Design of a Temperature-Controlled Enclosure for Scientific Imagers

Photo of James Geraci, Mohammad Siam, Siddharth Shah Students: James Geraci, Mohammad Siam, Siddharth Shah

Sponsor: NASA

Date: Spring 2012

Requirements:
The final enclosure must maintain at least a 40°C temperature difference between the camera's CCD sensor and the ambient environment to reduce thermal noise. Also, the design must have a condensation prevention system in place to prevent fog or frost from forming on the CCD sensor or optical window. The weight of the camera can be no larger than 3 pounds and the surface finish must be flat black. The overall budget for design, fabrication, and testing must be within $3000 dollars.

Problem:
The design goals and scope of the project were to design and build an airtight, light-tight and dry enclosure to house a scientific imager with supplied circuit boards that maintains a maximum temperature difference between the enclosure's environment and the optical sensor in order to reduce thermal noise.

Solution:
The recommended design uses a 3-stage thermoelectric cooler module with an integrated heat spreader and heat sink. The system achieves a 43°C temperature difference with minimal vibration and an effective reduction of thermal noise by 400%. The condensation prevention system includes O-rings, valves, and gaskets resulting in an operating pressure between 10-1 to 10-3 torr vacuum. The total system cost is $600 under budget.

Watch the Webcast

Images related to the project:

Photo related to Design of a Temperature-Controlled Enclosure for Scientific Imagers project
Joomla SEF URLs by Artio