Electron-multiplying CCDs for future soft X-ray spectrometers

J. H. Tutt, A. D. Holland, N. J. Murray, R. D. Harriss, D. J. Hall, M. Soman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CCDs have been used in several high resolution soft X-ray spectrometers for both space and terrestrial applications such as the Reflection Grating Spectrometer on XMM-Newton and the Super Advanced X-ray Emission Spectrometer at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland. However, with their ability to use multiplication gain to amplify signal and suppress readout noise, EM-CCDs are being considered instead of CCDs for future soft X-ray spectrometers. When detecting low energy X-rays, EM-CCDs are able to increase the Signal-to-Noise ratio of the device, making the X-rays much easier to detect. If the signal is also significantly split between neighbouring pixels, the increase in the size of the signal will make complete charge collection and techniques such as centroiding easier to accomplish. However, multiplication gain from an EM-CCD does cause a degradation of the energy resolution of the device and there are questions about how the high field region in an EM-CCD will behave over time in high radiation environments. This paper analyses the possible advantages and disadvantages of using EM-CCDs for high resolution soft X-ray spectroscopy and suggests in which situations using them would not only be possible, but also beneficial to the instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberC02031
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematical Physics
  • Instrumentation

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