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EEV have a high quality (5 inch) production facility; the main concern relates to their large-area thinning process. If any of their demonstration chips work well (i.e. good peak QE, good UV response, good uniformity, read-out noise and the rest of the performance meets expectations), then we would look to place a contract for the supply of some larger devices.
It appears that other pressures have led EEV to slow down on the development of the technique for thinning and not until late Summer (1993) did we decide that the only way to induce them to move ahead with their process was to discuss a contract with them, in which they would guarantee to provide us with the scientific devices we required.
Our feeling is that EEV, given the right incentive/backing, can be a serious contender in the supply of astronomical grade sensors. They recognise that their previous inability to offer thinned, large format devices has lost them business. They now feel much more able to compete and provide the kind of detectors one or two other manufacturers have already supplied (eg. the Tek1024). We feel that this is justified, given the right conditions for them to operate; their problem being how to get into the market properly. They are keen for us to order something, so that they can put some emphasis on the work within the company.
We have had many meetings recently with EEV about the possibility of them meeting our CCD requirements for the next generation of CCDs for the ING telescopes. They indicated that they thought it likely that the contract would require financial input both from themselves and from us in the first instance. The outcome of these discussions, prompted us to set-up a consortium with the Anglo-Australian Observatory & Padua Observatory, Italy to generate sufficient funds to obtain the devices we all require.
At the time of writing (Fri Sep 9 14:56:36 BST 1994 ), a draft contract is under discussion which should ensure that all the parties concerned obtain the science grade arrays they require AND assist EEV in developing their thinning and large CCD programme. We aim to issue the contract for:-
six grade-1 science arrays pixels format Pixel size = ( is possible) Thinned, response peak, Blue a minimum of 2 (but preferably 4) low-noise outputs a read-noise of Potential 3-edge buttability /hour dark current
It should be noted that a key factor in chosing EEV would be the guarantee of certain performance levels. We recognise that the guaranteed QE figures seem low compared to those obtained, in some cases, by Lesser; however, we believe that these devices would still be very competitive for our applications.
It would seem that this format of device has also been chosen for Gemini imaging requirements. We therefore hope that if the EEV development is successful, their device would be a candidate for Gemini projects.