Category Archives: News

PACE Launch

PACE Launch

The PACE mission (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud ocean Ecosystem) launched successfully on February 8, 2024. The Ocean Color Instrument (OCI) uses two custom hyperspectral STA CCDs. Mission details are available here: (Image credit SpaceX)

DART Impact

One of the ATLAS cameras, using an STA1600, captured a fantastic video of the DART mission’s collision with the asteroid Dimorphos:

Archon DriverX Added

The new Archon DriverX module is a 12 channel version of the standard 8 channel clock driver. The additional channels have the same 14-bit 100 MHz waveform generation capabilities, but enable higher density controller configurations. Complete details are in the Archon manual.

STA4850 announced

STA4850 announced

STA is pleased to announce the STA4850, a 4k x 4k scientific CCD with 15 μm pixels and four low noise outputs.  It’s packaged on a high stability, high performance AlSi substrate, and is available in 30um epitaxial and 100um deep depletion variants. See more details here.

Introducing Archon AC

We are pleased to announce a new variant of Archon, called Archon AC. This version of our CCD controller is taller than the standard chassis, but integrates the AC/DC and DC/DC converters to simplify cabling and reduce costs.  It also includes a water block for cooling, and the fan can be disabled in software for dedicated liquid-cooled applications.  The new options have been added to the Archon manual and price list.  The standard AD module has also been updated to Rev K, and demonstrates crosstalk levels better than 1 in 107.  The Archon Backplane has been updated to Rev F, and offers better jitter performance when synchronizing multiple systems, along with system fan tachometer reporting.  Learn more here.

We’ve moved!

STA has moved to 1241 Puerta Del Sol in San Clemente, CA, 92673.  Please direct shipments and correspondence to this new address.

Archon Updates

ArchonWaterCooledThere have been a variety of improvements and additions to Archon since its announcement.  These include the XVBias module and XV power supply for +/-100V biases, LVDS and HS modules for high speed clocking, and enhanced LVXBias, HVXBias, and HeaterX modules.  The Rev E backplanes support hot pluggable daisy chained multi-system synchronization, and all modules with digital I/O lines now offer embedded 16-bit CPUs that can be programmed on the fly for simple digital I/O tasks such as reading an I2C temperature sensor or RS232 vacuum gauge.  Update your GUI and firmware to take advantage of these new features.  We’ve also recently developed a water-cooled option for Archon (as shown).  Read more about Archon here or contact us.

Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System

acam1-400_smallThe Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) is being developed by a team of astronomers at the University of Hawaii and is funded by NASA. ATLAS is an asteroid impact early warning system consisting of two telescopes that will scan the whole sky several times every night looking for moving objects. Each telescope has a 10k x 10k STA1600 CCD and an Archon controller. When the project’s Haleakala and Mauna Loa sites are complete by early 2016, ATLAS can provide one day’s warning for a 30-kiloton “town killer,” a week for a 5-megaton “city killer,” and three weeks for a 100-megaton “county killer” asteroid. More information on ATLAS is available here.


Second AST3 Telescope Installed in Antarctica

The second of 3 STA cameras has been installed by NIAOT for the AST3 (Antarctic Survey Telescope) project.  Each camera consists of a backside illuminated STA1600FT CCD (10k x 5k frame transfer, 9 μm pixel), a compact dewar with TEC cooling, and an STA Reflex camera controller.  The NAIOT announcement can be read here.

AST3_II     AST3_II part 2

STA Custom CCD at Heart of Lockheed’s New GLM

With the potential tGLM (Geostationary Lightning Mapper) photoo save lives, Lockheed Martin’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) will provide earlier alerts of developing tornados and severe storms by monitoring lightning on a continental scale. The 500 frame per second CCD imager with variable pixel size (STA3900A) at the heart of the GLM was developed by Semiconductor Technology Associates, Inc. The variable pixel size provides a near uniform mapping of the curved surface of the earth. This, in conjunction with the 500 frame per second readout rate and excellent system optical throughput, establishes 70-90% flash detection day and night. The GLM will fly on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-R Series environmental satellites beginning in 2016. The Lockheed Martin press release can be read here.