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Improving space imaging sensors with nano-black coating

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OU researchers have received funding to test the results of applying a nano-black coating to space sensors so that they can take better images.

Dr Martin Prest, a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, has received just over £89,000 from the European Space Agency to work with Teledyne e2v, who make image sensors, and Aalto University, Finland, who will supply the novel black anti-reflective process.

Dr Prest and his team will draw on their extensive experience of testing CMOS (short for complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) sensors to test the workings of the new coated sensors.

“The potential impact is improved sensitivity over a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum, from x-ray to infra-red,” he said.

“Black silicon has already shown significant improvements in the field of photovoltaics, but this is the first time it will be tested on CMOS image sensors.”

If successful, this project will represent a major advance in anti-reflection coating for space sensors and would substantially improve the performance of future silicon detectors with commercial applications in aerospace, medical and automotive sectors.

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