A light compact and rugged IR sensor for Space applications

Russu, A., De Castro, A. J., Cortes, F., López Ongil, C., Portela, M., García, E., Miranda, J. A., Canabal, M. F., Arruego, I., Martínez Oter, J., López, F. 2019. A light compact and rugged IR sensor for Space applications. Infrared Sensors, Devices and Applications IX,  Proceedings of SPIE 11129, DOI: 10.1117/12.2529846

The Short and Mid Wave InfraRed (S-MWIR) rugged active detection system has been designed to be operated in the worst conditions with very low Size Weight and Power ( SWaP) factor. The detection system is based on a single uncooled detector device implementing a Lead Sulphide (PbS) (SWIR) and Lead Selenide (PbSe) (MWIR) plate cells on the same package and an emitter based on a combination of standard silicon materials with Nano Amorphous Carbon (NAC) membrane.

The data acquisition and processing have been configured to handle very low signal values and significant noise in the ambient. The detection system is based on a Lock-In Amplification tuned on 10Hz frequency to reduce the noise effect. The low operation frequency reduces the requirements on IR source and sampling electronics.

The IR detectors and source have been instrumented with thermistors and the responsivity of the system has been characterized for non-thermal controlled operation. The characterized responsivity and the instantaneous temperature shall be considered on the data retrieval.

The detection system has been qualified for very tough environment as very low temperature (-135 degrees C) and relatively high temperatures (70 degrees C) for a year continuous operation, high vacuum (10(-6) mbar), high mechanical vibration and shock and high radiation levels.

The S-MWIR detection system has been implemented on the Dust Sensor for the ExoMars’20 mission for operation from 10 degrees C to -90 degrees C with two detector systems forward and backward for calculation of the in-situ dust concentration on Mars surface.

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