The increase of performance of new optical instruments for science and Earth observation always leads to higher requirements in terms of contamination due to particle sedimentation in cleanrooms and deposition of chemical species in vacuum environment. Specific cleanliness control procedures are implemented in order to mitigate the risks of contamination on optical sensors and sensitive diopters, especially when used for UV applications. Such procedures are commonly carried out in cleanrooms and are described in both European ECSS-Q-ST-70-50C and NASA SN-C-0005D standards. UV light at 365 nm is often used for the inspection of optical sensitive surfaces to localize and to evaluate the amount of fluorescent particles, essentially coming from textile fibers. But other groups of compounds can be observed with a different spectral response and distribution, like adhesives and resins or even organic residues. Therefore, we could take advantage of this spectral information closely linked to specific molecules for partial identification of these materials before further investigation involving wipe on flight model and measurement in a laboratory.
Observations in the UV and EUV allow many diagnostics of the outer layers of the stars and the Sun so that more and more space telescopes are developed to operate in this fundamental spectral range. However, absorption by residual contaminants coming from polymers outgassing causes critical effects such as loss of signal, spectral shifts, stray light… Thus, a cleanliness and contamination control plan has to be defined to mitigate the risk of damage of sensitive surfaces. In order to specify acceptable cleanliness levels, it is paramount to improve our knowledge and understanding of contamination effects, especially in the UV/EUV range. Therefore, an experimental study has been carried out in collaboration between CNES and IAS, in the frame of the development of the Extreme UV Imager suite for the ESA Solar Orbiter mission; this instrument consists of two High Resolution Imagers and one Full Sun Imager designed for narrow pass-band EUV imaging of the solar corona, and thus very sensitive to contamination. Here, we describe recent results of performance loss measured on representative optical samples. Six narrow pass-band filters, with a multilayer coating designed to select the solar Lyman Alpha emission ray, were contaminated with different amounts of typical chemical species. The transmittance spectra were measured between 100 and 200 nm under high vacuum on the SOLEIL synchrotron beam line. They were compared before and after contamination, and also after a long exposure of the contaminated area to EUV-visible radiations.
Optical instruments for space applications with improved performances (smaller pixels and spectral range extension) are becoming more and more sensitive to chemical contamination and particle sedimentation. Outgassing under vacuum conditions causes dramatic flux losses, especially in the UV bandwidth. Furthermore, it is difficult to perform physicochemical analyses of contaminated surfaces on flight models, in a clean room. Conventional analytical techniques such as FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared interferometer) need the tool to be in contact with the studied area, which is forbidden when working on satellites. In addition, it does not give any information about the distribution of the contaminants in the field of view. The probed area is large, mono-pixel, and the sensitivity of the instrument is too low for hundred nanometer thin film deposits. A first study has shown that we could benefit from using the UV/visible fluorescence spectra to partially identify contaminants and polymer materials. The shape of the fluorescence spectra of adhesives, paints and varnishes have specific signatures that could be recorded into a designated reference database. The location of the presence of these contaminants on such sensitive optics is also relevant. To acquire both these parameters, we designed a specific compact hyperspectral instrument to remotely acquire cube images (500x500 pixels) in a 5 degree field of view, and on a wide range of continuous wavelengths from UV at 320 nm up to the near infrared at 1000 nm. This paper will present the chosen trade-off between different critical optics for a new portable version of this instrument. It is dedicated to space and cultural heritage applications and the first results on an engineering prototype will be shown.
The in-orbit aging of thermo-optical properties of thermal coatings critically impacts both spacecraft thermal balance and heating power consumption. Nevertheless, in-flight thermal coating aging is generally larger than the one measured on ground and the current knowledge does not allow making reliable predictions1. As a result, a large oversizing of thermal control systems is required. To address this issue, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales has developed a low-cost experiment, called THERME, which enables to monitor the in-flight time-evolution of the solar absorptivity of a large variety of coatings, including commonly used coatings and new materials by measuring their temperature. This experiment has been carried out on sunsynchronous spacecrafts for more than 27 years, allowing thus the generation of a very large set of telemetry measurements. The aim of this work was to develop a model able to semi-quantitatively reproduce these data with a restraint number of parameters. The underlying objectives were to better understand the contribution of the different involved phenomena and, later on, to predict the thermal coating aging at end of life. The physical processes modeled include contamination deposition, UV aging of both contamination layers and intrinsic material and atomic oxygen erosion. Efforts were particularly focused on the satellite leading wall as this face is exposed to the highest variations in environmental conditions during the solar cycle. The non-monotonous time-evolution of the solar absorptivity of thermal coatings is shown to be due to a succession of contamination and contaminant erosion by atomic oxygen phased with the solar cycle.
Contamination control is an important driver in the success of most space missions with more and more stringent
constraints of quality and reliability : indeed, most of spacecrafts having equipments sensitive to molecular
contamination like optics or detectors, the risk of damage and performance loss of such sensitive surfaces has to be
considered as a real concern and treated in the early phases of the development of an instrument. Since molecular
contaminants result mainly from outgassing of polymers, bakeouts under vacuum are required at the lowest possible
product level in order to reduce the contamination potential of selected materials. Nevertheless, this conventional method
takes time and could be relatively expensive. Then the use of low cost porous materials has appeared as an interesting
alternative to trap organic contaminants, taking advantage of their controlled adsorption characteristics in channels of
molecular dimensions. A recent PhD study has showed that, compared to other materials, zeolites widely used in
catalysis and separation processes have great potential in such applications. Theoretical and experimental investigations
have demonstrated the feasibility with three types of highly efficient zeolites. This paper reports on further development
related to the preparation of uniform, homogeneous thin films of pure zeolitic materials deposited on different substrates
(glass, carbon fibers...). Kinetics and sorption capacities of several representative outgassed species on these films have
been investigated by thermogravimetric analyses and the results compared with the efficiency of corresponding powder
materials. A discussion on the potential locations of such molecular adsorbers inside optical instruments is proposed.
The High Time Resolution Spectrometer (HTRS) is one of the five focal plane instruments of the International
X-ray Observatory (IXO). The HTRS is the only instrument matching the top level mission requirement of
handling a one Crab X-ray source with an efficiency greater than 10%. It will provide IXO with the capability
of observing the brightest X-ray sources of the sky, with sub-millisecond time resolution, low deadtime, low
pile-up (less than 2% at 1 Crab), and CCD type energy resolution (goal of 150 eV FWHM at 6 keV). The HTRS
is a non-imaging instrument, based on a monolithic array of Silicon Drift Detectors (SDDs) with 31 cells in a
circular envelope and a X-ray sensitive volume of 4.5 cm2 x 450 μm. As part of the assessment study carried
out by ESA on IXO, the HTRS is currently undergoing a phase A study, led by CNES and CESR. In this
paper, we present the current mechanical, thermal and electrical design of the HTRS, and describe the expected
performance assessed through Monte Carlo simulations.