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Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (Cryogenic Optical Systems and Instruments)



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Disordered thin film SiO2/SiOx coatings undergoing electron-beam bombardment exhibit cathodoluminescence, which can produce deleterious stray background light in cryogenic space-based astronomical observatories exposed to high- energy electron fluxes from space plasmas. As future observatory missions push the envelope into more extreme environments and more complex and sensitive detection, a fundamental understanding of the dependencies of this cathodoluminescence becomes critical to meet performance objectives of these advanced space-based observatories. Measurements of absolute radiance and emission spectra as functions of incident electron energy, flux, and power typical of space environments are presented for thin (~60-200 nm) SiO2/SiOx optical coatings on reflective metal substrates over a range of sample temperatures (~40-400 K) and emission wavelengths (~260-5000 nm). Luminescent intensity and peak wavelengths of four distinct bands were observed in UV/VIS/NIR emission spectra, ranging from 300 nm to 1000 nm. A simple model is proposed that describes the dependence of cathodoluminescence on irradiation time, incident flux and energy, sample thickness, and temperature.


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