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Single photon counting with a microchannel plate intensified integrated diode array

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Abstract

A multichannel photoelectron counting system employing a Reticon 1024-element linear silicon photodiode array with fiber optic window has been developed. The primary design philosophy was to produce a 1-D electronic camera optimized for high dispersion astronomical spectrophotometry of faint sources by intensifying the photodiode array with a microchannel plate. With an intensification factor of ≃108, single photon incidences will be amplified beyond system noise, becoming readily discriminable by low resolution pulse counting electronics. The system will approach the ideal of a truly noiseless amplifier with shot-limited performance. Funds not being available for the purchase of a microchannel plate, operation of the system in the rapid scanning intensified mode was illustrated by using the photodiode array as a line scanner imaging bright sources, and operation in the slow chilled Reticon mode was illustrated by installation in an automated 3-m Czerny-Turner double monochromator.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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