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Old 18-02-2009, 08:11 AM
rally
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Black Silicon CCDs - 100x better

A new technological release that might help us all - with 10,000% QE !!!

http://www.sionyx.com/arrays.asp

With a claimed 100x signal improvement over traditional silicon CCD devices and pixels of 1 micron being equivalent to traditional pixels of 36 microns - this does indeed sound like the the Astronomer's dream imaging device.

If it becomes commercial then this will revolutionise astro imaging, but I'd like to see the specs first. (noise, dynamic range, well depth, etc)
They claim "remarkably low dark current even at room temperature"

Just think of the image scale !

Last edited by rally; 18-02-2009 at 08:39 AM.
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  #2  
Old 18-02-2009, 08:37 AM
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rastis95 (Scott)
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They are starting to make big jumps with this technology, hate to think if it goes commercial, imagine the price tag .

Cheers
Scott
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Old 18-02-2009, 08:54 AM
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Most likely this is based on avalanche diode, used as an array.
Avalanche diodes (commercially available for two decades or more and widely used for detection of photons in variety of applications) behave like photomultiplier tubes: the photo- electron (expelled from crystal lattice when hit by photon) is accelerated in the strong electric field and on its way (when its energy levels becomes sufficiently high) can hit another electrons and transfers part of its energy to them.
The end result is couple of hundred of electrons created by the hit of one single photon. This amplification process does not add any thermal noise to original signal, hence it is useful for low level light detection and individual photon counting.
However, the device uses high voltages (100V), so I am afraid it will never be cheap.
Also, because such low noise is totally irrelevant for "normal" day-time photography, do not expect any sort of mass production of such devices.... If they appear on the market, they will remain in the area of professional applications.
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Old 18-02-2009, 10:39 AM
rally
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Bojan,

I am sure they will be relatively expensive to start with - new technology always is.

But they claim its all based on 3-5volt technology (not 100v)

Apparently its been tested on a number of US CMOS based manufacturers equipment and is immediately translatable to conventional CMOS silicon manufacturing processes and therefore a cheap to manufacture product.

They also say its a new process never before before observed that was accidentally discovered - no doubt there is possibly some sort of cascade process going on and they equate the effects to avalanche diodes but draw the distinction, its not the same as the 100v process.
They say its the high concentration sulphur doped surface that does the trick - but it appears they don't know just exactly how it works.

Its all there on the website to read.
This has little bit more info
http://www.sionyx.com/mslns/Photodetectors.pdf

The fact that the performance (according to them) of a 1uM pixel is equivalent to a 36uM pixel and that its cheap to manufacture and that its low noise would indicate to me that we will see it in terrestrial cameras too - even if its high end cameras.

Since 1um pixel cameras already exist - IF what they say is true, (could be a big IF !) we will likely see such devices very soon.

Can you imagine a 864mp 35mm CCD device with lower noise and higher sensitivity than any existing DSLR sensor !
And for astro its got a much wider spectral response too !

I am happy to contemplate such a thing, but I wont necessarily be getting my hopes too high.

Cheers
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Old 18-02-2009, 11:34 AM
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Having much smaller pixels won't necessarily help. It all depends on the resolution of the optics attached. Putting a 1um pixel on my scope when the maximum resolution is 10um is a bit redundant.
Good to hear about the increased sensitivity though.
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Old 18-02-2009, 11:41 AM
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Yes, it would be nice :-)
Well if it all is as they say, it may end up on the commercial market, if for nothing else then for no need of amplifiers, therefore lower cost for manufacturer. This is is the only driving force in the world today....
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Old 18-02-2009, 10:26 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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Very interesting. It'll be good to see what comes of these developments in chip technology. I can imagine there will be other uses for this technology other than imaging.
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Old 19-02-2009, 05:51 AM
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I'm excited!
In fact, so excited I was talking to the better half last night about it over dinner before I realised her eyes glazing over...
nevertheless, I can see this making its way into chips we can use soon
Oooooh,
cant wait!
Kmon somebody, give us the next step in the imaging revolution!
frank
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Old 19-02-2009, 07:58 AM
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My wife asked: Could this be eaten? No? Then what is all the fuss about??!!
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Old 19-02-2009, 08:34 AM
rally
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It'll never take off.

Nobody likes eating black food !
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