Focal plane arrays , Infrared detectors , MCT , Sofradir , space

“Sofradir MCT technology for space applications"

SPIE Berlin 2009– Remote Sensing




Keywords: Sofradir, Infrared detectors, MCT, Focal plane arrays, space

The field of SWIR detectors for space applications is strongly growing those last years, mainly because of the increasing need for environmental missions in the SWIR detection range. For now more than 10 years, Sofradir is involved in that field, developing and improving its SWIR detectors technology, leading to a mature technology that enable to address most of missions needs in term of performances, but also with respect to hard environmental constraints.

SWIR detection range at Sofradir has been qualified for space applications thanks to various programs already run (APEX or Bepi-Colombo programs) or currently running (Sentinel 2, PRISMA mission). For Sentinel 2, a 1280x3 with a 15µm pitch in the SWIR range (CTIA) has been developed and is currently being validated. 1000x256 or 500x256 arrays 30 µm pitch (called Saturn or Neptune detectors) have already been validated in terms of irradiation behavior, thermal cycling, and ageing. Specific package designs have been validated in terms of high levels of shocks and vibrations. In particular, for both Sentinel 2 and PRISMA programs, Sofradir has developed reliable packaging compatible with passive cooling.

Recently, for PRISMA mission, Sofradir is extending its Visible-Near infra-red technology, called VISIR, to 1000x256 hyperspectral arrays. This technology has the huge advantage to enable detection in both visible range and SWIR detection range (0.4µm up to 2.5µm), thus limiting the number of needed channels for hyperspectral applications but also outshining the classical limitation of Silicon Visible detectors, for which the sensitivity is dramatically dropping above 0.9 µm.

In this paper, we will present recent results obtained on 1000x256 SWIR and Visible detectors through the different space programs in which they are involved. Characterization of those detectors as well as latest validation results will be presented. Finally, an overview of our latest development for space programs based on Sofradir SWIR detectors is presented.



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