ALMA2030: Development study to upgrade the ALMA digital electronics from digitization to correlation kicks off

Published: 27 May 2020

A new development study, led by the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, will examine solutions to upgrade the ALMA digitization system. This study follows one of the key recommendations of the ALMA Development Roadmap, which is to increase the instantaneous bandwidth of the observatory by a factor of two or more. Importantly, the precursor study by the Bordeaux group identified a new digitizer that can cover an instantaneous bandwidth of up to 20 GHz per sideband.  At the same time, these new devices would increase the quantization efficiency by more than 10%, increasing it to about 96 %, which would directly improve ALMA’s sensitivity. The performance of this digitizer will now be verified aiming at series production of around 100 devices. The study will also look into an upgrade of the optical transmission between antennas and correlator, which might in the future be located at the OSF building, as well as digital signal processing in order to cope with the higher data rates that will result from the upgrade.