e2v technologies wins CCD contract for major China telescope project

JULY 11--e2v technologies (Chelmsford, UK; imaging.e2vtechnologies.com) has been awarded a contract to supply 36 image sensors to the Chinese LAMOST (Large sky-Area Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope) project.

Jul 12th, 2004

JULY 11--e2v technologies (Chelmsford, UK;
imaging.e2vtechnologies.com) has been awarded a contract to supply 36 image sensors to the Chinese LAMOST (Large sky-Area Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope) project. The ground-based initiative is a major undertaking for astronomers in China, aiming to observe objects in the sky across a very wide area.

The contract to supply 36 4k x 4k CCDs to LAMOST's fiber-fed spectrograph was signed on 22 June 2004. e2v will begin delivery of the devices next year. They will be used to capture images of faint objects during spectral surveys of large areas of the sky. The telescope is expected to take tens of thousands of objects' spectra each night using a 5° field of view, which could make it the world's most powerful survey tool of its kind.

e2v worked closely with its local distributor, Tangram Electronic Engineering Co. Ltd., to win this deal. Tangram's Robert Shen attended the contract signing ceremony in China along with Yongheng Zhao, general manager of the LAMOST project and astronomer. Zhao said: "We hope the e2v CCDs in the LAMOST telescope will work with distances up to approximately 17,000 million light years. In achieving this, the CCDs could help scientists further understand how the universe started. We hope this could be the start of a new episode of collaboration between scientists from both home and abroad."

The imaging devices for LAMOST build upon e2v's CCD42 and CCD44 ranges of astronomy chips, more than 250 of which have been supplied to observatories around the world.

This is the largest contract for e2v's new 4k x 4k devices for an astronomy project to date, although the company is also under contract to supply them to the large Solar Dynamics Observatory space program. Similar e2v projects include supply of 40 CCDs to the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, ongoing supply to the Kepler planet-finding mission, and selection for GAIA, one of the largest focal planes of CCDs ever built either on earth or in space. The UK-based manufacturer offers all processes in-house, including its back-thinning process, fundamental to the supply and quality of such devices.

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