SRON develops space-qualified instrumentation spanning the range from X-ray to far-infrared wavelengths, in close collaboration with its industrial partners. SRON’s key-expertise is enabling technology for space spectrometers. This includes the development of detectors and their read-out chains, and the design of smart optics using lithographic microfabrication techniques. Examples are the immersed gratings for TROPOMI and Sentinel-5, spectrometers for trace-gas detection and SPEXone spectropolarimeters for aerosol detection. SRON has state of the art cleanroom facilities for lithography and integration, and for testing and calibration of space hardware.
We collaborate with climate researchers and modelers, and together contribute to the development of physical instruments and the promotion of scientific activities outside SRON.
The Dutch Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) is flying onboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5p mission, launched in 2017. Every day it scans the entire globe for e.g. methane and carbon monoxide concentrations at city-scale level.
SPEXone is a compact five-angle spectropolarimeter instrument developed as a contributed payload for the NASA Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) observatory. Launch is scheduled for early 2024. SPEXone will enable detailed characterization of aerosols, such as their absorption power, composition, size and height. It uses spectral modulation to provide measurements of radiance and state of polarization in a continuous wavelength spectrum, leading to a high polarimetric accuracy.
SPEXone is a small multi-angle spectropolarimeter for the quantification of atmospheric aerosol. It provides a light-path correction for CO₂ quantification. It is a candidate instrument for the two ESA’s CO2M satellites to be launched in 2026.
The Twin Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Observers (TANGO) comprises two cubesats: TANGO-Carbon and TANGO-Nitro. It is a candidate mission of ESA’s SCOUT program to be launched in 2026.
SPEX airborne is a prototype of SPEXone, a spectropolarimeter that is part of the payload for NASA’s PACE mission and a candidate to be part of ESA’s CO2M mission. SPEX airborne has flown onboard high altitude research aircrafts. In the near future SPEX airborne will be deployed in the validation campaign for PACE.
Responsible for ¼ of human-made greenhouse effect
About 30 times more powerful than CO₂ (GWP-100)
Large emissions from fossil fuel industry, landfills, livestock
Most important human-made greenhouse gas
Hard to monitor emissions because of long lifetime
Reactions with atmospheric gases contribute to global warming
Trace gas to calculate CO₂ emissions from forest fires
Small particles in the atmosphere
Largest unknown factor in climate change
Strong impact on air quality
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