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Sensor for IR wawelength range

Context evolution

  • E-ELT decided in 2014 and started, as well as equivalent other ELT
  • ARIEL one of the three missions selected for a phase A study by ESA in the framework of the M4 mission of the cosmic vision 2015-2015 programme
  • calls for tenders foressen to provide near IR arrays for ELT instruments
    => first generation E-ELT instruments require 
3 times more pixels than the whole VLT instrumentation.


FOCUS progresses

On line with FOCUS proposal : developments along three axes :

  • HgCdTe large format near IR arrays
  • HgCdTe electron Avalanche Photo-Diodes IR arrays (APD)
  • HgCdTe mid-IR arrays

European HgCdTe near IR array : within reach


  • Developping a strong partnership between industrial and academic partners to produce IR detectors with the best required performance for astrophysics
  • ESA calls for developing IR arrays
  • FOCUS (+ SOFRADIR) selected for Phase 1 and then 2

Improving performances close to specifications (dark current, read out noise)

Very low flux test bench for scientific qualification
O. Boulade et al. 2014

Last phase ESA call expected soon > increase format to 2k*2k
Preparation with SOFRADIR initiated by FOCUS

  • 1 dedicated FOCUS-SOFRADIR workshop
  • plus 1 additional strategic meeting

Near IR Avalanche PhotoDiodes : European lead


  • new technology HgCdTe sensors with promising high performances


  • to develop very fast IR detector which can be read at 1000 Hz - Applications : Adaptive Optics, interferometry, planetary space missions
  • Europe Lead : SOFRADIR-LETI (FR), SELEX (UK)
  • Started before FOCUS : program RAPID

Key contributions of FOCUS

  • link with astrophysicists 
 > installation in the PIONIER instrument VLTI at Paranal
    > ipag.osug.fr/un-nouveau-detecteur-infrarouge
  • Fainter objects detection (x 2 or 1.5 magnitude)
  • Faster operation (x 2) for degraded weather conditions.
  • Funding technical batches to improve performances