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An introduction to interferometry. For engineers and scientists.

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**Chin-Fei Lee Taiwan ALMA Regional Center (ARC) Node at ASIAA
**

cflee@asiaa.sinica.edu.tw

Introduction to Interferometry – p. 1/21 —

Single Antenna

The Receiving Power has an Airy Diffraction pattern!

Note the mainlobe, sidelobes and backlobes of the power pattern. The FWHM of the mainlobe of the power pattern is (D: the diameter of the antenna aperture) λ λ c rad ∼ 58.4◦ with λ = D D ν This FWHM is the angular resolution of your map, when scanning over the sky with this antenna! λ To be strict, use 1.22 D , the ﬁrst null, for the resolution! What about ALMA antenna 12 m in diameter at 100 GHz? (1 radian ≈ 206265 arcsec). FWHM = 1.02

Introduction to Interferometry – p. 2/21 —

Introduction to Interferometry – p.Angular Resolution Angular resolution: it is the smallest angular separation which two point sources can have in order to be recognized as separate objects. 3/21 — .

Introduction to Interferometry – p. 4/21 — .The Quest for Angular Resolution Angular resolution: it is the smallest angular separation which two point sources can have in order to be recognized as separate objects.

however. building a bigger telescope? This trivial solution. too low for modern astronomy!! (Note 1 radian ≈ 206265 arcsec)..6 arcsecond at 100 GHz (λ = 3mm).e. e.g.11. ∼ 20.11.g..15 (Right) 1988.The Quest for Angular Resolution Angular resolution of a single antenna is θ ∼ λ/D The 30-meter aperture of a e. How about increasing D i. is not practical. 1" resolution at λ = 3 mm requires a 600 m aperture!! Larger for longer wavelength!! Green Bank Telescope (100 m) (Left) 1988.16 Introduction to Interferometry – p. 5/21 — ..g. e.. IRAM antenna provides a resolution.

Very Large Array. baseline ∼ 1 km)! Introduction to Interferometry – p. replacing a single large telescope by a collection of small telescope “ﬁlling" the large one! Technically difﬁcult but feasible. Martin Ryle (Univ.Aperture synthesis Aperture synthesis: synthesizing the equivalent aperture through combinations of elements.e.. of Cambridge) earned a Nobel Prize for his contributions. i. ⇒ Interferometers!! This method was developed in the 1950s in England and Australia. each with a 25 meter in diameter! Now θ ∼ λ/D ∼ 1 arcsec at 45 GHz with D being the Array size (max. 6/21 — .

Introduction to Interferometry – p. Also the slit width a ≪ λ.Young’s Double-Slit Experiment The classic experiment of interference effects in light waves in OPTICAL: Here assume a Monochromatic source and the rays are in phase when they pass through the slits. so that the slits behave essentially like point sources. 7/21 — .

I1 = E1 with x = k(r2 − r1 ) = 2 1 2 2 2 λ Thus I (x) = 4I for constructive interference (bright spots) and I (x) = 0 for destructive interference (dark spots) ==> fringe. I = E 2 .. resolution) ∼ λ/(b cos θ) Introduction to Interferometry – p. ±2. 8/21 — . Here k = 2 and ω = 2πν . Fringe separation (i. and I = I = I . The condition for constructive interference at the screen is b sin θ = mλ. and thus the total E = E(1) + E(2) .e... . m = 0. ±1. λ Obtained image of interference: (time averaged) fringes p πb sin θ ∗ ) I (x) = E · E = I1 + I2 + 2 I1 I2 cos(x) = 4I cos2 ( λ π 2 . let’s have E(1) = E1 ei(kr1 −wt) and E(2) = E2 ei(kr2 −wt) from the two Young’s π slits. b sin θ (as r2 − r1 = b sin θ).Young’s Double-Slit Experiment At the screen.

.For a point source What if the slit width is a ≫ λ? Each slit has a Airy diffraction pattern. 9/21 — . a sin θ ) λ Then combining the effect of the slit width. we have for a point source: Pn (θ) = sinc2 ( a a sin θ πb sin θ I (θ) = ( )2 sinc2 ( ) · 4I cos2 ( ) λ λ λ Here b = 5a and we only show the pattern inside the main lobe of the Airy pattern. Introduction to Interferometry – p. ie.

It is 1 for a coherent source and 0 for not. i h p Imax − Imin 2 a sin θ I (x) ∝ sinc ( with |C | = ) I1 + I2 + 2 I1 I2 |C | cos(x) λ Imax + Imin Here |C | a. 10/21 — .a fringe visibility measured in optical interferometry. Here. Introduction to Interferometry – p. then the fringes will disappear. Fringes disappear! ⇒ Fringe contrast is linked to the spatial properties of the source. the coherency is lost as the source size increases. a measure of coherency.k. due to the superposition of waves from different (assumed to be incoherent) part of the source.Effect of Source Size Effect of increasing source size: If the source hole size increases to λ/b.

11/21 — . higher fringe freq..Effect of separation Effect of increasing b: The source is a uniform disk Constructive and destructive interferences! The Visibility is a Fourier Transform of the source! Measure visibility at different b ⇒ source sizes! Larger b. sensitive to smaller scale! What about the source is a point source? Introduction to Interferometry – p.

