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Commentary: JWST near-infrared detector degradation— finding the problem, fixing the problem, and moving forward
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1. Although the acronym H2RG refers only to the readout integrated circuit, here we follow convention in the astronomical community and use it to refer to the complete hybrid detector array.
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4. The processed detector wafers are evaluated by current-voltage and optical testing of PECs. PECs are lithographically patterned adjacent to the main array(s) on the wafers, and are diced and wirebonded into leadless chip carrier (LCC) packages for cryogenic testing. They contain variable sized photodiodes, small test arrays, contact measurement structures, and other test devices used for evaluating the diode performance (dark current, quantum efficiency, contact resistance) and materials properties (diffusion length, carrier lifetime, etc.) for each processed wafer.
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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. JWST will be an infrared-optimized telescope, with an approximately 6.5 m diameter primary mirror, that is located at the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point. Three of JWST’s four science instruments use Teledyne HgCdTe HAWAII-2RG (H2RG) near infrared detector arrays. During 2010, the JWST Project noticed that a few of its 5 μm cutoff H2RG detectors were degrading during room temperature storage, and NASA chartered a “Detector Degradation Failure Review Board” (DD-FRB) to investigate. The DD-FRB determined that the root cause was a design flaw that allowed indium to interdiffuse with the gold contacts and migrate into the HgCdTe detector layer. Fortunately, Teledyne already had an improved design that eliminated this degradation mechanism. During early 2012, the improved H2RG design was qualified for flight and JWST began making additional H2RGs. In this article, we present the two public DD-FRB “Executive Summaries” that: (1) determined the root cause of the detector degradation and (2) defined tests to determine whether the existing detectors are qualified for flight. We supplement these with a brief introduction to H2RG detector arrays, some recent measurements showing that the performance of the improved design meets JWST requirements, and a discussion of how the JWST Project is using cryogenic storage to retard the degradation rate of the existing flight spare H2RGs.


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Scitation: Commentary: JWST near-infrared detector degradation— finding the problem, fixing the problem, and moving forward