Zoran Ninkov Zoran Ninkov, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Ph.D., Astronomy
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

A240 Carlson

Research Highlights

1) Solid State Image Sensors - This research involves studying the limits of the performance of presently available solid state imaging arrays, and developing techniques to improve these devices. Parameters such as quantum efficiency, dark current, noise and cross talk are measured routinely. The devices under test include large format (4K x 4K) CCD arrays, IR Focal Plane Arrays and Charge Injection Device Arrays. CID arrays offer considerable promise in many applications due to the focal plane architecture that allows random pixel access and non-destructive readout. These features provide for the possibility of new sampling techniques to reduce effective read noise added to the latent image by the on chip electronics. In addition to improving presently available devices, the development of next generation imaging arrays is also proceeding. Such devices, often referred to as Active Pixel Sensor (APS) arrays, promise considerable flexibility in read-out and on-chip processing for the future. Such devices are being fabricated in the RIT Microelectronics Facility.

2) Robotic Astronomy - Automated observatories located in remote locations are of increasing interest in programs of routine repetitive observations of portions of the night sky, such as in searches for earth orbit crossing asteroids and comets. An automated robotic telescope has recently been installed on the RIT campus in order to develop automated procedures for data gathering, image processing and analysis. Experience with this facility will eventually lead to establishment of other such facilities using theglobal communications network.

3) Planetary Searches - The search for planets orbiting stars other than the Sun is being attempted by studying eclipsing binary star systems, By accurate timing of the eclipse minima it will be possible to detect phase variations attributable to an unseen object. Such planets, being most likely coplanar, will also amenable to direct spectroscopic investigation for traces of important life-indicating molecules.

4) Astronomical Imaging - CCD images of young galactic clusters are obtained at various observatories in order to study the form and variation of the initial mass function in these regions. Additionally associated nebulae have been studied using a tunable liquid crystal filter coupled to a cooled CCD camera.

5) Digital Radiography - A phosphor screen lens coupled to a coded CCD camera is the basis of an X-ray imaging system that has been assembled and tested at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The system uses a large format 2048 x 2048 CCD chip to record fluorescence from a standard mammographic screen. The system offers direct digital images at rates superior to that of film, higher dynamic range and less expense. Testing, evaluation and enhancements to this system are proceeding.