Custom fiber bundle assemblies enable Mars mission

May 21, 2009--CeramOptec GmbH (Bonn, Germany), manufacturer of specialty optical fibers, bundles and assemblies, says it has joined in the search for life on Mars. The company has supplied Selex Galileo with custom fiber optic bundles for use on instruments that will travel to space on the ExoMars mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). The mission's purpose is to further characterize the biological environment on Mars.

May 21st, 2009

May 21, 2009--CeramOptec GmbH (Bonn, Germany), manufacturer of specialty optical fibers, bundles and assemblies, says it has joined in the search for life on Mars. The company has supplied Selex Galileo with custom fiber optic bundles for use on instruments that will travel to space on the ExoMars mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). The mission's purpose is to further characterize the biological environment on Mars.

"Our ability to control all aspects of fiber manufacture allows us to provide a solution to the mission's instrumentation challenge without compromises, and help maximize the opportunities for success," said Axel Hoben, Sales Engineer at CeramOptec GmbH.

Specifically, CeramOptec is furnishing the Mars Multispectral Imager for Subsurface Studies (Ma_Miss) with custom fiber bundle assemblies that provide illumination for and gather multispectral images from a drill located on the ExoMars rover. The Ma_Miss instrument is a visible-infrared spectrometer being developed for ESA by Selex Galileo under the direction of Prof. Angioletta Coradini and funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The instrument works through a sapphire window at the drill's side wall to analyze the material through which the drill is passing. One custom bundle assembly will illuminate material through the sapphire window while signal link assemblies gather the multispectral images and carry them back to the spectrometer for analysis.

To achieve the highest quality multispectral signals, CeramOptec faced the challenge of creating a bundle with low attenuation from 400nm to 2400nm. The company leveraged its ability to manufacture custom fiber preforms and developed a fiber with an extremely low OH content from which to form the bundles. In creating the final assembly CeramOptec partnered with Euromicron GmbH, which designed the specialized connectors used in the assemblies.

The Ma_Miss will be collecting data that should yield important information on the geographic evolution of the planet's near surface crust, the evolution of atmosphere and climate, and the existence of life--past or present--on Mars.

CeramOptec produces stock and custom silica /silica, plastic-clad silica, and hard polymer-clad silica optical fibers; fused capillary tubing; DPSS lasers; diode modules; and low loss bundles and assemblies for UV, VIS, and IR transmission, medical laser delivery, sensors, plasma fusion, and spectroscopy.

Selex Galileo is the brand adopted by Galileo Avionica SpA and SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems Ltd.--both Finmeccanica companies--to present a common identity to the market. With the name Selex Galileo, the two companies represent a leading defence electronics entity, providing world-class capabilities in surveillance, protection, tracking, targeting, navigation & control, and imaging systems.

For more about CeramOptec see the company's website.

Find more information about ExoMars and the Mars Multispectral Imager for Subsurface Studies (Ma_Miss) at the European Space Agency site.

Further details about Selex Galileo can be found on that organization's site.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for Laser Focus World.

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