1.2 gigapixel ‘CryoCam’ from UK developer

(Optics.org) CCD and CMOS sensor developer e2v Technologies says that its ?CryoCam? 1.2 gigapixel camera subsystem has passed a critical milestone in advance of integration with a major telescope project in Spain.

The Javalambre Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) project, a collaboration between Brazilian and Spanish scientists, has completed a factory acceptance test on the camera, which is now set for delivery.

Once installed on the 2.5 meter-diameter telescope in the Aragon region of Spain, the CryoCam will be used in a five-year survey of an anticipated 14 million galaxies across the northern sky. Astrophysicists will use the data collected on red-shifted light from those galaxies to build a high-fidelity 3D map of the universe and a detailed study of so-called “dark energy”.

Flat focal plane
UK-headquartered e2v says that one of the key features of the giant CCD array is its exceptionally flat focal plane. The full array comprises 14 individual sensors, each comprising 9000 x 9000 pixels.

According to Mark Robbins from the company, who gave a presentation about CryoCam?s development at the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation conference in Edinburgh earlier this week, the 27 µm peak-to-valley flatness far exceeded expectations, with the telescope consortium?s representatives ?delighted? at the characterization result.

Robbins also highlighted excellent test results confirming low noise and cross-talk. That is critical because the wide-field J-PAS telescope, which boasts a 3° field of view, will detect light across an unprecedented 56 narrow-band filters in the optical region.

In a release from e2v Renato Dupke, principal investigator for the Brazilian side of J-PAS at the Observatório Nacional, said: ?We are very happy with the development of e2v?s 1.2 gigapixel cryogenic CCD camera for the J-PAS project. The subsystem is already achieving in-factory performances significantly beyond our original expectations.

?Tests are already suggesting an equivalent performance when the subsystem is fully integrated at the telescope. This will have a giant impact on a wide variety of fields in astronomy, in particular on the nature of dark energy.?

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About Chris Hills CPP, CRMP

An entrepreneur with experience starting companies in the IP security video market. Chris started D3data a megapixel security video management software company. Chris sold D3data to Motorola in 2005 and became CEO of Mosaic Global Solutions, a megapixel security camera company.