Delta-doped electron-multiplying CCDs for FIREBall-2

Gillian Kyne, Erika T. Hamden, Shouleh Nikzad, Keri Hoadley, April Jewell, Todd Jones, Michael Hoenk, Samuel Cheng, D. Christopher Martin, Nicole Lingner, David Schiminovich, Bruno Milliard, Robert Grange, Olivier Daigle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We present the status of on-going detector development efforts for our joint NASA/Centre National d'Études Spatiales balloon-borne UV multiobject spectrograph, the Faint Intergalactic Redshifted Emission Balloon (FIREBall-2; FB-2). FB-2 demonstrates a UV detector technology, the delta-doped electron-multiplying CCD (EMCCD), in a low-risk suborbital environment, to prove the performance of EMCCDs for future space missions and technology readiness level advancement. EMCCDs can be used in photon-counting mode to achieve extremely low readout noise (<1 electron). Our testing has focused on reducing clock-induced-charge (CIC) through wave shaping and well-depth optimization with a Nüvü V2 CCCP controller, measuring CIC at 0.001 e-/pixel/frame. This optimization also includes methods for reducing dark current, via cooling, and substrate voltage levels. We discuss the challenges of removing cosmic rays, which are also amplified by these detectors, as well as a data reduction pipeline designed for our noise measurement objectives. FB-2 flew in 2018, providing the first time an EMCCD, was used for UV observations in the stratosphere. FB-2 is currently being built up to fly again in 2020, and improvements are being made to the EMCCD to continue optimizing its performance for better noise control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011007
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • clock-induced-charge
  • clocking
  • dark current
  • delta-doped
  • detector
  • electron-multiplying CCD
  • photon counting
  • ultraviolet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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