Last modified: 8 February 2019

QE: Quantum Efficiency


The quantum efficiency (QE) is the fraction of incident photons registered by a detector. For an ideal detector, this is 100% (every incoming photon results in a single count). In reality, however, no detector is 100% efficient. If, for instance, the detector is 70% efficient, then every 100 photons would result in 70 counts. The QE is a strong, highly-structured function of energy for both Chandra detectors, ACIS and HRC.

The HRMA chapter in the Proposers' Observatory Guide contains plots which illustrate how QE affects the effective area of the detector.

In the Chandra Calibration Database (CALDB), the QE of the detectors is divided into:

  • the QE file: a mean curve (vs. energy)
  • the quantum efficiency uniformity (QEU) file: a map of the deviations across the face of the detector