Research objectives and content
I propose to develop a flexible and affordable system for the observation of radio pulsars based on the technique of coherent dispersion removal. This method will circumvent the most serious difficulties in the systems currently in use, and will enable the measurement of the fundamental data used in pulsar timing applications with greater precision than possible hereto.
Coherent dispersion removal requires massive amounts of computation. In my design this will be performed in software, requiring the recording of large amounts of data, rather than by building specialized digital signal processing equipment.
I will use this system at Jodrell Bank to make much improved observations of millisecond pulsars, extending their applications in such areas as the study gravitation, the interstellar medium, and the stability of atomic clocks. Eventually, similar data acquisition systems may be adapted for use at other European Observatories.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
In carrying out this project I expect to benefit from specific training at NRAL in the areas of designing and building digital electronic circuitry, and of writing extremely efficient software, in particular for the purposes of signal processing. Once the proposed data acquisition system is operational it will enable me to continue my training in basic research in the field of astrophysics.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)