This course examines the physics of detection of incoherent electromagnetic radiation from the infrared to the soft X-ray regions. Brief descriptions of the fundamental mechanisms of device operation are given. A variety of illumination sources are considered to clarify detection requirements, with emphasis on solar illumination in the visible and blackbody emission in the infrared. Practical devices, elementary detection circuits, and practical operational constraints are described. An introduction to solid-state and semiconductor physics follows and is then applied to the photodiode, and later to CCD and CMOS devices. A description and analysis of the electronics associated with photodiodes and their associated noise is given. Description of scanning formats leads into the description of spatially resolving systems (e.g., staring arrays). Emphasis is placed on Charged-Coupled Device and CMOS detector arrays. This naturally leads into the discussion of more complex IR detectors and Readout Integrated Circuits that are based on the CMOS pixel. In addition, descriptions of non-spatially resolving detectors based on photoemission and photo-excitation are provided, including background physics, noise, and sensitivity. Selection of optimum detectors and integration into complete system designs are discussed. Applications in space-based and terrestrial remote sensing are discussed, from simple radiometry and imaging to spectrometry.
Undergraduate degree in physics or engineering, preferably with studies in elementary circuit theory, solid-state physics, and optics. Students are expected to be proficient using spreadsheets and/or a programming language such as MATLAB or IDL.