Improving the direction-dependent gain calibration of reflector antenna radio telescopes

Young, Andre (2013-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Utilising future radio interferometer arrays, such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), to their full potential will require calibrating for various direction- dependent effects, including the radiation pattern (or primary beam in the parlance of radio astronomers) of each of the antennas in such an array. This requires an accurate characterisation of the radiation patterns at the time of observation, as changing operating conditions may cause substantial variation in these patterns. Furthermore, fundamental imaging limits, as well as practical time constraints, limit the amount of measurement data that can be used to perform such characterisation. Herein three techniques are presented which aim to address this requirement by providing pattern models that use the least amount of measurement data for an accurate characterisation of the radiation pattern. These methods are demonstrated through application to the MeerKAT Offset Gregorian (OG) dual-reflector antenna. The first technique is based on a novel application of the Jaco bi-Bessel series in which the expansion coefficients are solved directly from the secondary pattern. Improving the efficiency of this model in the desired application leads to the development of a different set of basis functions, as well as two constrained solution approaches which reduce the number of pattern measurements required to yield an accurate and unique solution. The second approach extends the application of the recently proposed Characteristic Basis Function Patterns (CBFPs) to compensate for non-linear pattern variations resulting from mechanical deformations in a reflector antenna system. The superior modelling capabilities of these numerical basis functions, which contain most of the pattern features of the given antenna design in a single term, over that of analytic basis functions are demonstrated. The final method focusses on an antenna employing a Phased Array Feed (PAF) in which multiple beam patterns are created through th e use of a beam-former. Calibration of such systems poses a difficult problem as the radiation pattern shape is susceptible to gain variations. Here we propose a solution which is based on using a Linearly Constrained Minimum Varia nce (LCMV) beamformer to conform the realised beam pattern to a physics-based analytic function. Results show that the LCMV beamformer successful ly produces circularly symmetric beams that are accurately characterised with a single-term analytic function over a wide FoV.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die volle benutting van toekomstige radio interferometersamestellings, soos die Square Kilometre Array (SKA), benodig die kalibrering van verskeie rigting-afhanklike effekte, insluitend die stralingspatroon (bekend as die primêre bundel onder radio astronome) van elke antenne in só ’n samestelling. Hierdie benodig ’n akkurate karakterisering van die stralingspatrone op die waarnemingstydstip, aangesien veranderende bedryfskarakteristieke ’n beduidende afwyking in hierdie patrone veroorsaak. Verder, weens fund amentele perke in beeldverwerking, asook praktiese tydbeperkinge, bestaan daar ’n limiet op die hoeveelheid gemeetde data wat benut kan word om die nodige karakterisering mee te doen. Hierin word drie tegnieke ten toon gestel wat gemik is daarop om aan hierdie behoefte te voorsien deur die gebruik van modelle wat ’n minimum hoeveelheid metingdata benodig om ’n akkurate beskrywing van die stralingspatroon te lewer. Die verskeie metodes word aangebied aan die hand van die MeerKAT afset-Gregorian dubbelreflektorantenne. Die eerste tegniek is gebasseer op ’n nuwe toepassing van die Jacobi- Besselreeks waarin die sekondêre stralingspatroon direk gebruik word om die uitsettingskoëffisiënte op te los. Die doelmatigheidsverbetering van hierdie model in die huidige toepassing lei na die ontwikkeling van ’n nuwe versameling van basisfunksies, asook twee voorwaardelike oplossings wat die nodige aantal metings vir ’n akkurate, unieke oplossing verminder. In die tweede tegniek word die toepassing van die onlangs voorgestelde Karakteristieke Basisfunksie Patrone uitgebrei om te vergoed vir die nie-lineêre stralingspatroonafwykings wat teweeggebring word deur meganiese vervormings in die reflektorantenne. Die superieure modelleringsvermoëns van hierdie numeriese basisfunksies, wat meeste van die patroonkenmerke vasvang in ’n enkele term, bo dié van analitiese basisfunksies word gedemonstreer. Die laaste metode fokus op die gebruik van ’n gefaseerde samestellingvoer waarin veelvoudige bundelpatrone geskep word deur die gebruik van ’n bundelvormer. Die kalibrering van sulke instrumente word bemoeilik daardeur dat die patroonvorm gevoelig is vir aanwinsafwykings. Hier stel ons ’n oplossing voor waarin ’n lineêrbegrensde minimumstrooiing bundelvormer gebruik word om die stralingspatroon te pas op ’n fisika-gebasseerde analitiese funksie. Resultate toon dat hierdie bundelvormer sirkelsimmetriese bundels kan skep wat akkuraat beskryf word deur ’n een-term analitiese funksie oor ’n wye gesigsveld.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80915
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