Large sensor looks into space

Large sensor looks into space

On Semiconductor (Phoenix, AZ, USA) has collaborated with Teledyne Imaging Sensors (Camarillo, CA, USA) to manufacture an Extremely Large Stitched Read Out Integrated Circuit (ELS ROIC) for astronomy.

Designed by Teledyne, the development of the H4RG-15 image sensor was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Teledyne.

The 16Mpixel device, which consists of Teledyne’s HgCdTe detector and a CMOS readout circuit, is claimed to be the largest sensor ever produced for infrared astronomy. The imager was fabricated using On Semiconductor’s proprietary 180 nanometer fabrication process. The 63 mm x 63 mm device is so large that only four fit onto a 200 mm wafer.

The sensor has already been installed at the University of Hawaii’s observatory on Mauna Kea. "The resolution with which images can be captured using this new sensor system represents a major step forward in the progression of IR astronomy," says Dr. Donald Hall of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii.

The H4RG-15 is the latest in the HxRG family of image sensors that Teledyne has developed and delivered to astronomical observatories on the ground and in space, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope.

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1. ESA selects chip vendor to track the stars

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded On Semiconductor (Phoenix, AZ, USA) a joint development contract for the next-generation star tracker CMOS Image Sensor (CIS), known as the High Accuracy Star Tracker 3 (HAS3).

2. Image sensors to spot objects in the Kuiper Belt

Imaging sensor maker e2v (Chelmsford, UK) has been awarded a contract by the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) in Taiwan to supply a set of 40 large-area CMOS imaging sensors for three ground-based telescopes as part of the Transneptunian Automated Occultation Survey (TAOS II).

3. Telescope captures image of 84 million stars

An image of 84 million stars has been created by an international team of astronomers from data collected by the UK-built VISTA infrared survey telescope at the ESO's (Garching, Germany) Paranal Observatory.

4. Naval Research Lab imager heads for the sun

An optical telescope under development at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL; Washington, DC, USA) is to be launched into space as part of the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Solar Orbiter mission to study our sun.

-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design


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