A backside illuminated charge coupled device (CCD) is formed of a relatively thick high resistivity photon sensitive silicon substrate, with frontside electronic circuitry, and an optically transparent backside ohmic contact for applying a backside voltage which is at least sufficient to substantially fully deplete the substrate. A greater bias voltage which overdepletes the substrate may also be applied. One way of applying the bias voltage to the substrate is by physically connecting the voltage source to the ohmic contact. An alternate way of applying the bias voltage to the substrate is to physically connect the voltage source to the frontside of the substrate, at a point outside the depletion region. Thus both frontside and backside contacts can be used for backside biasing to fully deplete the substrate. Also, high resistivity gaps around the CCD channels and electrically floating channel stop regions can be provided in the CCD array around the CCD channels. The CCD array forms an imaging sensor useful in astronomy.