Charge-coupled devices for the ESA PLATO M-class Mission

Endicott, J.; Walker, A.; Bowring, S.; Turner, P.; Allen, D.; Piersanti, O.; Short, A. and Walton, D. (2012). Charge-coupled devices for the ESA PLATO M-class Mission. In: High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy V (Holland, Andrew D. and Beletic, James W. eds.), 8453, article no. 84531J.



PLATO is a candidate mission for an European Space Agency M-class launch opportunity. The project aims to detect exo-planets from their transits across host stars and to characterise those stars by studying their oscillations, hence the name PLATO for, PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars. In order to achieve this aim the mission proposes to fly a satellite with a focal plane of up to 34 mini-telescopes, each containing 4 large area back illuminated Charge-Coupled Devices (CCDs) to provide ultra high precision photometry. If successful, the satellite will have nearly 0.9 m2 of image sensors and will be by far the largest composite detector focal plane ever flown. To meet the mission requirements e2v have developed the CCD270 which has 4510 by 4510 pixels, each pixel is 18 μm by 18 μm, in a development funded by the European Space Agency. This large area (81 mm x 81 mm) full frame image sensor is intended for precision photometry with a dynamic range in excess of 30,000. The CCD270 has been manufactured with a thinner gate dielectric and a higher buried channel dose than standard devices to increase the full well capacity in the image area. The additional advantages of the thinner gate are lower power dissipation, smaller clock voltage swing for standard channel doses and higher tolerance to ionising radiation. This paper describes the imager sensor in detail and focuses on the novel aspects of the device, package and interface.

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