Scuba 2 Camera Uses Cryoconnect Wiring Harnesses

Tekdata Interconnections' Cryoconnect division has delivered wiring harnesses for the UK Astronomy Technology Centre's Scuba 2 project, a large-format camera for sub-millimetre astronomy. This 'charged-coupled-device-like' camera is being integrated with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii. The harnesses use Tekdata's connector-less vacuum feedthrough technology to couple the detector array, which has more than 10,000 pixels, to the Scuba 2 camera's read-out electronics. The detectors are mounted inside a cryogenic cooler and are operated at a temperature of 100mK (-273.05C).

Cryoconnect's feedthroughs solve the challenge of establishing a reliable, hermetically sealed connection, eliminating the impedance losses that arise from all connections, and having ultra-low thermal mass passing through the wall of the refrigerator. Each interconnect comprises 500 superconducting niobium-titanium wires in a Cryoconnect connector-less vacuum feedthrough terminated to 100-way micro D-type connectors. Tekdata's connector-less vacuum feedthrough technology achieves a lightweight, compact, sealed interconnect, imposing minimal heat burden on the refrigerator.

The low attenuation of the connector-less design also maximises the coupling of the low-strength signals and minimises any self-heating effects in the cables. Connector-less feedthroughs also deliver advantages at more 'normal' temperatures, including reducing the total number of connectors and hence saving purchasing and assembly costs. Eliminating connectors can also reduce the electromagnetic footprint of military equipment. Other available interconnect solutions include a nano-connect range of cables, harnesses and feedthroughs that are not only small but that deliver weight savings when used in applications such as portable infantry equipment.

Related capabilities also include compact and lightweight EMC protection, which is used in a range of military, industrial, medical and consumer applications. Tekdata's interconnect technologies also include woven cables and Computaweave harnesses, which save space and weight for a variety of military and aerospace customers and also have applications in sectors such as motorsports and marine equipment. Woven interconnects provide mechanical flexibility, helping relieve strain on connectors for increased resilience and reliability as well as easier maintenance, and can comprise mixed strands of dissimilar wire types and gauges, optical fibres or other elements such as pipes or hawsers.

The company's proprietary Computaweave technology also allows optimised harnesses in which such strands can enter and exit the weave at any point. Tekdata can design and mould bespoke connectors and components to maximise reliability and enhance routing and protection. Connectors can be shrink-fit, moulded or over-moulded types or designed to incorporate active components such as filters or encryption printed circuit boards. All of these can be designed with or without EMC shielding, including to Tempest, Land Class A and FCC Docket 20780 requirements.

The company's moulding technology has been used for a number of unusual requirements, such as routing pieces, knee bends, flexible over-moulded cable conduits and mouldings to ensure that minimum cable radii are maintained. These are often employed to help optimise the reliability and weight of interconnects in aerospace applications.


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