Precision near infrared (NIR) measurements are essential for the next generation of ground and space based instruments. The SuperNova Acceleration Probe (SNAP) will measure thousands of type Ia supernovae up to a redshift of 1.7. The highest redshift supernovae provide the most leverage for determining cosmological parameters, in particular the dark energy equation of state and its possible time evolution. Accurate NIR observations are needed to utilize the full potential of the highest redshift supernovae. Technological improvements in NIR detector fabrication have lead to high quantum efficiency, low noise detectors using a HgCdTe diode with a band-gap that is tuned to cutoff at 1:7 1m. The effects of detector quantum efficiency, read noise, and dark current on lightcurve signal to noise, lightcurve parameter errors, and distance modulus ?ts are simulated in the SNAP sim framework. Results show that improving quantum efficiency leads to the largest gains in photometric accuracy for type Ia supernovae. High quantum efficiency in the NIR reduces statistical errors and helps control systematic uncertainties at the levels necessary to achieve the primary SNAP science goals.

The Supernova / Acceleration Probe (SNAP) is a proposed space-based
experiment designed to study the dark energy and alternative explanations of
the acceleration of the Universe's expansion by performing a series of
complementary systematics-controlled measurements. We describe a
self-consistent reference mission design for building a Type Ia supernova
Hubble diagram and for performing a wide-area weak gravitational lensing study.
A 2-m wide-field telescope feeds a focal plane consisting of a 0.7
square-degree imager tiled with equal areas of optical CCDs and near infrared
sensors, and a high-efficiency low-resolution integral field spectrograph. The
SNAP mission will obtain high-signal-to-noise calibrated light-curves and
spectra for several thousand supernovae at redshifts between z=0.1 and 1.7. A
wide-field survey covering one thousand square degrees resolves ~100 galaxies
per square arcminute. If we assume we live in a cosmological-constant-dominated
Universe, the matter density, dark energy density, and flatness of space can
all be measured with SNAP supernova and weak-lensing measurements to a
systematics-limited accuracy of 1%. For a flat universe, the
density-to-pressure ratio of dark energy can be similarly measured to 5% for
the present value w0 and ~0.1 for the time variation w'. The large survey area,
depth, spatial resolution, time-sampling, and nine-band optical to NIR
photometry will support additional independent and/or complementary dark-energy
measurement approaches as well as a broad range of auxiliary science programs.
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