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Title: High-performance signal processing architectures for digital aperture array telescopes
Author: Armstrong, Richard Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 3095
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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An instrument with the ability to image neutral atomic hydrogen (HI) to cosmic redshift will allow the fundamental properties of the Universe to be more precisely determined; in particular the distribution, composition, and evolutionary history of its matter and energy. The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a radio survey telescope conceived with this aim. It will have the observational potential for much further fundamental science, including strong field tests of gravity and general relativity, revealing the origin and history of cosmological re-ionisation and magnetism, direct measures of gravitational radiation, and surveys of the unmapped Universe. And it is the advance of instrumentation that will enable it. This thesis makes three central contributions to radio instrumentation. Digital aperture arrays are a collector technology proposed for the key low- and mid- frequency ranges targeted by the SKA that have the potential to provide both the collecting area and field of view required for deep, efficient all-sky surveys of HI. The 2-Polarisations, All Digital (2-PAD) aperture array is an instrumental pathfinder for the SKA, novel in being a densely-spaced, wide-band aperture array that performs discrete signal filtering entirely digitally. The digital design of the 2-PAD radio receiver and the deployment of the aperture array and signal processing system at Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory is detailed in this thesis. The problem of element anisotropy in small arrays, the atomic unit of the SKA station array, ultimately affects beam quality. Addressing this issue, a metaheuristic digital beam-shape optimisation technique is applied to a small beamformed array, and is shown to outperform traditional analytic solutions. Digital processing for aperture arrays is challenging. A qualitative framework shows that energy, computational and communication requirements demand optimised processing architectures. A quantitative model reveals the physical limitations on architecture choice. An energy-optimised architecture, the IBM BIT integer array processor, is investigated in detail; a cycle-accurate architectural simulator and programming language are developed and used to build signal processing algorithms on the array architecture.
Supervisor: Jones, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Astrophysics