Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager

ASIC Success Story


The Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager or SoloHI is a visible light telescope that images sunlight reflected off of solar wind electrons. SoloHI’s images capture the interplanetary medium — that is, the solar wind, dust and cosmic rays that fill the space between the Sun and the planets.  

This unique view will allow SoloHI to track how, due to the Sun’s rotation, the solar material spirals outward, tracing out what’s called the Parker spiral – the spread of solar material that flows out into space in much the same shape as water flying off of a rotating sprinkler.  

CSS designed a custom image sensor for the SoloHI in collaboration with Stanford Research Institute.  The Solar Orbiter launched on an Atlas V rocket on Feb. 9, 2020.  

Satellite near sun.
Layout image of Solohi sensor chip.

Custom Solution from CSS

This custom-designed image sensor has a 10um pixel size in a 2K x 2K array.

Four die are used in the imager, giving a 4K x 4K final image resolution.

CSS employed several state-of-the-art rad hard by design techniques to allow the imager to withstand its proximity to the sun.

Key Features

  • Tower Jazz 180nm CIS Process
  • Full custom Image Sensor
  • Pixel Sensitivity to 1 photon
  • 10um pixel size
  • 2K x 2K pixel array
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