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The aim of this project is to contribute to the development of the time and frequency synchronisation systems for giant radio telescopes such as the next generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) and future upgrades of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Radio telescopes such as the ngVLA and SKA phase-2 will allow astronomers to study the universe with 100 times greater depth and resolution than ever before, enabling discoveries that will shed light on mysteries ranging from the beginning and evolution of the universe, to the origin of life on Earth. To do this, hundreds of radio dishes need to be synchronised with extreme accuracy and precision. The Astrophotonics Group (www.icrar.org/astrophotonics) at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) developed the current frequency synchronization systems for SKA phase-1 and the ngVLA reference design. Several project themes are on offer including:

  • Digital phase-stabilisation system – the student will help design, build, and test an FPGA-controlled, optical fibre-based time and frequency distribution system tailored to the scientific needs and engineering challenges of the ngVLA and SKA phase-2. The system will use digital signal processing (DSP) on an FPGA to modulate, receive, and stabilise time and frequency signals transmitted over hundreds of kilometres of optical fibre.

This work will be conducted in collaboration with the SKA Observatory, the University of Manchester, Chalmers University of Technology, and Qamcom Research and Technology.