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A Wide-Bandwidth Digital Recording System for Radio Pulsar Astronomy

Unwin, S. and Cook, W. R. and Jenet, R. and Prince, Thomas A. (1997) A Wide-Bandwidth Digital Recording System for Radio Pulsar Astronomy. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 109 (6). pp. 707-718. ISSN 0004-6280.

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The study of radio pulsars at the highest time resolution is currently limited by the capability of the signal detection system to accept a wide-bandwidth signal, and to sample the data rapidly enough. We describe a new instrument for pulsar research which utilizes baseband recording at 400 Mbit s - t to achieve both a high bandwidth and a high sustained data rate. The wide bandwidth digital recording (WBDR)system is based on a custom analog/digital VLSI digitizer operating at 50 MHz, and a commercial digital cassette tape recorder. Signal analysis is performed entirely in software, using a massively parallel computer. Since we record a representation of the electric vector of the pulsar emission, the instrument is very flexible, and the data can be analyzed in several modes in software. We can synthesize the software equivalent of a conventional hardware filterbank, and we have implemented a "coherent dedispersion" algorithm, which yields a sample time of 10 ns. The combination of a wide bandwidth and sustained data rate make this instrument a unique and powerful tool for pulsar astronomy. Our instrument is particularly well-suited to searches for millisecond pulsars at low frequency, in directions where pulsed signals are strongly dispersed by the interstellar medium. We present results based on dual-polarization test observations in a 600::':: 25 MHz band at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory 40-m Telescope.

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Prince, Thomas A.0000-0002-8850-3627
Additional Information:© Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System. Received 1996 November 12; accepted 1997 February 21. We are grateful to Stuart Anderson and Vicky Kaspi for their help in implementing the coherent dedispersion algorithm, and comments on the text. John Yamasaki, Derrick Key, Mark Hodges, and Russ Keeney helped with hardware construction. We thank Shri Kulkami, José Navarro, and Jagmit Sandhu for many stimulating discussions. Datatape Inc., provided advice and engineering support throughout the development of this system. This work was supported by the NSF under Grant Nos. AST 90-20787 and ASC 93-18145
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFAST 90-20787
NSFASC 93-18145
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Space Radiation Laboratory1997-59
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141203-163253041
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52362
Deposited By: Deborah Miles
Deposited On:08 Dec 2014 03:24
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 07:41

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