In this interview AZoSensors speaks to Jan Vermeiren about Caeleste and the custom sensor design and production services they offer.
Tell us about the history of Caeleste?
We were established in 2006 by Bart Dierickx and Patrick Henckes. Bart was previously CTO of Fillfactory, which was a spin-off of imec in the field of image sensor design and manufacture. Patrick was already an entrepreneur before joining Caeleste.
Caeleste has grown to a decent SME with 36 members of staff with a turnover of €6M. During this period we had to re-invent the business model several times depending on the balance and P&L situation. The company started off as solely a consulting company, it rapidly began offering design services.
Coinciding with the move to Antwerp the business model changed to take more responsibilities and we began offering prototyping and pre-production services. The move to Mechelen, also brought the era of full turn-key solutions, where Caeleste now offers the full package from initial idea to full production of image sensors.
What makes Caeleste unique in the sensor industry?
Caeleste is a design and production house for image sensors. We design and produce custom products. When customers come to us, we listen to their requirements and based on our experience, we start drafting the specifications and the architecture for an innovative product, which in many cases will result in great overall performance and will also have cost-saving benefits.
Caeleste is not limited to sensor design alone; quite often we also look at the problem from a system perspective and how the image sensor can help in making the overall system more performant and cost effective.
When mentioning image sensors, most people automatically think about sensing visible light. But there is much more beyond the visible: we also make image sensors capable of imaging in the Near Infrared (NIR) field or in the UltraViolet (UV).
We also go further and make image sensors for X-ray applications and for the detection of high energy particles. Together with our partners we also contribute to the design and manufacture of Infrared Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs). More and more, we are also supporting the life science community with neuron potential measurements and stimulation devices.
Which industries do you mainly work with?
We mainly work with industries with a long lifetime of products and with very specific requirements, such as scientific imaging, space applications, medical and life-science applications and industrial and professional imaging. We think that with our experience and clever design, we can really make a difference for our customers.
We are mainly involved in high-performance image sensors. This often involves the implementation of “True” High Dynamic Range (HDR) pixels, extending the dynamic range to 100 dB or more without introducing motion or calibration artifacts.
Low noise and high frame rate are also high on the wish list. We are working for, or have worked for, many European Institutional customers like ESA and ESO. Additionally, we are specialized in Radiation hardened design both for degradation over lifetime (TID: Total ionizing Dose) as for Single Event Effects (SEE).
What is next for Caeleste?
Belgium is only a small player in the field of image sensors. Consequently, we have taken the decision to operate globally. Initially, we concentrated on the main regions for camera and photonics developments. Gradually we will further expand our network.
Where can our readers find out more about Caeleste?
I suggest visiting our website at caeleste.be. Readers can also follow our social media channels and for the most up-to-date news, follow @Caeleste_be on Twitter.
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