The Engineering group (EG) provides high-level manpower and technology to science instrument and research programs. The division has 55 employees and consists of six teams: “Analogue electronics”, “Digital electronics”, “Mechanical design and manufacturing”, “Product Assurance and Quality Assurance”, "Bedrijfsbureau & Elektronica realisatie" and "Engineering Groningen".
The EG participates in all of SRON's detector research and instrument hardware projects. STO2 balloon flights, which gather spectroscopic data for stratospheric research, have been supported in all technology domains; recently predominantly in the field of data- acquisition and analysis software. System studies, concept designs and trade-off studies have been generated for various space research instruments, e.g. TROPOMI's front-end electronics.
Currently, the SRON co led X-IFU instrument on the ESA Athena mission requires numerous design studies and extensive support of the detector development programs. All programs are heavily supported by PA/QA, including CADM (Configuration and Data Management).
The EG technology program invested heavily in flight-qualified high-erformance mixed signal ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuit). The development of the High-Accuracy Mixed-signal Read-out Chip was started as an application in the seismometer front-end electronics of the ExoMars mission for data acquisition and signal processing.
The EG technology program focusses on embedded processors, providing a versatile development kit which enables rapid prototyping. These processors cooperate with FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Array), which are very useful for high speed DSP (Digital Signal Processing) applications and for the implementation of different data communication protocols, (SpaceWire, CCSDS, TCP/IP). The objective is to obtain knowledge and experience when these two worlds are put together into one chip. Biggest advantage of having such a System-on-a-Chip lies in the fact that the development of digital systems will be less complex, more flexible and thus easier to build, adapt and test. Wire bonding and lead-free soldering developments have been concluded recently.
Both locations of the Engineering group have state-of-the-art manufacturing, assembly, and integration facilities.
The electronic assembly equipment and clean rooms have been upgraded to a level that meets the quality assurance requirements for the production of space electronics. SRON invested in high density surface-mount technology equipment and high-speed PCB layout design capabilities.
The mechanical section is involved in design and simulation of space hardware in which mechanical, thermal and optical aspects are closely related. The manufacturing and assembly is an inhouse activity using the cleanroom facilities, optical alignment tools, high-precision measurement tools and an well equipped workshop. The mechanical section also supports special developments, such as the sensor technology activities for the division Technology, which requires especially built cryogenic test set ups fully tailored to the needs.
Organogram EG group