, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 23-30
Date: 26 Sep 2006

An avalanche photodiode photon counting camera for high-resolution astronomy

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Abstract

A system is described which makes best use of the high quantum efficiency and high count rate capability of avalanche photodiodes for high time resolution observations of optical pulsars. The use of three APDs allows simultaneous photometry of the target and a reference star, and the monitoring of the sky background. By minimising the optical components in the light path the optical efficiency of the system is maximised. The TRIFFID (Shearer, A., Stappers, B., O'Connor, P., Golden, A., Strom, R., Redfern, M., Ryan, O.: Science 301, 493–495 (2003)) and OPTIMA (Straubmeier, C., Kanbach, G., Schrey, F.: Exp. Astron. 11, 157–170 (2001)) have shown that fibre-fed APD arrays can produce excellent results. This, new, system was used on the 6m BTA in November 2003 – results on the Crab pulsar are presented.