Radio Astronomy applies the ‘STEM’ based disciplines of astronomy, space science, technology, physics, and engineering to capture and analyse ultra-faint signals from the universe. It pushes the boundaries of technology and techniques in electromagnetics, signal processing and data science. These challenges are compounded by demands and constraints imposed by the harsh and unrelenting environment that our equipment operates in.
Success in such an imposing endeavour comes through collaboration. ICRAR-Curtin has earned a reputation for forging meaningful, mutually beneficial collaborations to advance the major initiatives that it is engaged in.
For more see: https://www.icrar.org/industry/.
Examples of industry collaborations facilitated by the T&I team at ICRAR-Curtin can be found at https://www.icrar.org/industry/cases/#case1, and below.
ICRAR-Curtin plays a key role in the low-frequency engineering and signal processing work for the SKA-Low – in particular, SKA-Low design, verification and construction.
Our world-class capabilities in both radio astronomy and engineering have been demonstrated through the successful delivery of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) – the official precursor to the SKA-Low, and several SKA verification systems.
Engineers at ICRAR-Curtin have designed the Power and Signal Distribution (PaSD) system for SKA-Low Stations. The PaSD system sits within the overall SKA-Low radio telescope which will eventually consist of up to 512 Field Nodes spread across an area of up to 100km in diameter at Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara – the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.
Cross-disciplinary engagement between Operations and Research Engineers, and local suppliers and professional services providers has supported the development of the SKA-Low PaSD system.
You can check out our SKA-Low Station Visualisation here:
Still from SKA-Low Beam Pattern and Beam Steering animation (https://vimeo.com/727678262), created by former Curtin Digital Artistry student and HIVE intern, Scott Bell.
Space Domain Awareness
ICRAR-Curtin has teamed with various industry partners to adapt technology and techniques from radio astronomy, including the Curtin University-led Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope, to locate and track satellites and space junk orbiting Earth.
A low-cost, deployable sensor system was developed with the support of the WA Defence Science Centre, and field tested at the Australian Automation and Robotics Precinct (AARP) at Neerabup: https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/collaborative-research-grant-space-domain-awareness-project.
Led by Associate Professor Randall Wayth, the project motivated and stimulated the development of a Western Australian manufacturing supply chain for critical components, demonstrating ICRAR’s support for local jobs and WA’s manufacturing industry.
This paved the way for a larger, fixed, and dedicated SDA facility to be built and operated in partnership with Nova Systems. Construction has commenced at Nova’s Peterborough site in Nova Systems’ Space Precinct in South Australia’s Mid North: https://www.novasystems.com/au/news/nova-systems-and-icrar-curtin-partner-on-new-space-domain-awareness-technology.
Directed Energy Effects
Funded by the Defence Science and Technology Group, the electromagnetic modelling and simulation group at ICRAR-Curtin investigates the effects of high-power radio frequency radiation on integrated circuits. This project supported the procurement and establishment of a specialised test facility at ICRAR-Curtin, which allows us to observe the effects that high power microwaves have on electronic devices and systems, and to measure the effectiveness of protection strategies against the sources which may be conducted or radiated.
Led by Dr Adrian Sutinjo, the team won Curtin University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering 2021 Research Team Award for Industry Engagement and Impact for helping to ensure the safety of sensitive defence technology.