The Thousand Element Array

The international radio astronomy community is currently making detailed plans for the development of a new radio telescope: the Square Kilometer Array Interferometer (SKA). This instrument will be a hundred times more sensitive than telescopes currently in use. One of the options of this new telescope is to use phased arrays with over one million receiving elements with a mixed RF/digital adaptive beamformer. THEA (Thousand Element Array) is one of the demonstrator systems that was build during the SKA development program and is continued as THEP (THEA Experimental Platform).

THEP is an out-door phased array system with 256 broadband receiving antenna elements. Beamsteering is done by a combination of RF and digital beamforming. THEP is able to make multiple beams over the sky simultaneously. In addition, adaptive beamforming may be applied to suppress EMI sources. THEP will also be used for educational purposes and for simple experiments concerning the phased array technique.

The image shows the four THEA tiles, with the radome (cover) removed, pictured with the Dwingeloo telescope at the background. One THEA tile consists of 64 wide-band antenna elements and can be used to detect (strong) radio sources in the frequency band from 600 to 1700 MHz in the presence of strong interfering RF signals.

First results

More pictures



For more information, please contact vaate [at] astron [dot] nl

Design: Kuenst.    Development: Dripl.    © 2014 ASTRON