A paper describes the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), a QWIP-based instrument intended to supplement the Operational Land Imager (OLI) for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). The TIRS instrument is a farinfrared imager operating in the pushbroom mode with two IR channels: 10.8 and 12 μm. The focal plane will contain three 640×512 QWIP arrays mounted on a silicon substrate. The silicon substrate is a custom-fabricated carrier board with a single layer of aluminum interconnects. The general fabrication process starts with a 4-in. (≈10-cm) diameter silicon wafer. The wafer is oxidized, a single substrate contact is etched, and aluminum is deposited, patterned, and alloyed.

This technology development is aimed at incorporating three large-format infrared detecting arrays based on GaAs QWIP technology onto a common focal plane with precision alignment of all three arrays. This focal plane must survive the rigors of flight qualification and operate at a temperature of 43 K (–230 °C) for five years while orbiting the Earth. The challenges presented include ensuring thermal compatibility among all the components, designing and building a compact, somewhat modular system and ensuring alignment to very tight levels.

The multi-array focal plane integrated onto a single silicon substrate is a new application of both QWIP array development and silicon wafer scale integration. The Invar-based assembly has been tested to ensure thermal reliability.

This work was done by Murzy Jhabvala, Christine A. Jhabvala, Audrey J. Ewin, Larry A. Hess, Thomas M. Hartmann, and Anh T. La of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15849-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the August, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.