Thesis title: Cryogenically integrated Ultra-Wideband(UWB) antenna and LNAs for the next generation radio-astronomy receivers.

Supervisor: Dr. Shahram Amiri (POAM Electronics Ltd)

Co-Supervisor: Dr. Lucio Piccirillo (University of Manchester)

Recruitment Institution: POAM Electronics Ltd, Manchester, UK

Doctoral School: University of Manchester, UK

Mobility: The ESR will spend six months of secondment at University of Manchester.

Eligibility: European and non-European students who not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, ect.) in United Kingdom for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.

Thesis description:

The future development of radio astronomy requires large decade-bandwidth telescopes. Cryogenically cooled broadband receivers allow for higher sensitivity in the study of the celestial objects and astronomical phenomena. They also have a practical advantage in that fewer receivers are needed to cover the operating band of a telescope. The development of high sensitivity receivers presents several challenges. Wideband feed horns typically suffer from poorer spillover and aperture efficiencies. Beam symmetry and cross polar performance are also typically degraded. Wideband Low noise amplifiers (LNAs) with noise figures equal to their narrow band counterparts are difficult to produce and these LNAs must be highly linear in order to avoid second order interference products. A significant challenge in the development of a cryogenic wideband horn and LNA covering the 10:1 bandwidth is achieving a low noise figure while maintaining a high return loss.

The thesis aims to the system design of a cryogenically Ultra-Wideband (UWB) feed and LNAs are considered with emphasis on its application in future wideband radio telescope systems. The design requires careful integration of various sub-designs in order to realize cryogenic operation. The various sub-designs include the electrical design of the Horn antenna, alternative solutions for integrating the horn antenna with low noise amplifiers (LNAs), mechanical and cryogenic design and tests, and system noise temperature estimation and measurements. The objective of this work is to present a good front-end candidate that is well-suited for next generation radio telescopes receivers.

The thesis is part of the ACO network, whose ultimate goal is to reconstruct the early history of the Solar System by comparing presently forming solar-type planetary systems with its small bodies. The comparison will be based on the most advanced astrochemical knowledge, which will be developed by the interdisciplinary ACO team.