A test tool is under development within the SWIRUP project to control the detector and to acquire images. This tool called Video Acquisition System is used in association with a cryogenic system to cool down the detector.

Using initial design and specifications from Thales Alenia Space, partner Rutherford Appleton Laboratory has designed this common SWIRup test tool. It offers two operating configurations, (i) standard detector testing by Thales Alenia Space (Fig. 1), and (ii) hyperspectral imaging using a HySpex spectrometer from Norsk Elektro Optikk (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1 3D illustration of the test tool using the Thales Alenia Space configuration.

Fig 2. 3D illustration of the test tool using the HySpex spectrometer.

The standard detector testing will include photoresponse, detector linearity, temporal and spatial noises in a radiometric configuration and MTF measurements at 3 SWIR wavelengths. In hyperspectral imaging, the test tool will enable an experimental comparison between the SWIRup III-V detectors and commercial MCT detectors. This important technology comparison is made possible, owing to the test tool’s bespoke vacuum chamber and video acquisition system. The video acquisition system is custom-designed, including 18-bit ADC and front-end electronics integrated within the cryostat completed by a National Instruments PXI platform.