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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Alastair Basden

Basden, A. G. (2015). Analysis of electron multiplying charge coupled device and scientific CMOS readout noise models for Shack–Hartmann wavefront sensor accuracy. Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 1(3): 039002.

Author(s) from Durham


In recent years, detectors with subelectron readout noise have been used very effectively in astronomical adaptive optics systems. Here, we compare readout noise models for the two key faint flux level detector technologies that are commonly used: electron multiplying charge coupled device (EMCCD) and scientific CMOS (sCMOS) detectors. We find that in almost all situations, EMCCD technology is advantageous, and that the commonly used simplified model for EMCCD readout is appropriate. We also find that the commonly used simple models for sCMOS readout noise are optimistic, and we recommend that a proper treatment of the sCMOS root mean square readout noise probability distribution should be considered during instrument performance modeling and development.