Saturday, July 25, 2020

Jim Janesick's Work at SRI

SRI publishes an article about Jim Janesick's recent works on image sensors for space astronomy:

"Janesick, senior principal research scientist at SRI’s Advanced Imaging lab, has been with the institute for 20 years and before that was at NASA’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 22.

Janesick is the designer of SRI’s CMOS spaceborne imagers onboard the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter launched in 2020, and NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched in 2018, missions that orbit the sun to study solar physics. Janesick notes that “after many years of advanced development, SRI’s CMOS imagers were awarded a TRL6 rating,” referring to the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale of 1 to 9 that NASA uses. “Once the team was at TRL6 along with successful ground-based prototype demonstrations, NASA gave the green light to use SRI’s CMOS imager in an instrument called the Solar and Heliospheric Imager, or SoloHI. This automatically gave the same rating to the Wide-Field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) instrument since both missions use the same CMOS imager.”

NASA and ESA selected SRI’s imager because they were designed and fabricated to withstand the sun’s harsh radiation environment over several years at close range. As such, the spacecrafts are capable of capturing the closest images of the sun.

As the Parker Probe and Solar Orbiter proceeds with its missions, Janesick continues his as well. These days, he is most excited about two upcoming SRI missions; the Europa Clipper spacecraft, scheduled for a 2024 launch and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-U also scheduled for 2024. GOES will fly a solar instrument called Compact Coronagraph (CCOR) and the Europa Clipper will fly a Jupiter-oriented instrument named Europa Imaging System (EIS). GOES will use the same CMOS imager as the SoloHi imager. The Europa spacecraft will have the first large-scale flight approved CMOS imager ever flown (2k x 4k pixels). “We do an extensive testing and selection process in finding several perfect flight candidates, and we’re at that stage now for Europa,” Janesick states.

Jim Janesick is known to the broad cycles of image sensor designers for writing a book on Photon Transfer Curve (PTC), one of the most important characterization tools today. He received Exceptional Lifetime Achievement Award from International Image Sensor Society in 2019.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work!

    With CMOSIS we developed the imagers for the EUI and PHI instruments.
    EUI is a telescope with three 3k x 3k BSI imagers with 10 um pitch, using high dynamic range pixels and took the yellow-tinted and some of the yellow-red sun images in the post above and captured "campfires" on the solar surface (see ). One of our cmosis papers on IISW 2011 discusses an early implementation of the HDR pixel developed for EUI. The imagers operate in the EUV at 15-50 nm (plain BSI, no intensifier, you get a bit of quantum yield at that wavelenght) and at the Lyman-alpha line (121nm, with an image intensifier). BSI was quite a challenge, we had issues like hot pixels (documented in our paper on emmission microscopy at IISW 2013) and many other BSI challenges. Quite a few people got involved in it and all made great contributions. The total development was around 8 years, including an early de-risking project for the first BSI and pixel prototypes.
    PHI uses a custom 2k x 2k FSI imager with large full well. There is plenty of light out there. PHI took some of the other images, like the blue, blue/red and red sun image in the post above.

    The EUI instrument was developed by CSL (Liege) and ROB (Brussels), and PHI was done at Max Planck Instutute for Solar Physics (Germany).

    All this is documented (that's why I can write it here), see for example

    For EUI: J.-P. Halain, et al, “The dual-gain 10 μm back-thinned 3k x 3k cmos-aps detector of the solar orbiter extreme uv imager,” Proc. of SPIE Vol. 9144, 2014.

    For PHI: J. Piqueras, et al, “Cmos sensor and camera for the phi instrument on board solar orbiter: evaluation of the radiation tolerance,” in proc. SPIE vol. 8453, Sept. 2012.

    It's quite rewarding to see this working in space and producing these stunning images.

    You can find many more images on :


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