The objective of the research fellowship project FLARES is the study, analysis, design, development and experimentally characterization of millimeter-wave system-on-chip radiometers for space-based detection of solar flares. This approach will contribute to reduce significantly the power consumption and weight with respect to the existing instruments for the observation and study of solar flares. The choice of the operating frequency of 35 GHz is due to the following three reasons. First, a miniaturized SoC instrument can be realized with present microelectronic technologies, which are now mature for this region of spectrum. Second, assuming a space-based operation of this instrument, an unprecedented sensitivity limit can be achieved, allowing for the detection of weak events non detectable with the existing observation instruments. Third, this approach will meet the low cost, low power consumption constraints approach required by LEO satellites. It is worth mentioning that the same methodology developed in this project could be then applied to the 90-100 GHz band as soon as space-qualified silicon technologies will be available in the next years for that region of spectrum.
This is the first time that the level of integration proposed by FLARES will be achieved. The published receivers do not integrate the digital section, thus they don’t allow for the application of the radiometer to a real world scenario. In particular the video amplifier and ADC sections have never been included in a SoC radiometer. These sections will allow for the first time, a complete and accurate calibration of the instrument. Moreover, it is the first time that a space qualified technology will be used to implement a complete SoC radiometer.
The dramatic weight reduction that will follow from the FLARES developed instrument, will have a very high impact for the future nanosatellites mission devoted to the study of the Sun.
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