SQUARE KILOMETRE ARRAY
The project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre of collecting area. Currently the collaboration includes ten member countries and a number of associate member countries with about 100 entities from academia, government institutes and industry participating in the design phase. The telescope will have various components, all receiving radio signals, and rollout will be in Australia and South Africa. The so-called SKA-mid will be a reflector array similar to MeerKAT, and the 10% first phase SKA implementation will be double the number of MeerKAT dishes.
Since 2013 EMSS Antennas has been a part of the design team in the Dish Consortium, and we have been responsible for the reflector shape design and to further optimise the MeerKAT L-band receiver (single pixel feed for band 2) for use on SKA. For SKA both the conical shape restriction and the tight specifications on close-in sidelobes were lifted, and we have been working with colleagues from Europe and the USA to optimise the dish surface shape for maximum sensitivity. The latter – the effective receiving area divided by thermal noise of the overall system – is the primary metric of a radio telescope.
We are also leading the receiver package segment in the consortium, working closely with collaborators in China, Sweden and the UK providing receivers for UHF-, X- and Ku-band respectively.