The Electronic Engineering Group at the UK ATC is involved in the design, testing and integration of very complex electronic systems for the most demanding astronomical applications. The heart of any of these systems is usually the very latest in detector technology and we have extensive experience in building complete end to end systems for optical, infrared and sub-millimeter detectors. The group works closely with detector manufacturers to develop new detector technologies through detailed testing and characterisation.
In support of the detector systems the group has gained a great deal of expertise in the design of high speed, low noise, analogue and digital electronics as well as cryogenic electronics. The group also has expertise in control engineering, implementing complex telescope control systems to cryogenic mechanism control systems. The group provides a range of solutions for mechanism control, temperature and vacuum control for both astronomy and non-astronomy instruments. The group contributes to innovative research projects undertaken at the UKATC involving electronics and embedded processors typically based on microcontrollers, covering the aspects of the electronics design and development of low-level firmware.
The detector test facilities include custom built cryocooled, low background test cryostats equipped with well characterised optical filters for characterising detectors, calibrated photodiodes, blackbody and pyro-electric radiometers for absolute radiometry from visible to beyond 20um. The group has a dedicated purpose built class 1000 clean room with a class 100 laminar flow control cabinet and electrostatic discharge safe workspace and basic environmental test facilities. The electronics workshop has the capability of manufacturing a wide range of electronic assemblies, such as enclosures, surface mount printed circuit boards and cryogenic wiring harness all to ESA space qualification level.