Teledyne's Imaging Sensor Technologies Increase the Vision of the Hubble Space Telescope
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – May 26, 2009 – Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE: TDY) announced today that its subsidiary, Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC (“TS&I”) has played a key role in the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Servicing Mission 4, with technologies from Teledyne installed in two HST instruments. Teledyne’s new type of infrared imaging sensor in the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) instrument is designed to enable the HST to see further in the Universe, and Teledyne’s new electronics chip, the SIDECAR ASIC, is central to the repair of the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), bringing back on-line the most popular instrument of the HST. These two instruments combine to provide HST with a significantly improved capability for wide field imaging, with many discoveries expected to follow.
The WFC3 opens a new era of discovery by the Hubble Space Telescope. Nearly all of the iconic Hubble images have been taken with CCDs that are primarily sensitive to visible light. Until now, infrared (IR) imaging has been constrained by the small 256x256 pixel detectors of the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) instrument, which were state-of-the-art when NICMOS was installed in the HST in 1997. Teledyne’s 1024x1024 pixel IR sensor in WFC3 opens the door to wide field IR imaging by providing a sixteen-fold increase in the number of IR pixels. In addition, the IR array has higher quantum efficiency, lower readout noise, and lower dark current. Combined with the high efficiency of the WFC3 optics, the IR imager of WFC3 provides up to 30 times increase in discovery efficiency in the near IR spectrum.
The WFC3 IR sensor uses a new detector technology pioneered by Teledyne called "substrate-removed HgCdTe". It provides improved IR sensitivity, significantly reduces noise from cosmic rays, and introduces sensitivity to visible light enabling a single instrument to simultaneously measure both visible and infrared light. Already operating on NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper, Teledyne has delivered substrate-removed HgCdTe focal plane arrays for the James Webb Space Telescope and for the WISE space astronomy mission scheduled to launch in November 2009. Teledyne’s substrate-removed HgCdTe focal plane array is the baseline technology for several future space astronomy and Earth observation missions.
The ACS instrument had been used for more than 50% of the observing time until the failure of the ACS electronics in February 2007. The repair of the ACS electronics is based on a new type of Application Specific Integrated Circuit, or ASIC, that Teledyne developed for use with the imaging sensors of the James Webb Space Telescope.
The SIDECAR ASIC enables an entire circuit board’s worth of electronics to be condensed into a very small package that saves size, weight and power – three of the most important parameters for space missions. The SIDECAR provides bias voltages and clock signals needed to operate the image sensors in the ACS, and reads the output signals from the sensors and converts them to digital signals that are processed by the spacecraft’s electronics for transmission to the ground. The microprocessor in the SIDECAR also provides a high degree of flexibility with the possibility to re-program the ACS operation from the ground, so that the ACS can be fine-tuned for best performance.
Teledyne has a long relationship with the Hubble Space Telescope, beginning with the supply of the infrared sensors for NICMOS. Teledyne now has imaging technologies in three of the six HST instruments: NICMOS, WFC3 and ACS.
Teledyne Technologies is a leading provider of sophisticated electronic components, instrumentation and communication products, engineered systems, aerospace engines, and energy and power generation systems. Teledyne Technologies’ operations are primarily located in the United States, the United Kingdom and Mexico. For more information, visit Teledyne Technologies' website at www.teledyne.com.
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