CCD Primer

Binning
Bracket Pulsing
CCD Grading
Cosmic Rays
Dark Current
Deep Depletion CCD
Detection Modes
Dual Capacity Mode
Dual Readout Mode
Dynamic Range
Etaloning in CCDs
eXcelon CCD-EMCCD
UV Extension
Fiber Optics
Flat Fielding
Full Well Capacity
Gain
Image Calibration
Imager Architectures
Image Intensifiers
ITO CCD
Kinetics Mode
Linearity
Matching Resolution
MPP Mode
Noise Sources
On-chip Multiplication Gain
Open Poly CCD
Optical Window
PVCAM
Quantum Efficiency
Readout vs Frame Rate
Reducing Dark Current
Saturation/ Blooming
Signal to Noise Ratio
Spurious Charge
XP Cooling

 

Electron-Multiplying (EM) Gain

Formerly referred to as "on-chip multiplication gain", this technology enables multiplication of charge (i.e., electrons) collected in each pixel of the CCD's active array. Secondary electrons are generated via an impact-ionization process that is initiated and sustained when higher-than-typical clock voltages (up to 50 V) are applied to a special extended portion of the CCD's serial register.

The level of EM gain can be controlled by either increasing or decreasing the voltage; the gain is exponentially proportional to the voltage. Multiplying the signal above the read noise of the output amplifier enables ultra-low-light detection at high operation speeds. EM gain can exceed 1000x.

It is possible to adapt this technology to all current CCD architectures. The illustration below depicts a frame-transfer device.

ccd image

Some cameras with EM gain utilize two output amplifiers: (1) an EM gain amplifier that enables the camera to be used for low-light, high-speed applications and (2) a traditional amplifier for wide-dynamic-range applications.