Both ESA and the EC have identified the need for a supply chain of CMOS imagers for space applications which uses solely European sources. An essential requirement on this supply chain is the platformization of the process modules, in particular when it comes to very specific processing steps, such as those required for the manufacturing of backside illuminated image sensors. This is the goal of the European (EC/FP7/SPACE) funded project EUROCIS. All EUROCIS partners have excellent know-how and track record in the expertise fields required. Imec has been leading the imager chip design and the front side and backside processing. LASSE, as a major player in the laser annealing supplier sector, has been focusing on the optimization of the process related to the backside passivation of the image sensors. TNO, known worldwide as a top developer of instruments for scientific research, including space research and sensors for satellites, has contributed in the domain of optical layers for space instruments and optimized antireflective coatings. Finally, Selex ES, as a world-wide leader for manufacturing instruments with expertise in various space missions and programs, has defined the image sensor specifications and is taking care of the final device characterization. In this paper, an overview of the process flow, the results on test structures and imagers processed using this platform will be presented.
Earth observation measurements at wavelengths below 320nm are challenging due to the steep decrease of the earth irradiance towards shorter wavelengths. Stray light and ghosting of longer wave light can easily overwhelm the signals at short wavelengths. In the UV channel (270-320nm) of the TROPOMI instrument this challenge has been addressed using a number of coatings. Three black UV mirror coatings absorb light with a wavelength above 370nm. Together, these achieve more than four orders suppression of long wave out-of-band light. A lowpass transmission filter with a position dependent cut-off wavelength is deposited on the last lens surface, directly in front of the detector. At the position where short wavelength light passes the filter, longer wavelength in-band stray light and ghosts are blocked. A simulation predicts that this graded filter reduces ghosting by a factor 20 and scatter related stray light by factor 30.