Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Oxford signs RFEL for initial signal processing study contract for ...

18.02.2014

... the Square Kilometre Array radio astronomy project

The University of Oxford, a member of the Low Frequency Aperture Array (LFAA) consortium, working together with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation to build the world's largest radio telescope, has signed an initial study contract with RFEL. The contract covers the design of an FPGA-based signal processing architecture for the channelisation and beam forming functions in the antenna processing hardware.


Artist's composition of the 4 SKA instruments spread on the African (right of the image) and Australian (left of the image) continent.
Photo credit: SKA Organisation

Image downloadable from
https://www.skatelescope.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SKAall_night1.full.jpg

RFEL, who specialises in high performance, electronic video and signal processing solutions, was selected because of the company's expertise in novel signal processing architectures and optimal VHDL coding that allows complex designs to "fit" into small FPGAs without compromising overall system performance. The SKA, which will be built over the next decade, will comprise of thousands of dish telescopes and hundreds of thousands of dipole antennas. Each of the dipole antennas will have two of these channelisers, to process the signals. It is therefore vital to keep the power requirements and costs of each processing card to a minimum.

The study involves the creation of a highly-configurable, fixed-point Matlab model, where channelisation parameters and beam forming strategies can be entered. Stimulus can then be presented to the model to allow the fidelity of performance to be monitored against immediate feedback of FPGA resource usage, and power dissipation for any given design configuration. RFEL is drawing on its years of work in this area of signal processing and its extensive Matlab and VHDL "module" library, to enable the SKA to achieve the maximum system performance matched to the FPGA cost and power dissipation limitations of such a large scientific instrument.

Alex Kuhrt, RFEL's CEO, announced, "We are delighted to have been awarded this contract. This is a highly prestigious, international project with around 100 organisations from 20 countries participating in the design and development. We will be able to draw on our previous work on solutions for radio telescopes, such as for the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy."

The antennae will be located in Australia and Africa to form a radio telescope that spans two continents and a total collecting area of one square kilometre. Rather than just clustered in the central core regions, the telescopes will be arranged in multiple spiral arm configurations, with the antennae extending to vast distances from the central cores, creating what is known as a long baseline interferometer array. It will have an unprecedented scope in observations, exceeding the image resolution quality of the Hubble Space Telescope by a factor of 50 times, whilst also having the ability to image huge areas of sky ten times faster than any existing facilities.

The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about the Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the big bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth.

Artist's composition of the 4 SKA instruments spread on the African (right of the image) and Australian (left of the image) continent. 

Photo credit: SKA Organisation

Image downloadable from
https://www.skatelescope.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SKAall_night1.full.jpg

In such an array, physical distance separates the telescopes, and the distance between them is calculated precisely using the time difference between the arrival of radio signals at each receiver. Computers can then calculate how to combine these signals to synthesise something the equivalent size of a single dish measuring the width of the distance between the two scopes. In doing so, these interferometry techniques enable astronomers to emulate a telescope with a size equal to the maximum separation between the telescopes in the array, or if needed, just the distance between a subset of telescopes, or indeed, multiple subsets of the main array. This way, rather than build one gigantic dish, the capabilities of one huge dish are in some ways surpassed by the flexibility that this interferometry configuration brings.

SKA

The SKA project is an international effort to build the world's largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development towards building and delivering a radio telescope, and will deliver a correspondingly transformational increase in science capability when operational. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and to centralise the leadership of the project. Eleven countries are currently members of the SKA Organisation, and some further countries expressed their interest in joining the project in the near-term future.

Contact information: William Garnier, Communications and Outreach Manager, SKA Organisation.

Email: w.garnier@skatelescope.org Phone: +44 (0) 161 306 9613 www.skatelescope.org

RFEL
RFEL Ltd is a UK-based innovative electronic systems designer, providing real-time high specification signal, image and video processing products, FPGA solutions and design services to defence, security, communications and instrumentation markets.


Further Information and illustrations
RFEL Ltd
E info@rfel.com
T +44 (0) 1983 216600
Press Information
Nigel Robson, Vortex PR
E nigel@vortexpr.com
T +44 (0) 1481 233080
www.vortexpr.com

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners

Nigel Robson | Vortex PR
Further information:
http://www.rfel.com

Further reports about: Max Planck Institute RFEL SKA radio signal radio telescope signal processing

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From the cosmos to fusion plasmas, PPPL presents findings at global APS gathering
13.11.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht A two-atom quantum duet
12.11.2018 | Institute for Basic Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NIH scientists illuminate causes of hepatitis b virus-associated acute liver failure

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs

14.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

NIH scientists combine technologies to view the retina in unprecedented detail

14.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>