e2v's CCD image sensor going onboard Pleiades Earth observation satellite has outperformed

The e2v CCD (Charge Coupled Device) image sensors fitted to the instrument of CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) Pleiades Earth observation satellite have delivered best performance exceeding the original specification.

After environmental testing, the optical and radiometric (image quality) performance of the image sensors was found to have exceeded expectations, with the Instrument MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) and signal to noise ratio 1.5 times better than the original specification.

The 200kg, high-resolution instrument includes, for its panchromatic focal plane, five e2v CCD98-50s, each with 6,000 pixels; therefore giving 30,000 pixels per line.

This CCD image sensor has following features:
A pixel size and pitch of 13µm square
Four phase parallel transfer electrode structure, implemented in four levels of polysilicon
Longitudinal anti-blooming structures in every pixel, optimised for back-illumination to maintain 100% fill factor
6,000 active pixels per line, with a maximum of 20 TDI lines
Selectable number of active TDI lines in flight
10 serial readout registers, each with an optimised output amplifier, each output therefore serving 600 pixels per line
Custom Aluminium Nitride package, with anti-reflective (AR) coated window

The Pleiades satellite also includes a multispectral focal plane, which utilises an e2v CCD sensor type AT71554, with the following main features:
4 photosensitive lines
1,500 photosensitive elements per line
Pixel size 52 × 52 µm
PRNU (Photo Response Non Uniformity) 1% r.ms
Non-linearity: 1%

The Pleiades project is part of ORFEO (Optic and Radar Federated Earth Observation system), a joint French-Italian initiative by the countries’ national space agencies CNES and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), marking a major technological advance in optical Earth observation systems. The two Pleiades observation satellites are scheduled for launch in early 2010 and 2011 respectively and will orbit the Earth, capturing very high resolution panchromatic and multi-spectral images from an altitude of 694km, for a period of at least five years.

Didier Dantes, Head of Imaging Chain Department, Thales Alenia Space, Cannes says “The e2v CCD performance for the Pleiades optical high-resolution imaging instruments offers enhanced resolution of 70 cm over a wide swath (20 km), after fusion, between the visible and near infrared bands.”

Alain Bardoux, Head of Detection Chain Department from CNES said “Thanks to the high photo response achieved via the back-thinned technology, and the e2v sensors readout rate of up to 66 MHz on 10 outputs, it is possible to meet the signal to noise requirement with only 10 TDI lines selected, without any satellite slowing.”

Brian McAllister, General Manager of Space & Scientific Imaging at e2v said “We worked very closely with Thales and CNES to develop and produce these sensors. It is very rewarding that the performance exceeds original specifications and opens new possibilities for Earth observation applications.”

For further details visit: www.e2v.com

“Source”: http://www.eeherald.com/section/news/nw10000525.html

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