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The Commensal Real-time ASKAP Fast Transients Survey

PIs: Keith Bannister (CASS), Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR/Curtin) & Ryan Shannon (Swinburne)

CRAFT is the high-time resolution survey for fast radio transients on the 36-element, 30 deg2 field of view Australian SKA Pathfinder.  Its aim is to survey the Universe for impulsive astrophysical phenomena at radio frequencies between about 700 and 1500 MHz.  A particular target of interest is the newly-discovered class of highly-luminous Fast Radio Bursts.  The cause of FRB emission is a topic of hot debate, as are their progenitor objects.  FRBs occur at cosmological distances , and their radiation, which is subject to dispersion by the tenuous matter in the ionized Inter-Galactic Medium, hold the potential to probe the structure, physical properties and evolution of the IGM in a manner that has not previously been possible.


ASKAP undertaking CRAFT observations in Fly’s Eye mode. Image credit: Rob Hollow (CASS)

Technical specifications

  • 1 ms time resolution
  • 1 MHz spectral resolution across 336 MHz
  • Total powers are searched from each of the phased array feed (PAF) beams from each telescope.  The telescopes can be operated in either fly’s eye mode (to achieve a total field of view of N x 30 sq.deg. with N antennas), or a collimated incoherent mode in which all antennas target a common pointing centre
  • New: buffers within the PAF beamformers implement a voltage capture mode for all bursts detected in real time.  This feeds the interferometric localisation pipeline.

Parkes searches for repeating CRAFT Fast Radio Bursts

Useful related papers and talks about the survey:

Macquart et al., The Commensal Real-Time ASKAP Fast-Transients (CRAFT) Survey, PASA, 2010, 27, 272-282

Bannister et al. 2017, The Detection of an Extremely Bright Fast Radio Burst in a Phased Array Feed Survey, ApJ Lett, 841, L12

CRAFT Reborn talks at ASKAP 2016: The future of radio astronomy surveys  by Keith Bannister & Jean-Pierre Macquart: part 1 and part 2

CRAFT update at Aspen Center for Physics conference on Fast Radio Bursts: New Probes of Fundamental Physics and Cosmology


Recent CRAFT results:

Shannon et al. 2018, The dispersion-brightness relation for fast radio bursts from a wide-field survey, Nature, 562, 386

Sokolowski et al. 2018, No Low-frequency Emission from Extremely Bright Fast Radio Bursts, ApJ Lett, 867, L12

Mahony et al. 2018, A Search for the Host Galaxy of FRB 171020, ApJ Lett, 867, L10

James et al. 2018, The Performance and Calibration of the CRAFT Fly’s Eye Fast Radio Burst Survey, PASA submitted

James et al. 2018, The Slope of the Source-Count Distribution for Fast Radio Bursts, MNRAS accepted

Macquart et al. 2018, The spectral properties of the bright FRB population, ApJ Lett submitted

A gallery of bright FRBs detected by CRAFT. The top panels show the burst profile and the bottom panels the dynamic spectrum of each pulse after dedispersion.

For enquiries about CRAFT contact either Keith Bannister or Jean-Pierre Macquart

Active CRAFT members

Number of CRAFT FRBs detected to date: 026

Number of CRAFT FRBs with arcsecond localisations: TBA