Rockwell Scientific Awarded $4.4M for Astronomy Detectors

THOUSAND OAKS, CA, August 7, 2002 -- Rockwell Scientific Company LLC (RSC) has been awarded two $2.2 million contracts -- from Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and Gemini Observatory -- to fabricate and deliver, to each organization, molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) mercury cadmium telluride 2048 x 2048 short-wave infrared sensor chip assemblies on HAWAII-2RG multiplexers.

Sets of four focal plane arrays will be "tiled" into 2 x 2 mosaic configurations totaling 4096 x 4096 pixels. One of the 4096 x 4096 mosaics will be installed in the CFHT Wide Field Infrared Camera (WIRCAM) instrument on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the other mosaic will be installed in the adaptive optics near-infrared imager on Gemini South in Chile.

These contracts were awarded after CFHT and Gemini determined that RSC is the most qualified FPA supplier in the world to produce devices meeting their entire set of performance specifications. Mercury Cadmium Telluride deposited via MBE on lattice-matched substrates provides state-of-the-art detectors with extremely high performance, enabling very high sensitivity astronomical observations deeper and deeper into the universe.

The HAWAII-2RG is RSC's newest and most advanced multiplexer circuit for astronomy. RSC designed this multiplexer to build the focal plane arrays for possible use on NASA's Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), which will be the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The overall effort of developing the HAWAII-2RG multiplexer has been funded by NASA through the University of Hawaii.
"We are extremely pleased to have been chosen to make the focal plane arrays for these two giants in the ground-based astronomy community. These devices will enable new science observations that have not been technologically possible before," said Kadri Vural, Vice President of the Imaging division of Rockwell Scientific.

Rockwell Scientific is an independent, privately owned high technology enterprise with unique technical strengths in electronics, imaging, optics, materials, and information science. Its range of activities includes contract research and development services for the U.S. government and private sector companies, as well as commercialization of select technologies through licensing and the development, manufacturing, and sales of high value products closely related to its R&D efforts.

Additional information can be obtained at

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