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Embrace Hex-board

Submitter: Erik van der Wal
Description: Presented here is a Hex-board, which is a prototype receptor board designed for Embrace. Embrace is part of the multi-national SKADS project funded by the European community. It is one of the technical concept demonstrators that have been proposed for a station of the future Square Km Array (SKA), a giant radio telescope.

The Hex-boards, placed together in groups of six, form one of the key elements in the realization of the Embrace array. The Hex-boards are the next major step in the ever continuing task of delivering inexpensive collecting area, while maintaining performance.

On the electronics side, analogue beam-former chips are used to align the signals received by the antenna and then to combine them. The use of integrated circuits, like the beam-former chip, significantly reduces the number of components, which in turn improves the yield.

A major step has been made in manufacturability of the array (which translates to lower cost). A large number of mechanical connections, which were initially done by screws, have been replaced by snap-fit connections. Furthermore inexpensive aluminum extrusion profiles are used to connect the antennas to each other.

Each Hex-board, includes the following items/functions
- 24 vivaldi elements, 12 for each polarization.
- Low noise amplifiers.
- Three analogue beam-former chips
- Integrated power supply, with voltage and temperature monitoring
- Switchable True-time-delay lines.

We would like to acknowledge Jürgen Morawietz, who made this picture.
On the background, the Pleiades are shown, this image was made by Albert van Duin. For more images, see http://www.astropix.nl
Copyright: Embrace Team
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