Space & Astrophysics

For decades, PHOTONIS has been a critical development partner in detection solutions for space exploration. Our products are used in many innovative exploration projects, including the Hubble Space Telescope, to capture images and optical data, broadening our understanding of the origins of the universe

PHOTONIS’ support of the exploration missions in space is unparalleled. Most of the research satellites and missions flown in the twentieth and twenty-first century (to date) have included PHOTONIS Microchannel plates, Micro Pore Optics or Hybrid Photo Diodes.

Our missions include:

GOES-R Orbiter for Radiation and Solar flares monitoring:


IBEX-Hi and -Lo instrument employs PHOTONIS Microchannel Plates (MCPs) in its time of flight detector.

Scientists of the Pierre Auger Collaboration announced that active galactic nuclei are the most likely candidate for the source of the highest-energy cosmic rays that hit Earth. Using the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, the largest cosmic-ray observatory in the world, a team of scientists from 17 countries found that the sources of the highest-energy particles are not distributed uniformly across the sky. These were detected with PHOTONIS detectors. Instead, the Auger results link the origins of these mysterious particles to the locations of nearby galaxies that have active nuclei in their centers.

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PHOTONIS products can detect a wide range of wavelengths, including Deep-UV and X-Ray. Our low light and high resolution imaging products can be used to capture views of astronomical events or detect specific elements, such as Cherenkov radiation

Microchannel Plates offer support for a variety of detection and particle counting applications within the physics arena. We also manufacture Stripline MCPs for high-speed imaging of high-energy events. PHOTONIS MCPs are used in cryogenic detection as well as neutron and gamma detection due to their ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions. Additionally, MCPs can be mounted into Advanced Performance Detectors for custom and standard system integration. An APD can be used as a charged particle discriminator as well as to increase the detection limit up to tenfold. Finally, our Micro Pore Optic detectors can focus X-ray, UV and EUV photons to more closely examine phenomena in space.

PHOTONIS products can detect a wide range of wavelengths, including Deep-UV and X-Ray. Our low light and high resolution imaging products can be used to capture views of astronomical events or detect specific elements, such as Cherenkov radiation.

  • PHOTONIS has special imaging solutions for all research needs. Low light or high-speed imaging can be provided by one of our Image Intensifier Tubes, which can be ordered with an auto-gating feature that enables imaging even during atmospheric light bursts.
  • PHOTONIS supports X-Ray, UV and charged particle detection. PHOTONIS’ Microchannel Plates have been used in almost all plate-requiring space-borne instruments, and we have developed large-area plates with extremely low background radiation for continues astrophysics applications. Our Advanced Performance Detectors are custom-designed to provide a mechanical and electrical housing for simple installation. PHOTONIS’ Micro Pore Optic products are square-channel detectors for focusing X-ray photons, UV and EUV photons. These products withstand the extreme atmospheric challenges of space, while providing excellent resolution.
  • For specialized detection, such as Cherenkov radiation, the PHOTONIS Hybrid Photo Diodes use electron-bombarded anodes for multi-electron pulse resolution. Our Planacon products combine excellent spatial resolution with a square form factor which allows them to be tiled to compile larger images. Their resistance to magnetic fields makes these products ideal for Scintillation and Cherenkov detection. Our MCP-PMT products provide similar benefits in a traditional round form factor.
  • Optical communications are also supported by the PHOTONIS Optical Receiver, which operates in the green-to-UV spectral range and supports high data rate signals. This enables through-the-air communications from satellite to ground through less-than-ideal atmospheric conditions..

The PHOTONIS Streak Tube is ideal for high-speed applications such as laser characterization, plasma light emission and metrology. It converts the incoming photon flux to an electron flux to focus emitted photoelectrons for evaluation. Our streak tubes have the ability to capture a single shot, a repetitive one-dimensional signal or a two-dimensional signal at several successive instances, depending on the deflection voltage waveform.

PHOTONIS manufactures its own line of Neutron and Gamma Detectors for use in radiation studies and nuclear physics. These detectors are Boron-Lined Proportional Counters that can operate in pulse, Campbell and current modes. Gamma Ionization Chambers and Fission Chambers for both in-core and out-of-core use are also manufactured. PHOTONIS also offers a range of cable extensions for specific applications capable of withstanding extreme conditions.