Design of a low-cost high speed data capture card for the Hubble Sphere Hydrogen Survey

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis describes the design and implementation of a low-cost high speed data capture card for the Hubble Sphere Hydrogen Survey (HSHS). The Hubble Space Hydrogen Survey was initiated in an effort to build a low-cost cylindrical radio telescope for an all sky redshift survey with the observational goal to produce a 3-dimensional mapping of the bulk Hubble Sphere using Hydrogen 21cm emissions. This dissertation ï¬ rst investigates the system design to see how each of the user speciï¬ cations set by the planning team could be achieved in terms of design decisions, component selection and schematic capture. The final design. AstroGIG, satisï¬ es the user speciï¬ cations by capturing data up to a full power bandwidth of 1.7GHz with an instantaneous bandwidth of ≤ 250MHz white maximizing the dynamic range. AstroGIG buffers, processes, stores and ï¬ nally transmits the data through a 4-lane PCI-Express interface to a standard PC where the majority of the processing is performed. The system implementation is then described where issues relating to the process of transforming schematics into a physical PCB, and HSHS integration are discussed. The design is veriï¬ ed through Hyperlynx simulations to give a high degree of certainty that physical implementation and production would be successful. Results from tests on the actual hardware characterizing the overall system performance are presented. Conclusions are drawn based on these results and suggestions for future work and design improvements are recommended.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 101-105).