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A new layout optimization technique for interferometric arrays, applied to the Murchison Widefield Array


Beardsley, AP and Hazelton, BJ and Morales, MF and Capallo, RJ and Goeke, R and Emrich, D and Lonsdale, CJ and Arcus, W and Barnes, D and Bernardi, G and Bowman, JD and Bunton, JD and Corey, BE and Deshpande, A and deSouza, L and Gaensler, BM and Greenhill, LJ and Herne, D and Hewitt, JN and Kaplan, DL and Kasper, JC and Kincaid, BB and Koenig, R and Kratzenberg, E and Lynch, MJ and McWhirter, SR and Mitchell, DA and Morgan, E and Oberoi, D and Ord, SM and Pathikulangara, J and Prabu, T and Remillard, RA and Rogers, AEE and Roshi, A and Salah, JE and Sault, RJ and Shankar, NU and Srivani, KS and Stevens, J and Subrahmanyan, R and Tingay, SJ and Wayth, RB and Waterson, M and Webster, RL and Whitney, AR and Williams, A and Williams, CL and Wyithe, JSB, A new layout optimization technique for interferometric arrays, applied to the Murchison Widefield Array, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 425, (3) pp. 1781-1788. ISSN 0035-8711 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

copyright 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Copyright 2012 RAS

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.20878.x


Antenna layout is an important design consideration for radio interferometers because it determines the quality of the snapshot point spread function (PSF, or array beam). This is particularly true for experiments targeting the 21-cm Epoch of Reionization signal as the quality of the foreground subtraction depends directly on the spatial dynamic range and thus the smoothness of the baseline distribution. Nearly all sites have constraints on where antennas can be placed - even at the remote Australian location of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) there are rock outcrops, flood zones, heritages areas, emergency runways and trees. These exclusion areas can introduce spatial structure into the baseline distribution that enhances the PSF sidelobes and reduces the angular dynamic range. In this paper we present a new method of constrained antenna placement that reduces the spatial structure in the baseline distribution. This method not only outperforms random placement algorithms that avoid exclusion zones, but surprisingly outperforms random placement algorithms without constraints to provide what we believe are the smoothest constrained baseline distributions developed to date. We use our new algorithm to determine antenna placements for the originally planned MWA, and present the antenna locations, baseline distribution and snapshot PSF for this array choice.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:instrumentation: interferometers - cosmology: miscellaneous
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Astronomical instrumentation
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Stevens, J (Dr Jamie Stevens)
ID Code:83119
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2013-03-01
Last Modified:2013-06-28

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