Novel Developments in Scientific EMCCDs

Dunford, Alice Georgina Fleur (2021). Novel Developments in Scientific EMCCDs. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis presents a complete characterisation and an assessment of the technology readiness of a new Electron Multiplying Charge Coupled Devices (EMCCD) technology. Several factors of interest are studied here including, charge transfer efficiency, gain ageing and radiation effects from protons. Many light-starved and high-speed image applications (e.g. observation from space and automated visual inspection) can benefit from Time Delay Integration (\acrshort{tdi}) as it allows photoelectrons from multiple exposures to be summed in the charge domain with no added noise. Electron multiplication (EM) can be used to further increase the signal to noise ratio for extremely faint light signals. There is a growing demand for Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (\acrshort{cmos}) sensors with the same or greater functionality and even better performance. The research presented here analyses the functionality of a recently designed EMCCD in a CMOS process. This device (EMTC1) incorporates two novel EM pixel structures which enable high gain at relatively low voltages. The theory and architecture of Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) and EMCCDs are discussed, providing a technical background for the results. Furthermore, the practical methods, including experimental techniques developed for this device's testing, are presented here. Ageing within the device is a primary focus within this thesis, as is the effect of proton irradiation. The effects of the radiation damage on parameters such as dark current and Charge Transfer Inefficiency (CTI) have been documented along with its effect on EM gain. These results have been corroborated with simulations of device operation in TCAD.

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