EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 485, Number 2, July II 2008
Page(s) 615 - 622
Section Astronomical instrumentation
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200809396
Published online 22 April 2008

A&A 485, 615-622 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200809396

A new signal processing platform for radio astronomy

A. W. Hotan

School of Maths and Physics, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 21, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
    e-mail: ahotan@utas.edu.au

Received 15 January 2008 / Accepted 7 April 2008

Context. We describe the concept, construction, and testing of TasPGA, a new, versatile digital signal processing device designed for radio astronomy applications.
Aims. A minimalist design philosophy was used to develop a general-purpose radio astronomy instrument based on field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology. The design emphasises reliability and flexibility, facilitating the rapid development of new FPGA firmware for a wide range of experiments.
Methods. Hardware and firmware for TasPGA were designed using software provided by Altium Ltd. and Xilinx Inc. We tested the instrument by implementing a Fourier transform spectrometer capable of dividing 100 MHz of bandwidth into 16 384 channels.
Results. We present data taken with a TasPGA spectrometer at the Mt. Pleasant radio observatory, including the spectra of two astronomical methanol masers.

Key words: instrumentation: miscellaneous -- instrumentation: spectrographs -- techniques: miscellaneous

© ESO 2008