ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository
From space to Earth and back, sunsensors on a detour
Lens Research & Development is a start-up company which specializes in the development of sunsensors for space and terrestrial applications. Founded March 2012 the first contract obtained entailed the development of a reliable but cost effective sunsensor for concentrated photovoltaic applications in frame of an ESA business incubation contract. (targeting spin-off of space technology for terrestrial applications). Optimizing the production of the sensors for high volume manufacturing (> 10.000 units/year) has led to new insights and availability of tools required to optimize the costs. The same tools and principles have been used to manufacture a first series of analogue fine sunsensors for space applications (named BiSon 64). A first 0 series of these sensors have been produced and are now under qualification. The main advantages of the BiSon 64 sunsensors are the high reliability and the cost effectiveness obtained through a number of manufacturing improvements: <br><br>Monolithic housing <br><br>Wire bondable integrated connector(developed in cooperation with Axon Cable) <br><br> Vision assisted pick and place (developed in cooperation with Lewicki microelectronics) <br><br>Batch wise manufacturing and recurring production. First test results have shown to be very promising and full qualification of the sensors is foreseen before Q2/2015. As the silicon used is already tested for radiation tolerance and the device is passive, the main issues remaining are the calibration, shock and vibration testing and thermal cycling. It has been proven that calibration requires a lot of initial setup optimization which will be presented in this paper. As it is obvious that shock and vibration handling are extremely high due to the construction of the devices, the main issue remaining after the calibration is the effect of thermal cycling on the performance of the devices. As a first level qualification each and every device will have to sustain 10 cycles from -55 to +125 degrees C, as a workmanship test, but this doesnt prove the ability to survive > 10.000 thermal cycles between -40 and +100 degrees C which will have to be shown through a dedicated test program. These tests however will require a couple of months to complete once initiated.