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RSC, UMC Develop IC for Infrared Astronomy Applications
Aug 2002
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. & HSINCHU, Taiwan, August 26 -- Rockwell Scientific Co. LLC (RSC) and UMC announced they have developed the HAWAII-2RG, a readout integrated circuit (ROIC) designed by RSC and fabricated by UMC based on its mixed-mode CMOS process and precision stitching technique. The project was funded by the NASA Ames Research Center through a contract with the University of Hawaii.

The 40 mm x 40 mm chip is being used with infrared detectors developed by RSC to produce astronomy focal plane arrays (FPAs) with a base resolution of 4.2 million pixels and mosaic resolution of 16.8 million pixels. The infrared imaging sensor will be used in several of the world's largest ground-based telescopes; the arrays are also one of the candidates for NASA's next-generation space telescope (NGST).

RSC produces the FPA by bonding the HAWAII-2RG readout to a matching 2048 by 2048 infrared detector array fabricated in mercury cadmium telluride (HgCdTe), resulting in infrared sensors with 60 percent larger areas than 35 mm film.

NASA is also seeking a way to produce infrared sensor mosaics for its NGST. The NGST, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is planned for launch in 2010. The project will orbit a six-meter class telescope at the Lagrangian L-2 point, far beyond the moon's orbit. If selected for flight, sets of four HAWAII-2RG infrared FPAs would be closely butted to make 4096 x 4096 mosaics for NGST, the most advanced infrared mosaics ever made, RSC said.

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