Space Detectors and Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs)

Performance Matched to Mission Needs

Leonardo DRS has been supporting diverse space missions for 30+ years with specialty products — from the material science behind our detectors to the development of digital and analog ROICs through fully integrated FPAs and module assemblies.

Visible FPAs

Leonardo DRS designs and fabricates high-performance silicon PIN photodiodes in 2D- and linear-FPA formats with spectral response from 350nm to 1000µm. These technologies have a proven track record on payloads such as NOAA’s GOES ABI and Himawari.

Visible FPAs product

Infrared Detectors & FPAs

Leonardo DRS has delivered infrared detectors and FPAs for multiple NASA/NOAA and Air Force space platforms, including GOES Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). These solutions validate our ability to design, fabricate, test and deliver space-capable FPAs and modules that meet all space reliability, environmental and performance requirements. These detector and sensor solutions cover the full spectral range from 800nm to 14µm. These integrated solutions use the highest performance mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) and vanadium oxide (VOx) bolometer technologies available to enable optimal thermal management vs. performance.

Far Infrared FPAs

We produce high-performance blocked impurity band FPA Technology for long-wave infrared (LWIR) to very long wavelength infrared (VLWIR) applications. Primarily used for high-end astronomy applications, they offer spectral response through 50µm with high sensitivity (D* > 1010 Jones), high response bandwidth (>100 kHz), and very stable and linear response (<0.1% RNL).

Far Infrared FPA product

Hyperspectral Detectors

We produce high-performance hyperspectral detectors for full spectrum operation from visible through longwave infrared (0.4 – 15µm), using MCT and Si:Ga blocked-impurity-band (BIB) detectors. This allows detection and identification of solid target materials and gases and supports day / night operations.

Hyperspectral Detector product

Readout Integrated Circuits (ROICs)

We also develop analog and digital ROICs for application to Leonardo DRS and third party detectors. Some of the ROIC features include: snapshot operation, direct-inject input or charge transimpedance amplifier operation, programmable integration time, binning, per pixel digitization, blooming control, programmable multi-step gain, mode control through serial interface, programmable window modes, large well capacities (>107 carriers), large output dynamic range (>72 dB), low readout noise, and high frame rates and pixel throughputs. These features enable enhanced system-level performance.

Readout Integrated Circuits (ROICs) product

Packaging and Test

The breadth of our packaging and test expertise spans from the instrument level to the microelectronic device level. Our experience includes the design, manufacturing, integration and testing of survivable systems for ground, airborne and space environments. Smart test and validation procedures are designed to ensure first-pass success. Our capabilities encompass key disciplines including: mechanical systems design, optical design, opto-mechanics, precision placement, electronics packaging, FPA and microelectronics packaging, cryogenics, and test, which are critical to creating functional solutions for our customers.

Packaging and Test


Felicia Campbell

Electro-Optical & Infrared Systems

+1 714 220 3897