ASKAP PAF system wins Excellence award

A photo looking upwards towards the green chequerboard PAF receiver, installed on an ASKAP antenna, against a bright blue sky=..

23 September 2013

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.

CSIRO's 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.

Six 'first generation' ASKAP PAF systems are already installed on ASKAP antennas at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, along with associated digital systems, beamformer and hardware correlator. Recent commissioning tests produced the first multi-beam image with a three-PAF system, validating phased array feeds for radio astronomy.

The PAF technology is a result of close collaboration between researchers of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) and CSIRO Computational Informatics (CCI, previously Information and Communications Technologies).

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.

Watch this video to find out more about the development of the Phased Array Feed receiver [external site].

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