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Proceedings Paper

Thermoelectric radiation sensors for the space mission BepiColombo to Mercury
Author(s): Frank Hänschke; Andreas Ihring; Ernst Kessler; Jörg Knollenberg; Ingo Walter; Ulrich Dillner; Hans-Georg Meyer
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Paper Abstract

We present a newly designed thermoelectric detector chip of high detectivity for the space mission BepiColombo to Mercury. The sensor is part of the MERTIS radiometer, which enables radiometric measurements in the spectral range from 7-40 micron to study the thermo-physical properties of the planet's surface material. In collaboration with the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, the Institute of Photonic Technology has developed a sensor array with a specific detectivity D* of 1.3 x 109 Jones in vacuum environment and 2 x 15 individual readable channels. In addition, it has an optical slit in the middle, which serves as the entrance slit of a spectrometer downstream. The sensor area is coated with an absorbing layer, in this case silver black having an absorption coefficient of nearly 100 percent in a wavelength range from 0.4 up to 20 micron. To minimize the thermal cross talk between the individual pixels, each pixel is separated by a 50 micron slit in the self-supporting silicon nitride membrane. For good mechanical stability of the pixels, the pixel membrane is tensioned by 10 micron bridges like braces. The sensor is electrically contacted with a star-flex PCB by direct wire bonding and both are mounted on milled aluminum housing. At the Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT), high detectivity radiation sensors are developed and based on the thermoelectric principle. The thermoelectric materials used are the highly effective combination of n-bismuth(87%)- antimony(13%) / p-antimony. The sensors are designed, in the main, as miniaturized multi-junction thermocouples and made by state of the art thin film technologies allowing for achievable and reproducible detectivities D* in the range of 108 up to 2 x 109 Jones.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 May 2013
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8739, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications VI, 87390E (21 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2016036
Show Author Affiliations
Frank Hänschke, Institut für Photonische Technologien eV (Germany)
Andreas Ihring, Institut für Photonische Technologien eV (Germany)
Ernst Kessler, Institut für Photonische Technologien eV (Germany)
Jörg Knollenberg, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Germany)
Ingo Walter, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Germany)
Ulrich Dillner, Institut für Photonische Technologien eV (Germany)
Hans-Georg Meyer, Institut für Photonische Technologien eV (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8739:
Sensors and Systems for Space Applications VI
Khanh D. Pham; Joseph L. Cox; Richard T. Howard; Genshe Chen, Editor(s)

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