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Can CCDs get too cold?

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Just a quick question in regard to cooled CCD cams. Say for instance a camera cools to ambient temp -20 (non-setpoint), what happens when its already cold outside (ie:5deg)? Would it just carry on and try dropping to -15 or switch off for a bit?

If it carries on dropping well below zero it looks like Im going to be making some expensive ice cubes next week :)

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It's my understanding that CCD's can't get cold when switched on (they heat up when on)

I don't think they can get too cold because if memory serves me correctly the SE ones go down to -40 below ambient temp....

I might be getting mixed up with something else here but i don't think so...

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Yes, I think the system will just track the ambient temperature, so if the ambient is colder, the detector will be able to cool itself further. It's unlikely you'll ever get it cold enough to damage the electronics.

Usually the CCD itself is in a dry chamber with a very low dew point, which stops it forming ice.

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I too think it will track ambient and if you don't have a very powerful cooler (-40 or so) there will be no risk of thermal shock when you switch off the cooler because outside is cold as well.

You might have issues of CCD window dewing, though. I've had this a couple of times with the Atik 4000s but you can (though not very conveniently) activate a chip window heater.


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