CIMI research team
At ISAE SUPAERO, the Department of Electronics, Optronics and Signal Processing (DEOS) develops and realizes the payloads for the advanced aeronautics and space applications of tomorrow. The skills of its teams covers a wide range of technologies, from silicon sensors design to interplanetary science payloads, and from theoretical signal studies to advanced communication and navigation systems .
The “Conception d’IMageurs Intégrés” (CIMI – Integrated Image Sensor Design) group studies, develops and characterizes active pixel image sensors (CMOS Image Sensors (CISs)) on silicon for visible and near-infrared radiation.
The CIMI group’s studies and objectives meet the need for the integration, miniaturization and improvement of image sensor performances. These are key components in cameras, vision systems for space instruments and imaging systems with ionizing radiation hardening. A CIS detector basically comprises a matrix of pixels to retrieve a voltage value proportional to the photons detected, a readout circuit for processing the voltage values for all the pixels and decoders for addressing the pixels.
We work in cooperation with:
- Airbus Defence & Space to develop image sensors and space instruments since 1994 (CRISTAL Corporate Chair established in 2009).
- CEA-DAM since 2010 (joint research team since 2012) for the study of the vulnerability of imagers in severe (nuclear) radiation environments.
- Thales Alenia Space to develop image sensors (Corporate Chair established in 2015)
There are 4 main research topics in the research group:
Study and development of image sensors on silicon for visible and near-infrared radiation
Nano/microelectronics / Integrated circuits / Semi-conductor system physics / Photodetection physics
Effects of nuclear and space radiation on image sensors and hardening by design (Image credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Genna Duberstein)
Electronics at cryogenic temperatures
Our industrial and institutional partners
- ADS (Airbus Defence & Space)
- ANDRA (Agence Nationale des Déchets RAdioactifs - National Radioactive Waste Agency)
- CEA DAM (Commissariat à l‘Energie Atomique, Direction des Applications Militaires - Atomic Energy Commission, Military Applications Division)
- CNES (Centre National d‘Etudes Spatiales - National Centre for Space Studies)
- C2N CNRS (Centre de Nanosciences et de Nanotechnologies, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Center – National Center for Scientific Research)
- DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement - Directorate General of Armaments)
- ESA (European Space Agency)
- F4E (Fusion For Energy)
- Sodern (subsidiary of the aerospace firm ArianeGroup)
- TAS (Thales Alenia Space)
Research and development in collaboration with industry
Main R&D for the space environment:
- A CIMI detector on the Copernicus satellite for the LSTM mission (Land Surface Temperature Monitoring) will be designed in 2021.
- A CIMI detector on the GEO-KOMPSAT-2B satellite (Geostationary - Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-2), designed in 2014.
- A CIMI detector on the Sentinel 2-A and 2-B Earth observation satellites, designed in 2011.
- A CIMI detector to establish an optical link through the atmosphere between an airborne carrier representative of future drones and ESA’s ARTEMIS geostationary satellite, designed in 2006.
- A CIMI detector on the GEO-KOMPSAT-1 satellite (Geostationary - Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-1) and the COMS satellite (Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite), designed in 2005.
The optical link between an airplane and a satellite is a worldwide first. An APS (Active Pixel Sensor) detector in space is a worldwide first for the CIMI detector on the GEO-KOMPSAT-1 satellite placed in geostationary orbit in 2010.
Main R&D concerning radiation environments:
- A CIMI detector with ionizing radiation hardening (over 1 MGy) for on-site characterization of nuclear waste, designed in 2020.
- A CIMI detector with ionizing radiation hardening (over 1 MGy) for remote viewing and inspection during remote handling operations for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), designed in 2019.
- On the subject of the ITER reactor, the CIMI detector can provide quality images after 1-MGy of radiation. A worldwide first!
CIMI design and measurement resources
- Linux workstations for circuit design.
- Word generators, low-noise power supplies, arbitrary signal generators, etc.
- Calibrated electrical analysis instruments (oscilloscopes, logic analyzers) and optical instruments (power meters, spectroradiometers).
- Portable characterization test benches for characterization needs at outside sites.
- High-uniformity, high-stability optical sources.
- Two monochromators for fine analysis of spectral sensitivity.
- Heat chambers for temperature studies.
- Motorized translation stages for measuring image quality.
- Microscopes for circuit observations.
- A scanning electron microscope (SEM) for topographic analysis (µlens observations, sectional views, etc.), but also for the extraction of physical parameters by EBIC.
- A SNOM (Scanning Near field Optical Microscope) near field microscope and an atomic force microscope (AFM) to measure intra-pixel sensitivity and topography.
- A 350-kV X-ray irradiator.
- An annealing furnace.
- Two parametric analyzers for semiconductor devices.
- A wafer prober for measuring electrical parameters (leakage current, noise, capacity, etc.) on non-packaged imaging structures not in housings.
- A wafer prober for cryogenic environments (cryotesting ranging from 300K to 80K) for measuring electrical parameters on elementary microelectronic systems (from bare circuits to 8" wafers).
- A cryostat able to hold complete imaging components and readout circuits for electrical tests and in the dark (300K to 80K).
- A characterization test bench for low-frequency noise that can operate in cryogenic environments.
- Electrical measurement equipment on elementary devices in housings (300K to 10K).