Radio Interferometer Elementary interferometer. 12/21 — . The arrow indicates the rotation of the earth. An interferometer of n antennas has 2 Introduction to Interferometry – p. Here antennas ⇒ Young’s slits! n(n−1) unique pairs of these two-antenna interferometer.

13/21 — . changing with earth rotation. changes as the earth rotates. Introduction to Interferometry – p.Radio Interferometer D: baseline length θ: angle of the pointing direction from the zenith. τg : geometrical delay = D c sin θ The wavefront from the source in direction θ is essentially planar because of great distance traveled. D cos θ. and it reaches the right-hand antenna at a time τg before it reaches the left-hand one: Right: E cos(2πν (t − τg )) Left: E cos(2πνt) The projected length of the baseline on the sky.

14/21 — . 30 sec integration time for each scan in a SMA observation. Correlator: Multiplier + Integrator Output: Fringe Visibility Multiplier: Multiply the signals from the two antennas. e.Radio Interferometer τg : Geometrical time delay τi : Instrumental time delay X: Bandpass ampliﬁers. ⇒ Signals are combined by pairs! Integrator: Time Averaging Circuit.g.. Introduction to Interferometry – p.

Radio Interferometer without τi Without any instrumental delay. Here. Introduction to Interferometry – p. With time-averaging c c dt integrator. 15/21 — . the output of the multiplier is proportional to F = 2 cos[2πνt] cos[2πν (t − τg )] = cos(2πντg ) + cos(4πνt − 2πντg ) g with τg = D sin θ. Polar plot of the fringe function r with D/λ = 3. the more rapidly varying term in F is easily ﬁltered out leaving Z T 2πDξ 1 ) with ξ = sin θ F dt = cos(2πντg ) = cos( r≡ T 0 λ dτ For sidereal sources the variation of θ with time as the earth rotates generates quasi-sinusoidal fringes at the correlator due to the variation of τg . ⇒ Need Fringe stopping by introducing τi . dt = D cos θ dθ ≪ 1. due to earth rotation.

16/21 — r = cos{2πν [ . Then with τg = D c sin(θ0 + θ′ ). where θ′ is very small. then the response in the output of the correlator is r = cos(2πντ ) with τ = τg − τi Now let θ0 be the pointing center (i.Radio Interferometer with τi Introducing a delay τi with extra cable. Consider a point source at position θs = θ0 + θ′ . the response of the point source is D D sin(θ0 + θ′ ) − τi ]} = cos{2πν [ (sin θ0 cos θ′ + cos θ0 sin θ′ ) − τi ]} c c Introduction to Interferometry – p.e. pointing direction) of the antenna.

absolute position ⇒ relative position and the fringe pattern is attached to the pointing center. The resolution is then given by 1/u. we have the response of the correlator (for small θ′ . Introduction to Interferometry – p. since u changes with the earth rotation. i. we have cos θ′ ≈ 1): r ≈ cos{2πν [ D (sin θ0 + cos θ0 sin θ′ ) − τi ]} c Setting τi = τg (θ0 ) = (D/c) sin θ0 . Also.e. 17/21 — .Radio Interferometer with τi From the previous slide. then θ ⇒ θ′ . Here u can be considered as a spatial frequency of the fringe deﬁned by the projected baseline in the unit of λ. we can map the source at different u if the antennas track the source during observation. then the response is also a sinusoidal fringe pattern: r = cos(2πν but with ξ ′ = sin θ′ ≈ θ′ = θs − θ0 and u= D cos θ0 Dν cos θ0 = c λ D cos θ0 sin θ′ ) ≡ cos(2πuξ ′ ) c Introducing τi .

Introduction to Interferometry – p.e. 18/21 — . the ﬁeld of view) of the antenna.Interferometer The power reception pattern of an interferometer is the antenna reception power pattern (A1 ) multiplied by the correlator fringe pattern r: ri (u.. θ) = cos[2πu(θ − θ0 )]A1 (θ − θ0 ) A1 is now called the primary beam pattern (i.

So. we can deﬁne ξ ′ = θs − θ0 and B1 (θs ) → B (ξ ′ ).Visibility function For an extended source of brightness B1 (θs ). R(u. < 10 arcmin). the output power of the interferometer is R(u. 19/21 — . θ0 ) → R(u) = △ν Z B (ξ ′ ) cos(2πuξ ′ )A1 (ξ ′ )dξ ′ source ==> Fourier Transform of the source brightness distribution! => Visibility! Introduction to Interferometry – p.e. θ0 ) ∝ △ν Z B1 (θs ) cos[2πu(θs − θ0 )]A1 (θs − θ0 )dθs source Since the antennas always track the source and the ﬁeld of view is small (i..

Example: SMA Submillimeter Array: Number of antennas: n = 8. number of unique baselines (distance between pairs of antennas): n(n − 1)/2 = 28. How about ALMA. which has 16 antennas in the Early Science phase. 20/21 — . and 50 antennas in the full operation mode? Introduction to Interferometry – p.

Example: SMA HH 211 Jet ==> Resolution given by the synthesized beam ﬁtted to the main lobe of the dirty beam (∼ 1/umax ) ==> Source image given by inverse Fourier Transform of the Visibility (Next Lecture) Introduction to Interferometry – p. 21/21 — .

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