Supervisors: G. Fuller (School of Physics & Astronomy), D. George (School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering)
Low noise amplifiers (LNAs) are critical components of receivers for radio
telescopes. They offer a number of important advantages over competing
technologies such as operating at 20K rather than 4K as well as being better
suited for use in large scale imaging array receivers. Recent advances in
technology have allowed the development of LNAs which operate at much higher
frequencies than previously possible.
The goal of this PhD project is to produce high performance, wide bandwidth,
LNAs at frequencies of up to 300 GHz, and beyond, for use in both single pixel
and array receivers on the worlds biggest telescopes. The project will build
on our recent work in designing and implementing a world-leading LNA for a new
receiver band on the ALMA telescope (www.almaobservatory.org), the world's
largest telescope operating at millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths.
There will also be opportunities to work on LNAs at lower frequencies for the
new generation radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA;
The project will involve collaborating with partners at CalTech/JPL, as well
as commercial companies, on the design, fabrication and testing of monolithic
microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) LNA noise amplifiers. This may involve a
placement at CalTech/JPL. There may also be the opportunity to work with new
novel materials such as graphene and related 2-D materials to produce
transistor for future, high performance generations of LNAs.
Depending on the skills and interest of the student, there may also be the
opportunity to improve our understanding of the performance of these devices
through studying the solid state physics of the device materials and
processing. In addition, there may be the opportunity to contribute to the
design, integration, testing and deployment of complete receiver systems for
operation on a range of radio telescopes.
Celestial Signals: Are Low-Noise Amplifiers the Future for Millimeter-Wave
Radio Astronomy Receivers? David Cuadrado-Calle; Danielle George; Brian
Ellison; Gary A. Fuller; Keiran Cleary, IEEE Microwave Magazine Year: 2017,
Volume: 18, Issue: 6 Pages: 90 - 99