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9 December 2014

Sofradir HgCdTe-based hyperspectral detector launched aboard Japanese space probe to asteroid

Sofradir of Palaiseau near Paris, France, which makes cooled infrared (IR) detectors based on mercury cadmium telluride (MCT/HgCdTe), indium antimonide (InSb), quantum-well infrared photodetector (QWIP) and indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) technology for military, space and industrial applications, says that, on 3 December, one of its NEPTUNE infrared detectors was launched from Tanegashima space center, as part of the MicrOmega hyperspectral microscope aboard the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) space probe HAYABUSA-2.

In mid-2018 the HAYABUSA-2 probe will reach asteroid 1999 JU3 and drop the MASCOT lander on its surface for in-situ analysis using the MicrOmega instrument. The mission will end in 2020 with asteroid ground samples being retrieved to Earth.

Developed more than ten years ago for space-based and airborne hyperspectral or spectrometry applications, Sofradir’s NEPTUNE detector is implemented into the MicrOmega IR microscope, which has been developed by IAS (Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale at Orsay, France) with the support of France’s space agency CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales). Due to its 30μm-pitch 500x256-format HgCdTe array (sensitive from short-wave to low mid-wave infrared), the NEPTUNE hyperspectral detector will image the asteroid ground over 365 spectral bandwidths between 0.95μm and 3.65μm, enabling the determination of its composition (mineral, organic, water).

As witnessed recently with the ongoing ROSETTA mission, this latest deep-space mission will excite interest among both the public and the scientific community, reckons Sofradir’s chairman & CEO Philippe Bensussan.

See related items:

Sofradir launches ready-to-deploy large-format 1024x1024 visible-to-SWIR detector for space missions

Tags: Sofradir HgCdTe IR detectors

Visit: www.sofradir.com

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