The Kitt Peak Electron Multiplying CCD demonstrator

Michael W. Coughlin, Richard G. Dekany, Dmitry A. Duev, Michael Feeney, S. R. Kulkarni, Reed Riddle, Tomás Ahumada, Kevin Burdge, Alison M. Dugas, Christoffer U. Fremling, Gregg Hallinan, Thomas A. Prince, Jan Van Roestel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Kitt Peak Electron Multiplying CCD (EMCCD) demonstrator is a new instrument that has been developed for use at the Kitt Peak National Observatory's 84-inch telescope. The EMCCD enables single-band optical imaging in the Sloan g and r bands and Johnson UVRI filters. The EMCCD is chosen for its sub-electron effective read noise using large multiplicative gains. With these systems, frame rates of greater than 1 Hz are possible. The field of view is 4.4 × 4.4 arcmin2 and the pixel size is 0.259 arcsec. This camera, coupled with a fully roboticized telescope, is ideal for follow-up of short period, white dwarf binary candidates, as well as short duration transient and periodic sources identified by large field-of-view all-sky surveys such as the Zwicky Transient Facility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1412-1419
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MC is supported by the David and Ellen Lee Postdoctoral Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. The KPED team thanks the National Science Foundation and the National Optical Astronomical Observatory for making the Kitt Peak 2.1-m telescope available. We thank the observatory staff at Kitt Peak for their efforts to assist Robo-AO KP operations. The KPED team thanks the National Science Foundation, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory and the Murty family for support in the building and operation of KPED. In addition, they thank the CHIMERA project for use of the EMCCD. This work has made use of data from the European Space Agency (ESA) mission Gaia (, processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC, https://www.cosm Funding for the DPAC has been provided by national institutions, in particular the institutions participating in the Gaia Multilateral Agreement. The authors thank Dr Simon Mark Tulloch for reviewing the transcript and providing useful feedback. They also thank Pavan Bilgi and Roger Smith for a discussion of charge transfer inefficiency measurement techniques.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.


  • instrumentation: photometers
  • techniques: photometric


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