The objective of APRICOT (All Purpose Radio Imaging Cameras on Telescopes) is to develop the capability to construct, and to maximise the impact of, large-format focal plane "radio cameras" for astronomical observations in the scientifically rich frequency range of 30-50 GHz. This region of the radio spectrum is poorly-explored, and is in the gap between the frequencies which will be covered by the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and ALMA. Single-telescope results can, however, be followed-up at higher resolution with current and upgraded interferometric arrays (e.g. the EVLA and mm-wave VLBI). The main technical objectives are to:

  1. develop the design and the sub-system technology for an all-purpose large-format (~100 pixels) focal-plane "radio cameras" for astronomical observations at 30-50 GHz. The partners have established the current state-of-the-art, and are ideally placed to develop very highly integrated systems with an order-of-magnitude more pixels. Europe is fortunate in having a suite of large radio telescopes that can exploit such cameras: the Effelsberg 100-m; the Sardinia Radio Telescope 64-m and the Yebes 40-m. Other telescopes, around the world, will also benefit enormously from the European technology base established in APRICOT. Integrated radio cameras, able to provide both polarisation-sensitive continuum and spectroscopic observations at the flick of a switch, will greatly increase the operational efficiency of the host telescope, and enable users to carry out hitherto impossibly large sky surveys.
  2. secure the availability of state-of-the-art Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMIC) devices from within Europe. Radio cameras will require many complex RF integrated circuits but a long-standing problem for European radio-astronomy is that the supply of low-noise MMICs is currently dominated by US companies, and hence subject to ITAR regulations. Establishing a European source of state-of-the-art, multi-function, MMICs is crucial for the future health of European radio astronomy, and has obvious spin-off potential into other arenas (e.g. space). The APRICOT team has the MMIC experience to develop this capability.

Once the technology base has been established within APRICOT, national will be requested for camera systems for specific telescopes.

The APRICOT PI is P. Wilkinson (UMAN)
peter [dot] wilkinson [at] manchester [dot] ac [dot] uk

More information can be found on the wiki page



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