Canatu joins the European Space Agency's project to develop Carbon NanoBud -based optical filter for the X-Ray applications

Developed for the ESA's future X-Ray space telescope Athena, the transparent CNB filter could enable further visibility to space

Press release in Finnish

VANTAA, Finland July 8, 2020 — Canatu has been awarded with a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop Carbon NanoBud (CNB) -based optical filter for the X-Ray applications. During the 1,5-year project, Canatu will develop, test, and supply a prototype of the CNB -based optical filter that can pass X-Rays and block other wavelengths, thereby ensuring accurate X-Ray imaging of the celestial objects. Technical readiness will be proven in full-size feasibility tests that simulate the conditions onboard the space telescope. If successful, the CNB -based optical filter is slated to travel to space onboard in a future space telescope, Athena. With the launch foreseen in 2028, the Athena will study the hot and energetic Universe obtaining information about black holes and how they relate to the creation of galaxies and galactic clusters.

Celestial objects emit a wide range of wavelengths. X-Rays are the shortest wavelengths that travel the furthest in space which means that if you can sensor X-Rays, you can see the farthest in space. Since X-radiation is completely absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, instruments to detect X-Rays must be taken to high altitude or in space by a telescope. An aluminum coating on the optical filter suppresses the ultraviolet and visible radiation of the objects. For the filter to perform in the X-Ray application, it must remain highly transparent and robust to withstand the launch of the satellite. Thanks to unique mechanical properties and extremely thin meshes of the carbon nanobuds, the CNB -based filter provides extremely high X-ray transparency, robustness to pressure differentials and chemical inertness which suggest strong potential for the X-Ray filter application.

“We are extremely delighted to partner with ESA on the development of optical filters for the X-Ray applications. It demonstrates the wide applicability of the Carbon NanoBuds even in the most demanding conditions in space,” says Ilkka Varjos, CTO, Canatu Oy.

Canatu and ESA co-operation initiated a year ago and the early demonstration phase where large area and extremely thin CNB foils were demonstrated, has been successful. As a result, Canatu was granted with the project to research the feasibility of the material for the application.

Ilkka Varjos, CTO, Canatu Oy, tel. +358 400 372 785,
Mari Makkonen, Marketing Director, Canatu Oy, tel. +358 504 422 343,

Download images


Carbon NanoBud -based optical blocking filter

The contract will be carried out under a programme of and funded by the European Space Agency. The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.

About Canatu
Canatu’s solutions bring design freedom and user experience to the next level for 3D shaped touch devices and enable autonomous driving in any weather. Canatu develops and manufactures innovative 3D formable and stretchable films and sensors for touch and heater solutions. These transparent and conductive films can be integrated into plastic, glass, textile or leather enabling 3D touch displays, smart switches and other intuitive user interfaces as well as 3D shaped heater solutions. The conductive films of Canatu are manufactured with a patented method using equipment developed by Canatu. Canatu supplies these unique CNB™ films and touch sensors to touch module vendors and OEM’s in several industries, for example automotive and consumer electronics. Canatu is headquartered in Finland, with sales locations in Europe, US, Greater China and Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Canatu – Shaping surfaces into experiences.

News archive