The shape of the photon transfer curve of CCD sensors

Abstract : The photon transfer curve (PTC) of a CCD depicts the variance of uniform images as a function of their average. It is now well established that the variance is not proportional to the average, as Poisson statistics would indicate, but rather flattens out at high flux. This "variance deficit", related to the brighter-fatter effect, feeds correlations between nearby pixels that increase with flux, and decay with distance. We propose an analytical expression for the PTC shape, and for the dependence of correlations with intensity, and relate both to some more basic quantities related to the electrostatics of the sensor, which are commonly used to correct science images for the brighter-fatter effect. We derive electrostatic constraints from a large set of flat field images acquired with a CCD e2v 250, and eventually question the generally-admitted assumption that boundaries of CCD pixels shift by amounts proportional to the source charges. Our results show that the departure of flat field statistics from the Poisson law is entirely compatible with charge redistribution during the drift in the sensor.
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Pierre Astier, Pierre Antilogus, Claire Juramy, Rémy Le Breton, Laurent Le Guillou, et al.. The shape of the photon transfer curve of CCD sensors. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2019, 629, pp.A36. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201935508⟩. ⟨hal-02286976⟩

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