Atmel Journeys into Space with CCD Imaging ICs on Rosetta Mission

3/17/2004 - Atmel® Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) is proud to announce its contribution to the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission. The satellite was successfully launched on March 2, 2004 by ArianeV, taking along Atmel's family of TH78xx CCD imaging chips. After a 10-year travel period, Rosetta will reach and observe the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet.

Among other exploratory equipment, Rosetta includes a spectroscope built by Italy's Galileo Avionica, in which Atmel's 1-million pixel full-frame area array CCD (TH7896M) is embedded to analyze the UV to near infrared spectrum. This particular CCD is partially coated with a UV layer and sealed with a special quartz window.

A lander will make a 360-degree survey of the comet's surface thanks to six micro-cameras built by Switzerland's Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) with compact and rugged technology developed by the French company 3D+. Each camera incorporates Atmel's 1-million pixel frame transfer area array CCD (TH7888A) with an anti-blooming feature.

"This project is very exciting," said Jean-Philippe Lamarcq, Atmel's Professional Imaging Director. "We were selected to take part for our high performance devices and our previous involvements in space projects, such as Clementine, the first U.S. micro satellite. The fundamentals of this mission were quite unusual: the chips were to withstand a 10-year storage period and an operating temperature of -120-degree Celsius. \We were required to adapt the environmental and electro-optical test conditions as well as qualify a device with a special UV coating and non-standard sealing. Having met these challenges, Atmel has certainly demonstrated that its CCDs are capable of withstanding severe environmental constraints while maintaining high performance."

During its 25-year involvement in space imaging projects, Atmel has developed many linear arrays, Time Delay Integration (TDI) CCDs for high-resolution observation of the Earth and other planets. The company has also developed rad-tolerant area arrays for star sensors and contributed to many scientific missions by up-screening image sensors from its standard product list.

Atmel will continue to serve space-related projects by offering image sensors with state-of-the art performance, high reliability and long-term availability, in close cooperation with the company's worldwide customers.

Join us in 10 years' time for the results of these observations.

About Atmel
Founded in 1984, Atmel Corporation is headquartered in San Jose, California with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a leading provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions using CMOS, BiCMOS, SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies.

Atmel, the Atmel logo and combinations thereof are registered trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

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