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PAF system of the SKA precursor telescope ASKAP wins Excellence award

23 September 2013, Sydney, Australia -   ASKAP’s innovative new receiver technology – the phased array feed (PAF) – has picked up the ‘Innovations and Inventions’ award at the Sydney branch Engineering Excellence Awards ceremony for Engineers Australia.

ASKAP

Six ‘first generation’ ASKAP PAF systems are already installed on ASKAP antennas at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia. Here visible on the forefront antenna.

CSIRO’s ASKAP telescope is designed to be a high speed survey instrument with high dynamic range. This requires an extremely wide field-of-view interferometer with Phased Array Feeds (PAFs) consisting of 188 elements, 94 in each of two polarisations.

ASKAP is one of the precursor telescopes for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). It will eventually be integrated into phase 1 of the SKA after being a separate instrument for a few years.

The ASKAP PAF system – the first chequerboard receiver specifically built for radio astronomy – uses a revolutionary technique for receiving radio astronomy signals to simultaneously sample large areas of sky, providing ASKAP with a large field of view.

The ASKAP PAF system received first place in the ‘Innovations and Inventions‘ category, which recognise a “fundamental innovation of engineering knowledge or a technology” for projects or activities that have been developed to the point of practical application. The PAF also received an Honourable Mention in the ‘Research & Development’ category.

Winners of the Engineering Excellence Awards are now eligible for the National Engineering Excellence awards, to be held in November 2013.

Full release is available on CSIRO’s website

Watch this video to find out more about the development of the Phased Array Feed receiver

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