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20th of January 2020
LIEF grants for Parkes and ATCA upgrades
"The Dish" at Parkes and the Australia Telescope Compact Array at Narrabri will benefit from Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grants announced last week. A $1.15M LIEF grant will support a $3M project to build a sensitive receiver called a 'cryoPAF' for the Parkes radio telescope. The cryoPAF will be cooled to -253°C to reduce 'noise' in its electrical circuits, enhancing the ability to detect weak radio signals from the cosmos over a wide field of view, at frequencies from 700 MHz to 1.9 GHz. The grant was led by The University of Western Australia, which will coordinate construction and commissioning of the cryoPAF, together with five other research organisations. CSIRO will design, build and install the instrument. A second LIEF grant, worth $530,000, will support a $2.6M upgrade of the Australia Telescope Compact Array. The existing digital signal processor, CABB, will be replaced with a GPU-powered processor to double the bandwidth of the telescope's signal electronics. The project is being led by Professor Ray Norris from Western Sydney University, working closely with CSIRO and seven other university partners.

CSIRO has previously designed and built innovative phased-array feeds (PAFs) for its ASKAP telescope in Western Australia, and the image above shows a test version of the cryoPAF being installed on the Parkes telescope in 2016. More details are available from the CSIRO press release.

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