, Volume 19, Issue 1-3, pp 103-109
Date: 29 Jun 2006

The Ultimate CCD for Laser Guide Star Wavefront Sensing on Extremely Large Telescopes

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All of the extremely large telescopes (ELTs) will utilize sodium laser guide star (LGS) adaptive optics (AO) systems. Most of these telescopes plan to use the Shack-Hartmann approach for wavefront sensing. In these AO systems, the laser spots in subapertures at the edge of the pupil will suffer from spot elongation due to the 10 km extent of the sodium layer and the large separation from the projection laser. This spot elongation will severely degrade the performance of standard geometry wavefront sensing systems. In this paper, we present a CCD with custom pixel morphology that aligns the pixels of each subaperture with the radial extension of the LGS spot. This CCD design will give better performance than a standard geometry CCDs for continuous wave lasers. In addition, this CCD design is optimal for a pulsed sodium laser. The pixel geometry enables each subaperture to follow a laser pulse traversing the sodium layer, providing optimal sampling of a limited number of detected photons. In addition to novel pixel layout, this CCD will also incorporate experimental JFET sense amplifiers and use CMOS design approaches to simplify the routing of biases, clocks and video output. This CCD will attain photon-noise limited performance at high frame rates, and is being incorporated in the plans for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).