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Electrical engineering and computing student, Shane Overington, working in the ICRAR electronic laboratory to diagnose and repair a faulty MWA data transmission printed circuit board.

Electrical engineering and computing student, Shane Overington, working in the ICRAR electronic laboratory to diagnose and repair a faulty MWA data transmission printed circuit board.

Instrumental noise plays an important role in radio astronomy. For a low-frequency radio telescope such as the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) or Low-Frequency Square Kilometre Array (SKA-Low), the instrumental noise of the telescope depends on the interaction between the low-noise amplifier (LNA) and the impedance of the antenna. As a result, the design and optimization of the LNA is strongly coupled to the antenna.

The interplay between the LNA and the antenna is fully characterized by four “noise parameters.” Once these parameters are known, the designer can easily predict the instrumental noise due to the antenna-LNA interaction. However, device manufacturers typically do not publish noise parameters at low frequencies (tens to hundreds of Hz) as they are difficult and costly to obtain.

At ICRAR/Curtin we have recently developed a low-cost technique to obtain noise parameters of the MWA LNA. This method requires multiple steps of measurement, calibration and verification that will benefit from computerized automation. We seek a motivated student to automate this process by interfacing with the instruments and to succinctly process and present the data.

Pdf Project Description and Timeline

Co-Supervisors

Mr Daniel Ung

Support Engineer, Aperture Array

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