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Proceedings Paper

Receiver architecture of the thousand-element array (THEA)
Author(s): G. W. Kant; A. B. J. Kokkeler; A. B. Smolders; A. W. Gunst
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Paper Abstract

As part of the development of a new international radio- telescope SKA (Square Kilometer Array), an outdoor phased- array prototype, the THousand Element Array (THEA), is being developed at NFRA. THEA is a phased array with 1024 active elements distributed on a regular grid over a surface of approximately 16 m2. The array is organized into 16 units denoted as tiles. THEA operates in the frequency band from 750 to 1500 MHz. On a tile the signals from 64 antenna elements are converted into two independent RF beams. Two times 16 beams can be made simultaneously with full sensitivity by the real-time digital beam former of the THEA system. At the output of each tile the analog RF signal from a beam is converted into a 2 X 12-bit digital quadrature representation by a receiver system. A double super-heterodyne architecture is used to mix the signal band of interest to an intermediate frequency of 210 MHz. The IF-signal is shifted to baseband by means of a partly digitally implemented I/Q mixer scheme. After a quadrature mixer stage, the I and Q signals are digitized by means of 12 bit A/D converters at 40 MS/s. Implementing a part of the mixing scheme digitally offers the flexibility to use different I/Q architectures, e.g. Hartley and Weaver mixer setups. This way the effect of RFI in different mixing architectures can be analyzed. After the digital processing, the samples are multiplexed, serialized and transported over fibers to the central adaptive digital beam former unit where the signals from all tiles are combined giving 32 beams. This paper focuses on the design choices and the final implementation of the THEA system. In particular, the receiver architecture is addressed. A digital solution is presented, which enables switching between Hartley and a Weaver based mixer scheme.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 July 2000
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4015, Radio Telescopes, (3 July 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.390423
Show Author Affiliations
G. W. Kant, Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (Netherlands)
A. B. J. Kokkeler, Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (Netherlands)
A. B. Smolders, Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (Netherlands)
A. W. Gunst, Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4015:
Radio Telescopes
Harvey R. Butcher, Editor(s)

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