University of Coimbra sensors headed to space

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 13-12-2020 18:00:00 · 0 Comments

Scientists from the University of Coimbra (UC) have developed new sensors for the cameras of X-ray and gamma telescopes sent into space, which will be used in a mission by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The scientific experiment was led by Rui Curado Silva, professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology of UC and researcher at the Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics (LIP).

According to the note, the experiment was selected as part of the Euro Material Ageing contest, promoted by ESA, with the aim of "analysing the effects of the space environment on the materials of the cameras of future gamma-ray telescopes".

"These sensors, when exposed to the orbital radiation environment in space, are damaged and their function degrades over time. Until nowadays, these effects have never been studied with the required depth for this type of sensors", explains Rui Curado Silva, coordinator of the project.

Some of the sensors developed at UC are going to be sent into space and installed on the Bartolomeo platform, which is outside the International Space Station, "exposed to the outside radiation environment, with extreme temperature variations: about -150 ° Celsius when orbiting on the night side of the Earth and 120 º Celsius when it is on the side of the sun".

The mission, scheduled to launch between the end of 2021 and middle 2022, will last one year testing the sensors for radiation exposure and extreme cycles of temperature variation on the platform.

The sensors will then be sent back to Coimbra to be connected and tested and, if they work, how degraded they are after the experiment.

Based on this analysis, "the team will then be able to validate or not validate these sensors to be used in future space telescopes for high energy astrophysics and also understand how we can produce even better sensors", says the statement.



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