD in a CMOS process

Dunford, A.; Stefanov, K. and Holland, A. (2018). Ageing and proton irradiation damage of a low voltage EMCCD in a CMOS process. Journal of Instrumentation, 13, article no. C02059.



Electron Multiplying Charge Coupled Devices (EMCCDs) have revolutionised low light level imaging, providing highly sensitive detection capabilities. Implementing Electron Multiplication (EM) in Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) can increase the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) and lead to further developments in low light level applications such as improvements in image contrast and single photon imaging. Demand has grown for EMCCD devices with properties traditionally restricted to Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors, such as lower power consumption and higher radiation tolerance. However, EMCCDs are known to experience an ageing effect, such that the gain gradually decreases with time. This paper presents results detailing EM ageing in an Electron Multiplying Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (EMCMOS) device and its effect on several device characteristics such as Charge Transfer Inefficiency (CTI) and thermal dark signal. When operated at room temperature an average decrease in gain of over 20% after an operational period of 175 hours was detected. With many image sensors deployed in harsh radiation environments, the radiation hardness of the device following proton irradiation was also tested. This paper presents the results of a proton irradiation completed at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) at a 10 MeV equivalent fluence of 4.15 × 1010 protons/cm2. The pre-irradiation characterisation, irradiation methodology and post-irradiation results are detailed, demonstrating an increase in dark current and a decrease in its activation energy. Finally, this paper presents a comparison of the damage caused by EM gain ageing and proton irradiation.

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