Euclid Mission Scheduled to Launch in 2020

Euclid is a European Space Agency (ESA)–led mission to orbit a telescope at the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrangian point in order to do a comprehensive survey of galaxies over about one-third of the sky. This survey will be used to develop a map of mass distribution in the universe, which will then allow powerful tests of cosmological theories. The focal plane of the Euclid telescope contains a visible light instrument and a Near Infrared Spectro-Photometer (NISP). NASA/JPL is providing 16 “sensor chip systems,” composed of infrared detectors, cables, and cryogenic electronics, to ESA and the NISP team in France.

The detector arrays and application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip used in the cryogenics electronics were provided by Teledyne Imaging Systems in Camarillo, California. The NASA team, including engineers at JPL and the Goddard Space Flight Center, have developed a package for the ASIC that works at cryogenic temperatures with high reliability. The package is based on chip-on-board architectures used for JPL’s Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE), Goddard’s Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), and Goddard’s Microshutter Arrays to launch on the James Webb Space Telescope, all of which were operated successfully in space at deep cryogenic temperatures well below 130 K, the operating temperature required for the Euclid ASIC. MDL is manufacturing flight silicon fan out boards for the new ASIC package. This silicon fan out is necessary to interface the fine wire bond pitch on the ASIC to a wider wire bond pitch on the printed circuit boards.

The silicon fan out fabrication leverages an EX6 stepper photo-lithography system to produce all units quickly and with near 100 percent yield. JPL is also performing the epoxy attach of the silicon components to the metal housing and the fine wire bonding of the fan out to the wiring board and from the ASIC to the fan out. Both processes have been developed specially by NASA/JPL to survive thermal cycling to cryogenic temperatures. These processes are directly applicable to future electronics to be built for missions to moons of outer planets such as Europa, Enceladus, and Titan, and for cutting edge, industry-leading “Earth bound” technologies such as superconducting quantum computing.

Giuseppe Racca is the Euclid project manager for ESA, René Laureijs is the Euclid project scientist, and Jason Rhodes is the NASA representative on the Euclid science team. Technical lead for the Cryogenic Electronics Packaging is Warren Holmes at MDL.

This artist's concept shows the Euclid spacecraft. A 1.2 m-diameter telescope with infrared detectors for science and data analysis.
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Euclid will address the question of why the expansion of the universe is accelerating and probe the nature of dark energy, which is responsible for this acceleration. Dark energy represents the majority of the energy content of the Universe today and, along with dark matter it dominates the content of the universe. Caption adapted from
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