Sensor company gains funding for space imaging project

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Image sensor for ultra-low noise optical astronomy

VivaMOS is taking its low dose X-Ray image sensing expertise to new heights as part of the deep space imaging project.

X-Ray image sensing specialist, vivaMOS has become involved in the national SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) business support programme to take its technology to new heights with the innovative deep space imaging project. SPRINT funding will enable vivaMOS to collaborate with imaging experts from the University of Southampton to develop an ultra-low noise camera, suitable for applications in optical astronomy and medical imaging.

This project will build on cutting-edge stitched Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology for large-area imaging. vivaMOS will collaborate with the astronomy group within the University of Southampton which has considerable expertise in the design and construction of optical and X-ray telescope instrumentation, and in low noise detector test and calibration.

The aim of this project is to exploit the low noise and high sensitivity capabilities of the vivaMOS sensor. This will enable the development of a large field-of-view camera that can be used in optical astronomy, with further potential opportunities for detectors in the medical field of single-photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT) imaging.

Dan Cathie, Chief Executive Officer at vivaMOS said: “We’ve been involved in several other projects detecting signals from very low radiation sources. Although these have resolved information to a promising level, they’re not quite there yet. We know the sensor is best-in-class on noise performance and have committed to pursuing it further to see if a product can be developed through this SPRINT ultra-low noise optical astronomy project.

“The University suggested focusing on optical astronomy based on their expertise within the space cluster so we’re confident of getting good support. The results of the project will also feed directly into our product development roadmap for ultra-low dose X-ray imaging.”

Tony Bird, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Southampton added: “To this project with vivaMOS, we bring a background in astronomy, with particular experience in optical astronomy and astronomy detection integration, a focus on software and algorithms, and a strong interest in improving astronomy instruments.

“Local links are very important and it’s great to be working with a local company such as vivaMOS. The project provides a strong platform from a teaching point of view.”

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