close menu
7 November 2008

e2v CCD image sensors capture unique images of the planet Mercury

Images Courtesy of NASA/JHUAPL/CIW

NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has captured images of Mercury during its first flyby of the planet using e2v imaging sensors.  As only the second spacecraft to visit the planet after the Mariner 10 mission in 1975, the cameras on board collected more than 1,200 images, including never before seen images of the planet’s surface.

e2v supplied the Charge Coupled Device (CCD) image sensors used in MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), which comprises a multispectral wide-angle camera and a monochrome narrow-angle camera.  The cameras mapped the rugged landforms and spectral variations on Mercury’s surface in monochrome, colour and stereo.  The detectors in the instrument are CCD TH7888A manufactured in the company’s Grenoble facility, a 1024 x 1024 pixel frame transfer sensor, allowing up to 30 images per second, with antiblooming functionality and a possibility of 2×2 binning operation.

Launched in August 2004, NASA’s MESSENGER – designed, built and operated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, USA – will conduct the first orbital study of the planet Mercury, the smallest, densest and least explored of the planets.  Learning about Mercury is crucial for scientists to understand more about the planets in our solar system and how they have formed and evolved.   The spacecraft has two further flybys, in October 2008 and September 2009, before it enters Mercury’s orbit in March 2011.

Brian McAllister, Aerospace General Manager at e2v, said “e2v has a long heritage in space imaging and this NASA mission is a excellent example of how e2v is working with our customers to accelerate discovery, in this case to generate a greater understanding of the planet Mercury.”

Jessica Broom  
Tel: + 44 (0) 1 245 453 607

e2v technologies plc
e2v technologies is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of specialised components and subsystems, falling within two product groups:

  • Electronic tubes
  • Sensors and Semiconductors

These products enable some of the world’s leading OEMs to deliver innovative systems for medical and science, aerospace and defence, and commercial and industrial applications.
For the year ended 31 March 2007, e2v achieved sales of £174m and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (e2v.l).  In July 2006 e2v technologies plc acquired a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of specialised electronic components and sub-systems, based in Grenoble, France and in May of 2007 e2v plc acquired MiCS Microchemical Systems SA a designer and manufacturer of semiconductor based gas sensors.  These acquisitions strengthen the Group’s position as a major global provider of specialised electronic components and subsystems.

e2v’s products are supplied into three core market areas:

  • Medical & Science: Sensor technology includes imaging sensors for intra-oral and panoramic dental X-ray, mammography, life science applications and X-ray microscopy. Electronic tubes are the enabling technology behind radiotherapy cancer treatments, microwave medical therapy and high-energy physics.
  • Aerospace & Defence: Sensor technology includes products for military surveillance, targeting and guidance, space-based imaging and astronomy, radar, electronic warfare, and broadband data converters and microprocessors for aerospace applications.  Electronic tubes provide the enabling technology behind radars, electronic countermeasures (ECM), electronic warfare and satellite communications.
  • Commercial & Industrial: Sensor technology includes marine radars, industrial safety sensors, automotive radars and alarms, thermal imaging cameras used by fire fighters, CCD and CMOS high resolution line scan cameras for industrial inspection. Electronic tubes provide enabling technology behind TV broadcast, satellite communications, marine radar and food & industrial processing.

The overall purpose of the business is to grow sustainable shareholder value whilst appropriately meeting the expectations of customers, people, partners, suppliers and the wider community.  e2v’s vision is to create value through bright ideas in technology and materials science. The Company’s mission is to place customers at the heart of the business, providing enabling products of premium quality that extend technical barriers and enhance the competitive position of our partners.

e2v has approximately 1,800 employees worldwide with three UK based manufacturing sites in Chelmsford, Lincoln and High Wycombe, one in Grenoble, France and one in Corcelles, Switzerland.  In addition e2v has sales offices in the UK, USA, Germany, France and Hong Kong, as well as a network of distributors and representatives covering other key territories.

Further information on e2v technologies plc is available from its website,