ATNF Engineering Research
ATNF engineering research programs focus on developing, and applying, new
technology and advanced design techniques to radio astronomy and allied
fields. Expertise within the organization spans a very wide range,
from ultra-low-noise millimetre-wave receivers, through the spectrum of
digital signal processing, to precision servo control systems. Significantly,
the ATNF breadth encompasses both design and in-house implementation capabilities
- a strength exploited in internal programs and external contract work.
There are three groups within the ATNF engineering structure:
The linked pages contain an overview of current research and development
group , responsible for the ultra-low-noise signal receptors used in
group , which deals mainly with fast, often highly-parallel, digital
signal processors and their associated analog electronics systems;
research group, responsible for preliminary or strategic work in areas
not easily accomodated in more mainstream programs.
Engineering highlights of the past few years include:
The MNRF upgrade, will enable the Australia Telescope Compact Array to operate at smaller wavelength (higher frequency) and higher angular resolution, and is complemented by projects at Parkes and the Australia Telescope National Facility as a whole.
A major upgrade of the 64 m Parkes
telescope involving replacement of the prime-focus cabin, provision
of a computer controlled receiver placement system, and implementation
of associated control software. This project, designed to allow rapid
alternation between radio astronomy and spacecraft tracking modes, was
undertaken in collaboration with outside consultants and received an honourable
mention in the the 1997 Institution of Engineers (Australia) awards program.
for some background to the project.
station correlator for the Australian long baseline array (LBA) network,
a system which ties together antennas situated in various parts of the
continent, allowing simulation of a radio telescope of continental dimensions.
A 3 mm band, dual polarization, tunable SIS, receiver for the 22 m
telescope. The receiver covers the range 85-115 GHz, with an
equivalent noise temperature of ~80 K (measured at the optics input) at
A 22 GHz receiver for
to allow support of the
(HALCA) orbiting very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) spacecraft.
A 22 GHz receiver for the Shanghai Observatory, Peoples' Republic of China,
to allow stand-alone and VLBI astronomy in the 12 mm band.
A high performance, narrowband, receiver for the Parkes telescope to allow
support of the NASA Galileo mission to Jupiter. Click
for a background article.
A wideband (1 - 3 GHz), low-noise, receiver for the SETI
Institute to support Project Phoenix, the Institute's search for extra
terrestial intelligence using the Parkes telescope.
A data acquisition system (DAS) for the Australian S2 VLBI network.
The DAS provides bandwidths up to 64 MHz and uses digital filter technology
for bandwidths in the range 62.5 kHz - 32 MHz.
ATNF research and development programs offer excellent opportunities for
training at graduate, undergraduate, diploma and trade levels. As
well as PhD and Masters level possibilities, the ATNF operates a highly
competitive industrial experience program for undergraduates. Details
of vacation scholarships are available here
. Engineering students interested in "sandwich", or similar, industrial
experience programs should, after consulting their course co-ordinators,
submit a CV and academic transcript to Mr
John Brooks , engineering manager of the ATNF. Students interested
in diploma and trade courses should check national daily newspapers; most
opportunities are advertised towards the end of the academic year.
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