Detector and Sensor Technology
Environmental circumstances and recent developments in detector technology require thermal management for equipment to operate at extreme temperatures. II-VI Marlow specifically formulated and developed a family of low-temperature thermoelectric materials to address this requirement.
These materials allow the II-VI Marlow designer to develop coolers that match your application size, weight and power conservation requirements while providing reliable thermal stabilization at extreme temperatures. II-VI Marlow coolers in this program, for example, provide temperature stabilization at 140 Kelvin for various space applications. II-VI Marlow continues to drive material research and development capability to ensure the highest performance on low-temperature thermoelectric materials.
Examples of detector and sensor cooling and temperature stabilization include:
Star Tracking Systems
Celestial navigation is employed widely in missile guidance, satellite attitude determination, aircrafts and spacecrafts, and is performed by Star Tracking Systems. A Star Tracking System uses stellar references obtained by various narrow-field-of-view "Canopus Trackers" cameras to update inertial references. II-VI Marlow provides space-qualified thermoelectric coolers to cool detectors and increase their sensitivity.
Thermal Imaging Cameras
A Thermal Imaging Camera contains a sensor that reacts to infrared energy from surrounding objects and coverts this “thermal signature” to a visible image. Thermoelectric coolers (TECs) stabilize the temperature of the infrared detector, ensuring the camera produces the best image from external photonic sources. These thermal images, for example, allow firefighters to see in dense, smoke-filled environments to identify hot spots, thereby revolutionizing firefighting methods and improving firefighter safety.
Infrared/Visible Detectors, CCD Sensors
Infrared/Visible spectrum detectors and CCD sensors have negative temperature performance coefficients – exposure to cool temperatures reduces noise generation characteristics and improves sensitivity/performance. II-VI Marlow provides thermoelectric coolers (TECs) that use single-stage cooling for near-room temperature operation through six stages cooling for operation to 170 Kelvin (-103°C).
Hubble Space Telescope Application
II-VI Marlow has provided thermoelectric coolers (TECs) for the Hubble Space Telescope’s (HST) initial Wide Field Planetary Camera (WFPC 1) and all subsequent WFPC 2 and 3 upgrades. These coolers enable detectors to meet specified performance parameters necessary to view the myriad of extraordinary stars, galaxies and other astronomical bodies and formations existing throughout our universe. In addition, II-VI Marlow has designed, developed, fabricated, space-qualified and delivered single-stage and multi-stage thermoelectric coolers over the lifetime of the Hubble for various instruments. Each design met stringent cooling and environmental endurance requirements.