Microfabricated albedo insensitive sun position sensor system in silicon carbide with integrated 3D optics and CMOS electronics

Joost Romijn*, Sten Vollebregt, Vincent G. de Bie, Luke M. Middelburg, Brahim El Mansouri, Henk W. van Zeijl, Alexander May, Tobias Erlbacher, Johan Leijtens, Guoqi Zhang, Pasqualina M. Sarro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The next generation of satellites will need to tackle tomorrow's challenges for communication, navigation and observation. In order to do so, it is expected that the amount of satellites in orbit will keep increasing, form smart constellations and miniaturize individual satellites to make access to space cost effective. To enable this next generation of activities in space, it is vital to ensure the ability of these satellites to properly navigate themselves. This control starts with attitude measurement by the dedicated sensors on the satellite, commonly performed by sun position sensors. The state-of-the art is confronted by large signal distortions caused by light reflected by the Earth's albedo as well as keeping up with the satellite miniaturization trend. This work aims to address both these issues, by presenting a microfabricated albedo insensitive sun position sensor in silicon carbide with wafer-level integrated optics. The presented 10 mm×10 mm×1 mm system reaches a mean angular accuracy of 5.7° in a ±37° field-of-view and integrates an on-chip temperature sensor with a -3.9 mV K−1 sensitivity in the 20 °C to 200 °C range.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114268
Number of pages8
JournalSensors and Actuators A: Physical
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • 4H-SiC
  • Integrated optics
  • Optical sensors
  • Silicon carbide
  • Space instrumentation
  • Sun position sensors
  • Thermocompressive bonding
  • UV sensors
  • Wafer-level packaging
  • Wide bandgap


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