Polar - Space

«POLAR» (in Space)

POLAR: Gamma Ray Burst Polarimeter

Customer: European Space Agency (ESA)
ESA Contract No. 4000107117/12/NL/CB (HVPS)
ESA Contract No. 4000107120/12/NL/CB (LVPS)

Despite being discovered in 1960 (Vela satellites) Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are still full of mystery and the production mechanism of these very intense explosions in the universe is still unknown. To validate – or exclude – existing models about their creation, a precise measurement of the polarisation of the GRB is essential.

POLAR is a highly sensitive detector using the Compton Scattering Effect to measure the polarisation of incoming photons. With its large FoV (field of view) and a detection energy up to 500 keV POLAR will measure the polarisation of GRB emissions using low Z material Plastic Scintillators, multimode Photomultipliers and multi-channel ASIC Front-end Electronics. POLAR is scheduled for two to three years operation in space during which a large number of GRBs are expected to be measured.

Polar - Tiangong2 Installation

First official photo onboard
space laboratory “Tiangong-2”

Polar - LVPS

Low Voltage Power Supply (LVPS)

Polar - HVPS

High Voltage Power Supply (HVPS)

Our Contribution

Construction of the POLAR detector was an international collaboration project with contributions from China, France, Poland and Switzerland. The scope of Art of Technology’s duties and responsibilities included the Design and Development of the Low and High Power modules, i.e.:

  • Feasibility Study:
    investigate design of the existing front end electronics with respect to issues related to space applications in order to identify potential design errors or weaknesses and provide recommendations to increase reliability of manufacturing and overall system
  • High Voltage Power Supply (HVPS):
    system reverse engineering from breadboard, system re-design, development and manufacture of the High Voltage Power Supply with 26 settable power sources on 3 prints with 300 – 500 components per board (300mm x 60mm, 6 layers)
  • Low Voltage Power Supply (LVPS):
    system feasibility study, design, development and manufacture of the Low Voltage Power Supply (LVPS) with 82 switchable power sources on 2 prints with 800 – 1’300 components per board (300mm x 60mm, 8 layers)
  • Component procurement and production:
    EQM, QM’s and FM (at the end-user’s choice of manufacturers)

POLAR was the only non-Chinese experiment onboard Tiangong-2, the Chinese space laboratory intended as an interim test bed for key technologies that was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center  (JLSC) on 15th September 2016 and then de-commission on 19th July 2019 (as planned).

Our first electronics in space!