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The CCD systems on the INT use either an RCA type SID501 chip, or a GEC P8603, dye coated for improved blue response. Table 2.1 summarises important general parameters of the two types of CCD chip available, and has been taken with some modification from La Palma Technical Note 55, which describes the CCD systems available in rather more detail.
It can be seen that the two chips complement each other well. The RCA SID501 is larger and has a higher efficiency at most wavelengths, and so is better suited for those imaging applications requiring a large field and deep, broad-band exposures. The GEC P8603 has a much lower readout noise and so will be better suited for most spectroscopic applications. The principal limitation of the RCA chip for spectroscopy is that it is thinned and hence gives rise to very large amplitude interference fringes. Hence, only the GEC chip is offered with the IDS.