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24 September 2012 Performance highlights of the ALMA correlators
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Abstract
Two large correlators have been constructed to combine the signals captured by the ALMA antennas deployed on the Atacama Desert in Chile at an elevation of 5050 meters. The Baseline correlator was fabricated by a NRAO/European team to process up to 64 antennas for 16 GHz bandwidth in two polarizations and another correlator, the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) correlator, was fabricated by a Japanese team to process up to 16 antennas. Both correlators meet the same specifications except for the number of processed antennas. The main architectural differences between these two large machines will be underlined. Selected features of the Baseline and ACA correlators as well as the main technical challenges met by the designers will be briefly discussed. The Baseline correlator is the largest correlator ever built for radio astronomy. Its digital hybrid architecture provides a wide variety of observing modes including the ability to divide each input baseband into 32 frequency-mobile sub-bands for high spectral resolution and to be operated as a conventional 'lag' correlator for high time resolution. The various observing modes offered by the ALMA correlators to the science community for 'Early Science' are presented, as well as future observing modes. Coherently phasing the array to provide VLBI maps of extremely compact sources is another feature of the ALMA correlators. Finally, the status and availability of these large machines will be presented.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Alain Baudry, Richard Lacasse, Ray Escoffier, John Webber, Joseph Greenberg, Laurence Platt, Robert Treacy, Alejandro F. Saez, Philippe Cais, Giovanni Comoretto, Benjamin Quertier, Sachiko K. Okumura, Takeshi Kamazaki, Yoshihiro Chikada, Manabu Watanabe, Takeshi Okuda, Yasutake Kurono, and Satoru Iguchi "Performance highlights of the ALMA correlators", Proc. SPIE 8452, Millimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy VI, 845217 (24 September 2012); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.925700
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