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Integrated Detector Electronics offers fresh applications for space technology

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 December, 2015, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2016, 5:09pm

In space, electronic equipment requires special circuits that can withstand intense radiation and wide temperature variations.

Such is the focus of Integrated Detector Electronics (IDEAS) as one of the world's leading independent suppliers of application-specific integrated circuits and sensor systems for radiation detection and imaging. Initially developed for space missions, IDEAS is expanding the application of its technologies to areas such as environmental protection and medical.

"We have some significant history and heritage, being in this business for more than 23 years," says Dr Gunnar Maehlum, CEO of IDEAS. "Our microchips have been attending more than 15 missions and have been in orbit for 30 years, and are still working."

With such quality and reliability, IDEAS has built long-term business relationships with large Japanese companies and national space agencies. These include Nasa, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). IDEAS was behind the gamma ray spectrometer electronics for Chandrayaan-1, India's first lunar probe. The company also developed some of the electronic parts for CALET, which was launched by JAXA in August. Short for CALorimeteric Electron Telescope, CALET is among the most powerful observatories for high-energy astrophysics involving objects such as black holes, neutron stars and supernovae.

Moving up the value chain and targeting more clients in markets such as South Korea, Japan and China, the company wants to apply its technologies in other areas. It is working on a Compton gamma camera, which would be useful in cancer detection and in determining radiation levels from afar to prevent nuclear disasters.

"There is no limit on the new devices we can develop," Maehlum says. "We own and control the intellectual property rights to our technologies, so we can always customise equipment to suit specific client requirements."

Integrated Detector Electronics (IDEAS)