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Photek to develop next generation of optical/UV detectors for space applications

NEWS: Major photon detector technologies project with University of Leicester, as part of national SPRINT programme

SPRINT partner, University of Leicester to work on collaborative project with Photek

Photek, a Sussex-based specialist manufacturer and global supplier of vacuum-based tubes and camera systems for photon detection, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme. SPRINT will provide Photek with access to funding to support a major scientific project with SPRINT partner, the University of Leicester, to develop and test a new generation of optical/UV detectors for applications in future space missions.

The Photek project will develop and demonstrate one or more proof of concept techniques for large format photon counting electronic image readouts with enhanced spatial resolution, photon timing and dynamic range. The technology will leverage the latest developments in miniaturised multichannel electronics ASICs to allow detector miniaturisation and reduced power consumption. These solutions can be used in applications including space weather, remote sensing, space situational awareness, astronomy, and planetary science.

The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

Gareth Jones, Managing Director at Photek Limited said: “Our vision is to target the next generation of applications in space and we are confident that this technology evolution will position Photek at the leading edge of photon counting devices.

“As a relatively small company, we don’t have the resources in terms of modelling data and theoretical understanding so the engagement with the expertise from the University of Leicester, accessed through the SPRINT programme, will be pivotal to helping us to achieve our project goals. This will enable us to produce higher performance photocathode-based detectors for a range of astronomy and space applications.”

Jon Lapington, Professor in Space Physics at the University of Leicester added: “The University of Leicester has a proud tradition of space industry research and expertise, and we’re delighted to apply our knowledge to this photon detection project with Photek. We have an excellent working relationship with the Photek team and are looking to collaborate on related space-enabled technology projects in the near future.”

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