Measurement of antenna surfaces from in- and out-of-focus beam maps using astronomical sources
Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge CB3 OHE, UK e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 4 January 2007
We present a technique for the accurate estimation of large-scale errors in an antenna surface using astronomical sources and detectors. The technique requires several out-of-focus images of a compact source and the signal-to-noise ratio needs to be good but not unreasonably high. For a given pattern of surface errors, the expected form of such images can be calculated directly. We show that it is possible to solve the inverse problem of finding the surface errors from the images in a stable manner using standard numerical techniques. To do this we describe the surface error as a linear combination of a suitable set of basis functions (we use Zernike polynomials). We present simulations illustrating the technique and in particular we investigate the effects of receiver noise and pointing errors. Measurements of the 15-m James Clerk Maxwell telescope made using this technique are presented as an example. The key result is that good measurements of errors on large spatial scales can be obtained if the input images have a signal-to-noise ratio of order 100 or more. The important advantage of this technique over transmitter-based holography is that it allows measurements at arbitrary elevation angles, so allowing one to characterise the large scale deformations in an antenna as a function of elevation.
Key words: telescopes
© ESO, 2007