Development of a real-time transient analyser for the SKA

Botha, Antheun (2014-04)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The extension of the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT), MeerKAT, will be the most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere until it is superseded by the completion of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). These instruments are to be constructed in the Karoo which is an area in South-Africa that is protected against Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) by the Astronomy Geographical Advantage (AGA) act. However, the telescope is also vulnerable to self-generated interference and specialised measurement systems are required to monitor RFI levels. The development of a ReAl Time Transient AnalYser (RATTY) is described and two Experimental Development Models (XDM) are compared. The first uses a mixing philosophy, and the second direct-sampling. The selection of these models was based on the evaluation of several analogue Front-End (FE) designs. A stripline-filter design process is presented along with the results obtained for custom filters developed for the FEs. Several analyses were compared to measurements performed with one of the devices and good agreement was shown between the system characteristics. Issues regarding the Spurious Free Dynamic Range (SFDR) of the FE designs were identified in the process and measurement-corrected simulations used to predict the achievable ranges. The outcome of the XDM comparison promotes the continued development of a direct-sampling strategy to fulfil the short-term goals of the project. A static calibration procedure is demonstrated for the mixing system and implemented to account for different FE configurations. An overview of the digital and software components of the RATTY system is given and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) principles are applied during the construction of both systems.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die finale fase van die Karoo Reeks Teleskoop (KAT), MeerKAT, sal die sensitiefste radio teleskoop in die suidelike halfrond wees. Dit sal egter oortref word deur die vierkante kilometer reeks, wat die sensitiefste radio teleskoop ter wêreld sal word. Beide instrumente sal vatbaar wees vir radiofrekwensie steurings en sal opgerig word in ‘n wet-beskermde omgewing. Die teleskope is ook vatbaar vir radiofrekwensie steurings wat deur interne stelsels opgewek kan word. Dus word gespesialiseerde meetapparate benodig om die betrokke area en substelsels van die teleskope te monitor. Die ontwikkeling van ‘n meetinstrument vir die ontleding van kort-durasie tydseine (RATTY) word beskryf en twee eksperimentele ontwikkelings modelle word vergelyk. Hierdie modelle is gebaseer op die verfyning van voorafgaande ontwerpe vir die analoog substelsel van die instrument en hierdie proses word verduidelik. Die eerste model volg ‘n menger strategie waar die tweede model direkte-monstering implementeer. ‘n Dubbel-laag, mikrostrookfilter ontwerpsproses word beskryf en die gemete resultate vir die ontwikkelde filters word bespreek. Verskeie ontledings is aangewend en vergelyk met die gemete resultate van die stelsels. Hieruit word bevredigende ooreenkomste getref. Die beperkings van die modelle, weens interne distorsie, word geïdentifiseer in dié proses en verdere skattings word gemaak d.m.v. simulasies. Die eksperimentele modelle word vergelyk en die voorkeur van ‘n direkte-monsterings stelsel word gemotiveer. Die digitale en sagteware komponente word oorsigtelik behandel. Tydens die konstruksie van die modelle word die toepassing van elektromagnetiese verenigbaarheids beginsels verduidelik. Laastens word ‘n eenvoudige kalibrasie toegepas op die menger stelsel en ‘n toepassing daarvan word behandel.

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