PHOENIX, Ariz. – May 22, 2013 – ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN), driving innovation in energy efficiency, has collaborated with SRI International and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to secure funding for the Defense Production Act Title III, Advanced Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) Focal Plane Arrays (FPA) for Visible Sensors for Star Trackers (VSST) Project. The goal of the project is to increase the availability of domestically produced visible imagers, manufactured using advanced CMOS technology, that are designed to enable flexible visible imaging systems for use on-board satellite systems for Department of Defense and other U.S. Government needs.
To meet the goals of the Staring Technology for Enhanced Linear Line-of-sight Angular Recognition (STELLAR) program, the companies will work together to define the specifications and develop an advanced 2D visible image sensor. Each member of the STELLAR team brings unique and complementary capabilities to the project team. ON Semiconductor brings its on-shore and highly modular 180-nanometer CMOS process technology along with its extensive experience designing high performance CMOS image sensors using both rolling and global shutter technology. Ball Aerospace brings deep understanding of star tracker systems and will drive the specification of the CMOS focal plane array as well as the end-system qualification aspects of the devices. SRI International brings extensive experience in designing focal plane arrays for space applications, along with a highly advanced backside illumination (BSI) processing capability based on its ultra-thin silicon on insulator (UTSOI) technology.
The ONC18 CMOS process manufactured at ON Semiconductor’s on-shore 8-in wafer fabrication facility in Gresham, Oregon, is an ideal platform for developing low power and highly integrated digital and mixed-signal application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) devices. The STELLAR program will further expand the ONC18 process to include pinned photodiode and transfer gate devices. Combined with ON Semiconductor’s long term commitment to maintain and support process technologies, this capability enabling development of advanced CMOS image sensors will extend supply availability.
“The addition of an image sensor module to our ONC18 platform reinforces our commitment to the space-level DoD business and the overall image sensor market,” stated Vince Hopkin, vice president, Mil/Aero, Digital, Foundry, IPD and Image Sensor products division at ON Semiconductor. “The ONC18 image sensor process capability will enable a second source capability for the markets we serve including machine-vision, high-speed and biometrics.”
SRI is a leader in the development of charge-coupled device (CCD) and CMOS image sensors for applications requiring high performance including star trackers. SRI’s contributions to the STELLAR team will include radiation-tolerant imager design, high performance pixel design, low noise readout circuitry, high sensitivity silicon back thinning, and space qualified packaging and testing. “In collaboration with ON Semiconductor, SRI will develop an advanced on-shore image sensor processing capability that leverages SRI’s UTSOI back-side illumination technology,” stated John Tower, technical director, Imaging Group, Products and Services Division at SRI. “This capability delivers improved sensor performance in a commercially available CMOS process.”
A pioneer in backside illumination, SRI has developed patented methods of processing silicon wafers to provide an unobstructed path for light to reach the pixels in its image sensors. SRI innovations in BSI date back to the 1970’s, when the group was part of the RCA David Sarnoff Research Center. SRI’s imagers are also widely used in precision scientific instrumentation, space missions, semiconductor inspection, military night vision systems, airborne reconnaissance, security and surveillance, and other areas where high speed, high sensitivity, and high resolution are critical to mission success.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
The VSST program is designed to produce a visible image sensor that can be directly inserted in a star tracker assembly. Star trackers are an integral component of spacecraft guidance and control systems and are used to find a spacecraft’s attitude (the direction it is pointed) in space. “Because commercial CMOS image sensors are not well suited to meet the requirements of a star tracker, the STELLAR development will provide a domestically produced image sensor at a reasonable cost point,” said Kyle Miller, business area manager for Ball Aerospace star tracker products. Ball Aerospace plans to incorporate the STELLAR image sensor into a variety of star tracker and attitude sensor products. These products will be available to spacecraft providers in the DoD, commercial, and civil space markets.
About SRI International
Innovations from SRI International have created new industries, billions of dollars of marketplace value, and lasting benefits to society—touching our lives every day. SRI, a nonprofit research and development institute based in Silicon Valley, brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, new products, and spin-off ventures. Government and business clients come to SRI for pioneering R&D and solutions in computing and communications, chemistry and materials, education, energy, health and pharmaceuticals, national defense, robotics, sensing, and more. For more information, visit www.sri.com.
About Ball Aerospace
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. For more information visit www.ballaerospace.com.
Case Number: 88ABW-2013-2200