Fourier phase analysis in radio-interferometry
LERMA – UMR 8112 du CNRS, LRA, École normale supérieure, 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France e-mail: email@example.com,$\!$ firstname.lastname@example.org
2 LERMA – UMR 8112 du CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, 61 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
Accepted: 2 June 2006
Most statistical tools used to characterize the complex structures of the interstellar medium can be related to the power spectrum, and therefore to the Fourier amplitudes of the observed fields. To tap into the vast amount of information contained in the Fourier phases, one may consider the probability distribution function (PDF) of phase increments, and the related concepts of phase entropy and phase structure quantity. We use these ideas here with the purpose of assessing the ability of radio-interferometers to detect and recover this information. By comparing current arrays such as the VLA and Plateau de Bure to the future ALMA instrument, we show that the latter is definitely needed to achieve significant detection of phase structure, and that it will do so even in the presence of a fair amount of atmospheric phase fluctuations. We also show that ALMA will be able to recover the actual “amount” of phase structure in the noise-free case, if multiple configurations are used.
Key words: instrumentation: interferometers / methods: statistical / methods: numerical / ISM: structure / turbulence
© ESO, 2006