Scientists developed high-performance low-cost antennas for Astronomy

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Rocío Molina researcher of the DAS
Millimeter Wave Laboratory of the
University of Chile

Daniel Montofré, researcher of the
Department of Electrical Engineering of the
University of Chile

The investigation was published in the last edition of the scientific magazine IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology and was developed by engineers and investigators from Universidad de Chile and University of Groningen (The Netherlands).

“We have designed antennas that fulfil the requirements to be used in future radio-astronomic receivers as the ones installed in ALMA”, explain Daniel Montofré, student of the double degree doctorate in Astronomical Instrumentation from Universidad de Chile and Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

“The devices would also be cheaper than the current technology, so they can be used commercially, as in mm-wave security cameras capable of seeing through some materials and high speed communication systems”, says Rocío Molina, engineer of the Milimeter-Wave Laboratory from the Astronomy Department of Universidad de Chile and investigator of the Center for Astrophysics and Associated Technologies CATA.

Antennas for the future

The design of such antennas took 14 months. Measurements were done at The Netherlands, including complex computational simulation, while construction was performed in Chile.

The project was based on Band 6 of the millimeter/submillimeter range (211-275 GHz), which is one of the most relevant bands of the radio interferometer ALMA. “By using this band, it has been obtained great images of the cosmos, as the first picture of a black hole. Moreover, our counterpart in The Netherlands is working in a new receiver for Band 6. We expect to see our antennas installed in such astronomical receivers”, conclude Montofré.

Coming back to the commercial topic, Rocío Molina indicates “At the laboratory we are convinced that innovation is the key and we aim to pursue it in every project. Today, potential applications could be security cameras but in the future, we hope to find more. It is just a matter of patience as we have the workforce”.

In order to see the original published investigation, please click in the following link.