Space and Scientific Imaging

Space Sensors

Critical to the success of all space missions are the instruments on board. e2v’s imaging sensors are used by a number of space nations in star tracking guidance systems and as critical sensing components within the scientific instruments on board.

The detailed information and images obtained are helping us to understand more about the universe than ever before, including the detection of new extra-solar planets, investigations into black holes, the high resolution mapping of Mars and the discovery of significant environmental climate changes on Earth.

Custom sensor designs, packaging and focal plane integration from e2v are recognised for their technical excellence by the world’s major space agencies, including NASA, ESA, JAXA and CSA.

On the ground the highest levels of device performance are required by astronomical spectroscopy, wavefront sensing, adaptive optics, imaging and auxiliary instrument applications. Our sensors and arrays are chosen by most of the world’s observatories.

The technology underpinning the performance of our image sensors in space and astronomy has been developed over 30 years of involvement with the highest profile imaging projects. We have a wide range of well characterised standard products which can often be used for special projects without modification. Specific areas of technological expertise, which make our devices well suited to space and astronomy use, include:

  • Very capable and widely used custom design capability with deep physics base and very high success rate for first iteration design
  • Extensive experience in package design and manufacture to meet optical, mechanical and thermal requirements for simple devices or complete focal plane arrays
  • Extensive and flexible qualification heritage with many years experience with NASA, ESA, CNES, JAXA and ISRO as well as simple upscreen approaches
  • Comprehensive technology from the most stable back illumination as standard to charge multiplication
  • Extensive knowledge and experience in radiation effects and mitigation, combined with radiation tolerant design


Scientific Sensors

A broad range of e2v image sensors are offered for spectroscopy, microscopy, crystallography, fluoroscopy and broad scientific imaging applications, including physical and life sciences. Our technological capabilities include:

  • A product suite ranging from standard, front-illuminated CCDs to back-illuminated and custom devices / imaging sub-assemblies
  • L3Vision™ low light performance sensors, ideal for the detection of fluorescent and luminescent markers in life sciences
  • On-chip, very low noise output amplifiers
  • Anti-reflective coatings
  • Wavelength conversion coatings
  • Inverted mode (IMO) structures to achieve typically 200 times less dark current than a standard CCD
  • Advanced IMO (AIMO) structures to minimise the reduction in full-well capacity