TowerJazz (NASDAQ: TSEM), the global specialty foundry leader, and SRI International, an independent nonprofit research center, announce their collaboration on a high-performance CMOS imager for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The imager is now part of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission heading closer to the sun than any other manmade object. In August 2018, Parker Solar Probe launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida to better understand how the sun affects our solar system.
The NASA spacecraft is carrying four instrument suites to characterize the dynamic region close to the sun. One of those instruments, the NRL’s Wide-Field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR), is the only imaging instrument and contains two coronagraph telescopes incorporating SRI’s active pixel CMOS detectors. The CMOS imagers are 2k x 2k radiation-hardened sensors, designed and integrated into focal-plane arrays (FPAs) by SRI, built using TowerJazz’s advanced and customized 0.18um CMOS image sensor technology in its U.S. fab in Newport Beach, California.
These space-qualified CMOS sensors can capture high-resolution images of the sun’s atmosphere (or corona), including coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and solar wind. The images may provide a unique vantage point to help forecast space weather events that can have dramatic effects on communications, power and other essential technologies on Earth.
“It is exciting to see the launch of this advanced instrumentation to better understand our sun,” said John R. Tower, Ph.D., Technical Director, SRI International. “We thank NRL for selecting us to supply this custom CMOS sensor and TowerJazz for their continued commitment to our aerospace product developments.”
TowerJazz’s breakthrough CMOS image sensor offering, together with its strong presence in the specialty imager market, its trusted support and legacy in serving U.S. aerospace and defense customers, provides an ideal manufacturing environment.
“TowerJazz has been working with SRI for several years to develop custom technology to support U.S. government imaging applications,” said Mike Scott, Director, TowerJazz USA Aerospace & Defense. “We are very pleased to see our teamwork take flight in this exciting endeavor by NASA. We value our collaboration with SRI to deliver this highly advanced CMOS imaging technology to NRL and we look forward to more joint success in the future.”