JANUARY 19, 2009-- Sofradir (Paris, France; www.sofradir.com), a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors for military, space, and industrial applications, has signed a contract with Galileo Avionica (Rome, Italy), a worldwide supplier of space equipment and member of the Finmeccanica Group.
Sofradir will supply Galileo Avionica with Saturn, its 1000 x 256 30-micron pitch shortwave infrared (SWIR) detectors. Galileo Avionica will use the devices in the Italian-led satellite program known as PRISMA (Precursor Hyperspectral Mission Application). PRISMA is a system of Earth observation instruments known as hyperspectral imagers. The PRISMA orbit will be sun-synchronous with a mean altitude of 700 km at the equator.
Sofradir's role is to scan portions of the earth and provide images from the visible to infrared. The hyperspectral information is expected to substantially increase information about the chemical makeup of objects, a first for this environmental observation program. The data collected is expected to help researchers around the world address the quality and protection of the environment, sustainable development, and climate change.
Under the contract, Sofradir will develop a specific and hermetic package suited for passive cooling and will manufacture two types of detectors: very near IR (VNIR), sensitive from 0.4 to 1 microns and SWIR sensitive from 0.9 to 2.5 microns. The flight models will be delivered to Galileo Avionica in 2010.
Sofradir's Saturn detector is a mercury cadmium telluride (MCT/HgCdTe) array. It has a length of 30 mm and includes 256 lines of 1000 pixels at 30-micron pitch. A different gain can be applied to each line, making this detector appropriate for spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging. A complementary technological process allows it to extend the responsivity down to the visible spectrum.