The current and future capabilities of MCP based UV detectors

Astrophysics and Space Science (Impact Factor: 2.26). 03/2009; 320(1):247-250. DOI: 10.1007/s10509-008-9814-7


At the heart of future space-based astronomical UV instruments will be a sensitive UV detector. Though there has been a death
of new UV mission opportunities, detector development has continued. Improvements have been made in spatial resolution, dynamic
range, detector size, quantum efficiency and background. At the same time the power and mass required to achieve these goals
have decreased. We review the current capabilities of microchannel plate based detectors at Berkeley, both in the laboratory
and aboard current on-orbit spacecraft. We also discuss what can be expected from the next generation of UV detectors over
the next decade.

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Available from: J. V. Vallerga, Apr 30, 2014
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    • "Work to encapsulate the Medipix2 and Timepix chips in vacuum phototubes has progressed in two main branches; an electrostatically accelerated Hybrid Photon Detector (HPD) [10] and an MCP based electron multiplication tube [11]. The HPD has a simpler construction than the MCP based system but requires a significantly higher voltage to operate, greater than 7kV compared with 1kV. "
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a high-resolution imaging detector with five microchannel plates (MCPs) in a set of V and Z stacks and a resistive anode encoder (RAE) for future space applications. In a position-sensitive system with a RAE, the spatial resolution depends on the signal-to-noise ratios at the anode terminals. Therefore, a high and stable electron gain of MCPs allows the position determination of each photoelectron event with a high spatial resolution. We investigated the effect of the potentials applied to the detector on the pulse height distribution (PHD) and the spatial resolution by means of calculations and experiments. The calculations showed that the negative interstack potential reduced the size of the electron cloud at the Z-stack input by approximately 80%. The result suggests that, under such a condition, the Z-stack MCP is operated in the completely saturated mode and exhibits a narrow PHD. On the other hand, in the measurements, applying the negative interstack potential reduced the width of the PHD by approximately 60%. As a result, the spatial resolution of 45 microm, corresponding to 480x480 pixels, was achieved. The results enable us to optimize and apply the technique to future missions.
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