January 20, 2017

Space Segment

Declic instrumentThe Declic instrument is composed of 3 elements split into two mid-deck lockers that can be accommodated in an EXPRESS Rack :

  • The first one houses the optical diagnostics in which the insert will be installed by means of a suitable support structure
  • The electronic part (data acquisition and storage, experiment management and power supply) is housed in a second mid-deck locker

Experiment Locker

 Optical Receiving BoxThe upper locker is called the Experiment Locker (EXL). It contains the DECLIC optical bench that receives the experiment insert in which specific scientific material is packaged. This optical bench contains all optical and opto-electronic sensors that are necessary to perform measurements at a low or high rate of acquisition.

Electronics Locker

The lower locker, called the Electronic Locker (ELL), contains all necessary electrical and electronic systems that permit the facility to operate in autonomous mode or with telescience interactions from the scientific team at the dedicated User Centre.

It performs the following main functions:

  • Manages safety related controls of the DECLIC system
  • Controls power distribution
  • Manages data exchange with the ground segment via the Express Rack (TM/TC)
  • Manages experiment execution
  • Stores and acquires data and images
  • Transmits data and images to the Ethernet or NSTC link
  • Manages the front panel


An insert includes some electronics and a thermostat which houses the sample cell unit (SCU) or cartridge, containing the material under study. The electronics and the thermostat together provide the environment (temperature) and stimuli (quench, temperature gradient, heat pulse, etc.) necessary for the experiment. In a first approach, 3 inserts are foreseen: an Alice-like Insert (ALI), a High Temperature Insert (HTI) and a Directional Solidification Insert (DSI). This initial set will be completed by future experiment containers.

The inserts and accessories (locker-to-locker harness, removable hard disk) are transported to and from orbit in a stowage bag.

To perform an experiment, the dedicated insert is installed in the experiment drawer by the crew.

Because of the limited space available within the insert (about 200 x 200 x 400 mm), and because the thermal environment is not suitable for precision measurement, an electronic extension of the insert is fitted within the electronic drawer. This extension is referred to as the central regulation electronics.

Main Features

  • Lengthwise and Crosswise observation
  • Direct observation in field of view Ø 12 mm - Resolution 10 mm
  • Transmission light measurement with grid shadow for turbidity and index gradient
  • Narrow angle light scattering
  • Wide angle light scattering
  • Microscopy field of view 1 mm - Resolution 5 mm
  • Interferometry along growth axis - Resolution 16 µm
  • Pulling mechanisms µG class-control : 0.3 to 30 µm / s
  • Two high resolution cameras, 1,000 x 1,000 pixels, 12 Hz
  • High-speed camera 1000 x 1000 pixels, 450 Hz or 500 x 1000 pixels, 900 Hz
  • He-Ne laser - 633 nm
  • Illumination diodes: Wavelength 670 nm
  • Piezo-actuator
  • Thermal regulation 1 µk - Long-term stability 5 µk/h (ambient to 70°C)
  • Thermal regulation 1 mk (100°C to 600°C)
  • Stimuli inside sample cells
  • High and low temperature Peltier elements and resistance heater control.