A MULTI-TERABIT OPTICAL FIBRE NETWORK FOR A LOFAR TELESCOPE
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16-10-2010, 10:31 AM


ABSTRACT In the astronomy world, there is a need for high-performance radio telescopes operating at low frequencies. Such a telescope can be realized by a large network of small dipole antennas spread over an area of about 360 square kilometers. This antenna configuration requires a multi-terabit optical network to transport and collect the massive amounts of data picked-up from the sky. Within the Retina project and implimentation, we have developed an architecture for such a multi-terabit optical network. In addition, new 160 Gbit/s line rate technology has been developed that can be used in such a network. THE LOFAR ANTENNA SYSTEM For observing events far away in the universe, extremely sensitive radio telescopes with very high resolution are needed. Such a high-performance telescope can be realized by deploying large numbers of antenna elements, spread out over a wide area. The innovative LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) antenna system
uses 13104 separate broadband dipole antennas, each of the order of a meter in size, and positioned in an area with a diameter of approximately 350 km .The radio signals captured by the individual antennas are digitized and transported to a central signal processor. Each antenna is omni-directional. By adjusting the delays of the digital signals from several antennas, and correlating them with the appropriate weight factors in the processor, a well-defined beam for observing the universe in a certain direction in real time can be formed. Since this combination is done digitally, it is well possible to copy the signals from each antenna and combine them also with a different set of weights. This way several independent station beams can be formed. By combining stations in the central processor, the directivity within each beam is further increased.


for more details, please visit
citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.59.7628&rep=rep1&type=pdf
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