First phase technical progress report




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IV. ALLIANCES




Indicate in no more than 4 pages which are the most valuable alliances of the Center with public /private, national/international partners. Describe what their advantages for the outcome of the Center have been or you expect to be in case of continuity of this project. Describe also whether initially well-aspected alliances have not resulted into expected development.







The newest and most valuable alliances of the CATA Center have been established in the areas of technological development, both with national and international partners.


The mm-wave laboratory, in the pursue of its main goal of constructing a receiver for Band 1 of ALMA, has established collaborations with several institutions around the world which are leaders in the manufacturing of different parts needed to build a receiver. Among the most important alliances we mention the following:


  • Collaboration with the University of Manchester in the design of low noise HEMT amplifiers

using advanced technologies.


  • Collaboration with the Mechanical Engineering Department at U. Chile to produce a dynamical simulation of the cartridge.




  • Collaboration with Centro Astronómico de Yebes in the construction of state-of-the art Q-Band LNAs based on MMICs; the novel plan consists of using a low-noise transistor in front of the MMIC. Also to accelerate our ability and produce a competitive and repeatable amplifier, we collaborate with Observatorio de Yebes, an important supplier of IF amplifiers to ALMA. A PhD student, with two years in our lab, is spending a semester there, with the goal of building an amplifier based on new technology developed recently by Fraunhoffer Institute.




  • International collaborations with the Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics (HIA Victoria) and with the Academia Sinica (ASIAA- Taipei), Taiwan have been established. A large interest has recently arisen from HIA and ASIAA, in developing Band 1. While HIA is pursuing the full process, ASIAA is oriented to the development of components, principally amplifiers. We have collaborated with them since 2008, including monthly VCs and annual meetings. Common development has successfully occurred with HIA in the receiver optics, horn and OMT. There is full and mutual exchange of information about receiver components and technological advances, with the spirit of presenting the construction proposal as a consortium. However, because of the yet undecided mechanisms for ALMA to procure the Band 1 receivers, it is not possible to plan this in detail at present. Therefore we should keep increasing our abilities to play a leading role and reinforce our participation in such consortium. In agreement with HIA and ASIAA, the document “Band 1 Cartridge Technical Specifications” was completed, including the definitions of the interfaces with other ALMA subsystems.

Our strengths, in relation to our collaborators, are that (a) we have already designed a complete system of the prototype cartridge, now under construction, and have the ability to assemble such prototype in-house; (b) we have completed the construction of the optics components, and are working in the second version of the lens; and (c) we have an ALMA compatible cryostat to test the receiver cartridge. Our weaknesses are (a) the lack of a more practical cryogenic set-up to test components, specifically the amplifier; (b) the lack of a spectrum analyzer for testing the final receiver; and (c) the lack of a probe station to mount and test the individual amplifiers. The first item is planned to be built in 2012; for the last two, we requested, at the end of last year, the needed equipment to the FONDEQUIP program and got the proposal approved.


The High Performance Computing Lab (HPCL) was born with CATA funds in alliance with the Center for Astro-Engineering (AIUC) of Pontificia Universidad Catolica. The HPCL is located within a new building hosting the AIUC and the HPCL was finished in February of 2010. Advancing the HPCL means expanding the knowledge in the Computer Science area. Regarding this CATA was able to negotiate with the School of Engineering of PUC, where a new position in the Computer Sciences Department was opened to carry out research in astrophysics with Geryon.




V. PARTICIPATION OF COUNTERPART FUNDS

Considering that the Center functions with Basal Funds as well as other sources, please, indicate briefly how the overall performance of the Center (and not only the Development Plan of this particular project) lies on different sources of funds, public or private, national and international. For example, is student training something that may be funded better by another source than this? Does the private sector contribute to the development of particular activities of the Center? Are different fund sources necessary to finance certain activities since those funds in isolation are not enough?



The main partners to operate CATA are the three associated universities: Universidad de Chile, Pontificia Universidad Católica and Universidad de Concepción. They provide most of the infrastructure where the CATA activities take place and share operational costs and salaries of researchers, support personnel and students. There is a strong symbiosis between the Universities and CATA. Without CATA, astronomical development at the Universities would have been minimal. Without the Universities, CATA would have had much less impact in its scientific output and in the technological development.


In addition to the contributions from the host institutions, CATA members have accreted important resources from competitive national funds (Fondecyt projects and Milenium Nucleus) as well as from international astronomy funds (ALMA, GEMINI and ESO). The national funds are mainly devoted to travel support, to the renewal of computer equipment and to pay page charges. The extent that these resources cover the actual need in these items is variable and depends on each project, but often CATA has to contribute towards the same objectives because their funds are not enough. With respect to the competitive international funds an important fraction of the granted resources have been devoted to buy new equipment very much needed at the CATA laboratories in order to achieve the goals in the technology areas.
The activities undertaken by CATA have established the fertile ground for its scientific personnel to successfully apply to other sources of funds that enhances the objectives of the Center but their contribution to the running of the Center is limited. All of the above mentioned funds, including the contribution from the host universities, are tied to a particular purpose and cannot be use in other ways. Basal funds are thus not only crucial in providing a large fraction of the needed resources but also are important to run the Center with the flexibility necessary to move in the best direction to achieve our final goals.


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