A superconducting software defined radio frontend with application to the Square Kilometre Array

Volkmann, Mark Hans (2013-12)

Thesis (PhD)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Superconducting electronics can make the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) a better instrument. The largest radio telescope in the world will consist of several arrays, the largest of which, consisting of more than 3000 dishes, will be situated primarily in South Africa. The ambitions of the SKA are grand and their realisation requires technology that does not exist today. Current plans see signals in the band of interest ampli ed, channelised, mixed down and then digitised. An all-digital frontend could simplify receiver structure and improve its performance. Semiconductor (analog-to-digital converters) ADCs continue to make great progress and will likely nd applications in the SKA, but superconductor ADCs bene t from higher clock speeds and quantum accurate quantisation. We propose a superconducting softwarede ned radio frontend. The key component of such a frontend is a superconducting ash ADC. We show that employing such an ADC, even a small- to moderately-sized one, will signi cantly improve the instantaneous bandwidth observable by the SKA, yet retain adequate signal-to-noise ratio so as to achieve a net improvement in sensitivity. This improvement could approach factor 2 when compared to conventional technologies (at least for continuum observations). We analyse key components of such an ADC analytically, numerically and experimentally and conclude that fabrication of such an ADC for SKA purposes is certainly possible and useful. Simultaneously, we address the power requirements of high-performance computing (HPC). HPC on a hitherto unprecedented scale is a necessity for processing the vast raw data output of the SKA. Utilising the ultra-low-energy switching events of superconducting switches (certain Josephson junctions), we develop rst demonstrators of the promising eSFQ logic family, achieving experimentally veri ed shift-registers and deserialisers with sub-aJ/bit energy requirements. We also propose and show by simulation how to expand the applicability of the eSFQ design concept to arbitrary (unclocked) gates.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Supergeleier-elektronika kan 'n beter instrument maak van die \Square Kilometre Array" (SKA). Die wêreld se grootse radioteleskoop sal bestaan uit etlike skikkings, waarvan die grootste - met meer as 3 000 skottels - hoofsaaklik in Suid-Afrika gesetel sal wees. Die SKA is ambisieus en vereis tegnologie wat nog nie vandag bestaan nie. Volgens huidige planne sal seine in die band van belang versterk, gekanalisieer, afgemeng en dan versyfer word. 'n Heel-digitale kopstuk sal die ontvangerstruktuur kan vereenvoudig en sy prestasie kan verbeter. Halfgeleier analoog-na-digital omsetters (ADOs) verbeter voortdurend en sal waarskynlik toepassings in die SKA vind, maar supergeleier ADOs trek voordeel uit hoër klok spoed en kwantumakkurate kwantisering. Ons stel 'n supergeleier sagteware-gede nieerde radio kopstuk voor. Die sleutelkomponent van so 'n kopstuk is 'n supergeleier \ ash" ADO. Ons toon hoe die gebruik van so 'n ADO, selfs een van klein tot matige bisgrootte, die oombliklike bandwydte waarneembaar deur die SKA aansienlik sal verbeter en 'n voldoende sein-tot-ruis verhouding sal behou, en gevolglik 'n netto verbetering in sensitiwiteit sal bereik. Hierdie verbetering kan, vergeleke met konvensionele tegnologie, 'n faktor van 2 nader (ten minste vir kontinuum waarnemings). Ons analiseer belangrike komponente van so 'n ADO analities, numeries and eksperimenteel en lei af dat die vervaardiging van so 'n ADO vir SKA doeleindes beide moontlik en nuttig is. Terselfdertyd spreek ons die drywingsverkwisting van Hoë-verrigting rekenaars aan. Sulke rekenaars van 'n tot dusver ongekende skaal is 'n noodsaaklikheid vir die verwerking van die enorme rou data uitset van die SKA. Deur die gebruik van die ultra-lae-energie skakels van supergeleier skakelaars (sekere Josephson-vlakke), ontwikkel ons die eerste demonstratiewe hekke van die veelbelowende eSFQ logiese familie, en toon eksperimenteel bevestigte skuifregisters en deserieëliseerders met sub-aJ/bis energievereistes. Ons stel verder voor en wys met simulasies hoe om die toepaslikheid van die eSFQ ontwerpkonsep na arbitr^ere (ongeklokte) hekke uit te brei.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85798
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