News › Optics Bal­zers Jena · Opti­cal Com­pon­ents on the Way to Jupiter

With the launch of ESA’s JUICE (JUpi­ter ICy Moons Explo­rer) mis­sion on April 14, 2023, opti­cal coa­tings from Mater­ion Bal­zers Optics in Jena (Optics Bal­zers Jena GmbH) have also embarked on the more than eight-year jour­ney to Jupiter.

The launch took place on board an Ariane 5 rocket in Kou­rou (French Guiana). Start­ing in 2031, the space­craft will explore Jupiter’s three moons Gany­mede, Cal­listo and Europa. The focus will be on stu­dy­ing water resour­ces, sur­face topo­gra­phy, pro­per­ties of the ice crust, atmo­sphere and magne­tic fields. To this end, 11 sci­en­ti­fic instru­ments are on board. Mater­ion Bal­zers Optics in Jena sup­plied essen­tial com­pon­ents for two of these instru­ments as well as for the exter­nal camera on board.

Photo: Opti­cal fil­ters for space cameras

The JANUS instru­ment enables ima­ging of the sur­face of Jupiter’s moons in dif­fe­rent color chan­nels in visi­ble and infrared light. The 13 opti­cal fil­ters of the instru­ment were manu­fac­tu­red in Jena using magnet­ron sput­te­ring tech­no­logy. The JUICE Magne­to­me­ter (J‑MAG) will be used to study Jupiter’s magne­tic field and its inter­ac­tion with the sub­sur­face oce­ans of Jupiter’s moons. For the inter­fe­ro­me­ter of the magne­to­me­ter, a large num­ber of opti­cal com­pon­ents were pro­vi­ded with anti­re­flec­tion coa­tings in Jena.

An exter­nal camera is atta­ched to the space­craft to moni­tor the satellite’s con­di­tion and to take wide-angle images of the Jupi­ter sys­tem. To enable color ima­ging with this camera, Mater­ion Bal­zers Optics applied four dif­fe­rent color fil­ters directly to the 18 µm x 18 µm pixels of the elec­tro­nic sen­sor using pho­to­li­tho­gra­phy. A par­ti­cu­lar chall­enge for the out­door camera is the high expo­sure to cos­mic radia­tion. To ensure func­tion­a­lity even under the most adverse con­di­ti­ons, all com­pon­ents must suc­cessfully pass various envi­ron­men­tal tests before being instal­led in the satellite.

Mater­ion Bal­zers Optics has been a lea­ding glo­bal manu­fac­tu­rer of cus­to­mi­zed opti­cal coa­tings and com­pon­ents for the pho­to­nics indus­try for over 70 years.
As a high-tech com­pany with five manu­fac­tu­ring sites world­wide, Mater­ion focu­ses on a variety of mar­kets inclu­ding Auto­mo­tive, Con­su­mer, Defense, Indus­try, Life Sci­ence, Light­ing, Semi­con­duc­tors and Space.