Prototyping a groundplane for the Australian SKA Pathfinder

The Commonwealth Science Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) worked with industry to prototype a groundplane for maintaining a low and stable temperature for the ASKAP Phased Array Feed.

The Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) Phased Array Feed (PAF) creates 36 simultaneous beams to give greater resolution to radio images of the sky. PAF includes a requirement to maintain a low and stable temperature. This is crucial for system performance and reliability. A custom-designed groundplane has been developed to minimise temperature gradients and maintain predictable temperature uniformity across the highly sensitive electronics over the course of long observations.

Aavid Thermacore Europe is a world-leader in the field of passive thermal management systems. They specialise in the custom design, development and manufacture of highly-engineered components. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) engaged with Thermacore, via local agents JHC Specialised Solutions, to design and prototype the PAF groundplane. The groundplane features embedded heat pipes for thermal management. The pipes, designed by Thermacore, are based on a design developed and provided through CSIRO.

Steve Barker, project leader at CSIRO, recently visited from Sydney, Australia to present a plaque to staff at Aavid Thermacore Europe’s Ashington staff thanking them for their support with the ASKAP project. ‘Throughout their time working on the project, the staff at Aavid Thermacore continually went above and beyond to provide support and guidance to our engineers on-site in Australia. Their knowledge and expertise in thermal management has enabled us to progress with the project, so I am delighted to present them with a Recognition Award for all of their hard work.’

Read more

Read about Australia’s involvement in the SKA project.

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