OCAM2: world’s fastest and most sensitive camera system for advanced Adaptive Optics wavefront sensing


Jean-Luc Gach, Philippe Balard, Eric Stadler, Christian Guillaume, Philippe Feautrier


LAM, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, Technopôle de Château-Gombert - 38, rue Frédéric Joliot-Curie -13388 Marseille, France; IPAG, Domaine Universitaire, 414 rue de la Piscine, BP 53 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France; OHP, Observatoire de Haute Provence, 04870 St.Michel l’Observatoire, France First Light Imaging S.A.S. Technopôle de Château-Gombert - 38, rue Frédéric Joliot-Curie -13388 Marseille, France


For the first time, sub-electron read noise has been achieved with a camera suitable for astronomical wavefront-sensing (WFS) applications. The OCam system has demonstrated this performance at 1500 Hz frame rate and with 240x240-pixel. ESO and JRA2 OPTICON have jointly funded e2v technologies to develop a custom CCD for Adaptive Optics (AO) wavefront sensing applications. The device, called CCD220, is a compact Peltier-cooled 240x240 pixel frame-transfer 8-output back-illuminated sensor using the EMCCD technology. This talk demonstrates sub-electron read noise at frame rates from 25 Hz to 1500 Hz and dark current lower than 0.01 e-/pixel/frame. It reports on the comprehensive, quantitative performance characterization of OCam and the CCD220 such as readout noise, dark current, multiplication gain, quantum efficiency, charge transfer efficiency... OCam includes a low noise preamplifier stage, a digital board to generate the clocks and a microcontroller. The data acquisition system includes a user friendly timer file editor to generate any type of clocking scheme. A second version of OCam, called OCAM2, was designed offering enhanced performances, a completely sealed camera package and an additional Peltier stage to facilitate operation on a telescope or environmentally rugged applications. OCAM2 offers two types of built-in data link to the Real Time Computer: the CameraLink industry standard interface and various fiber link options like the sFPDP interface. OCAM2 includes also a modified mechanical design to ease the integration of microlens arrays for use of this camera in all types of wavefront sensing AO system. The front cover of OCAM2 can be customized to include a microlens exchange mechanism. A picture of OCAM2, the commercial version of OCam, is shown in Figure 2. OCAM2 is commercialized by the "First Light Imaging" company

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