Over the past months, there has been intense work for the LOFAR4SW team in the different partner institutes. In particular, WP5: Hardware design - led by ASTRON and in collaboration with Paris Observatory, Nançay group – completed the production of the hardware components to build an HBA dual beam tile. These include: the HBA frontend, HBA beamformer boards, RF summation board and power distribution boards (the summation and power distribution boards are modifications to the current LOFAR boards).
All the building blocks for a new HBA tile were assembled and verified in laboratory conditions. The tests performed on power, RF, control, show a good performance of the hardware and to be overall compliant with the requirements.
This is a major step towards the completion of the LOFAR4SW design, which ultimate goal is to deliver the full conceptual and technical design for creating a new leading-edge European research facility for space weather science. The new HBA tile will be capable of producing two beams, to allow parallel astronomy and space weather observations.
Currently, ¼ of a dual beam tile is assembled in the Dwingeloo test field and it’s producing spectra with 2 beams. In the coming weeks the full tile will be assembled, to study the behavior under real environmental conditions.
Credits go to the team at ASTRON: Mark Ruiter, Paulus Kruger, Jeroen Herrewijnen, Albert van Duin, Gerda Sikken and Nancay: Sangitana Rokotozafy Harison, Severin Barth, Bruno Da Silva, and Stephane Bosse.
The full LOFAR4SW design - that encompasses, science use cases, architecture, hardware, software, operations and governance model - will be assessed at the critical design review in a few weeks from now (21-23 September 2021).
LOFAR4SW is funded by the European Commission under grant agreement 777442 and will run until February 2022.