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June 2012

Science mission: Bringing the high energy universe into focus

NASA’s Nuclear spectroscopic telescope Array, or NuSTAR, will allow astronomers to see a band of invisible light that has gone largely unexplored until now: the high-energy X-rays. NuSTAR will search for black holes, map supernova explosions, and study the most extreme active galaxies. "The universe is filled with light of many colors, including those we can’t see with our eyes. The colors of the rainbow are actually just a tiny slice of a vast spectrum of light that ranges from radio waves to high-energy gamma-rays." The expected mission duration is two years.

The x-ray satellite NuSTAR, launched in June 2012, is equipped with three DL400 PSDs from First Sensor. The DL400s area duolateral, two-dimensional PSDs with 400mm² active area. They are used for continuous alignment of the telescope optics with respect to the sensor unit. Optics and sensors in x-ray telescopes are separated by are large distance due to the long focal length of x-ray lenses. The 10m deployable mast in the NuSTAR satellite is characterized by low weight and low costs, yet it lacks the required buckling resistance for an optical system. Tilt and torsion of the optics with respect to the sensor are therefore monitored four times each second by three lasers. They are mounted to the optics unit and aligned to the PSDs which are placed on the sensor base. Every single DL400 detector has been measured and tested extensively by engineers of the Jet Propulsion Lab. Six out of seven components have been qualified for the highest demands of space application. A detailed description of the integration of First Sensor PSDs in the NuSTAR project can be found in the June 2012 issue of "IEEE Sensors Journal" (Volume: 12, Issue: 6, Pages: 2006 – 2013).

Related links:
NASA - Mission NuSTAR
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR)

Further product information about our position-sensitive diodes (PSD) can be found here.

Position-sensitive Detectors (PSD) from First Sensor

If you need further information please contact First Sensor.

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First Sensor is one of the world's leading suppliers in the field of sensor systems. In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific solutions for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. Our goal here is to identify, meet and solve the challenges of the future with our innovative sensor solutions early on.
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In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific sensors, electronics, modules and complex systems for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. As a solution provider the company offers complete development services from a first draft and proof of concept up to the development of prototypes and finally serial production. First Sensor offers comprehensive development expertise, state-of-the-art packaging technologies and production capacities in clean rooms from ISO class 8 to 5.
Competencies
In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific sensors, electronics, modules and complex systems for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. As a solution provider the company offers complete development services from a first draft and proof of concept up to the development of prototypes and finally serial production. First Sensor offers comprehensive development expertise, state-of-the-art packaging technologies and production capacities in clean rooms from ISO class 8 to 5.
Career
Innovation, excellence, proximity – these are our values, our ambition, our drive. Anything less is not an option. Our sensor solutions stand for technical innovation and economic growth. As such, they form the basis for the development and application of new technologies in almost all areas of life. We aim to shape this future together with you.

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