Popowicz, A. Analysis of Dark Current in BRITE Nanostellite CCD Sensors. Sensors2018, 18, 479.
Popowicz, A. Analysis of Dark Current in BRITE Nanostellite CCD Sensors. Sensors 2018, 18, 479.
The BRightest Target Explorer (BRITE) is the pioneering nanosatellite mission dedicated for photometric observations of the brightest stars in the sky. The BRITE CCD sensors are poorly shielded against extensive flux of energetic particles which constantly induce defects in the silicon lattice. In this paper we investigate the temporal evolution of the generation of the dark current in the BRITE CCDs over almost 4 years after launch. Utilizing several steps of image processing and employing normalization of the results it was possible to obtain useful information about the progress of thermal activity in the sensors. The outcomes show clear and consistent linear increase of induced damage despite the fact that only about 0.14% of CCD pixels were probed. By performing the analysis of temperature dependencies of the dark current, we identified the observed defects as phosphorus-vacancy (PV) pairs, which are common in proton irradiated CCD matrices. Moreover, the Meyer-Neldel empirical rule was confirmed in our dark current data, yielding EMN=24.8 meV for proton-induced PV defects.
CCD defects; space telescopes; nano-satellites
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