Friday, December 21, 2007

Intel Founder Funds Thirty-Meter Telescope Project

Gordon Moore of Intel recently announced a donation to CalTech to fund the world’s largest telescope. At 30 meters across it will be larger than the world’s current record holder although other, larger telescopes are in the works. Gordon Moore’s foundation donated $200M for the design. It’ll be an optical telescope with a central mirror consisting of 492-hexagon shaped mirrors – each just under 5 feet across.

You can view an animation of the telescope. It was formerly called the California Extremely Large Telescope but changed its name when institutions outside California joined the effort. The primary control system corrects the optics for temperature, gravity, and wind disturbances. The primary mirror control system uses 1476 actuators and 2772 sensors. The Mount control system controls the elevation and azimuth axes.

The GSMT—Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope project seeks to support extremely large telescope operations by sharing information and researching various ELT concepts. Here’s a list of unique approaches to the large telescope application including the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Best regards,
Hall T.

Friday, December 14, 2007

LANSCE-R. Refurbishment Project—Upgrading to a New Generation of Computation

The LANSCE-R (Los Alamos Neutron Science Center) project is an accelerator at the Los Alamos laboratory that can accelerate proton particles up to 84% the speed of light. The main purpose of their project is for materials research in the nuclear area.

Research at site focuses on civilian and defense applications including neutron source generation and proton radiography for studying dynamic properties of shocked materials, and production of medical radioisotopes.

LANSCE-R is currently refurbishing its LLRF (Low Level Radio Frequency) system which is a software defined radio application based on FPGA technology.

LANSCE-R is also upgrading its 30+ year old LINAC control systems. They plan to use EPICS (Experimental Physics and Control System) control systems as the core technology. Because their current control system is over 30 years old, the MicroVAXes and other computer systems will need to be replaced.

Additionally, the refurbishment will replace the old Master Timing system with a new one based on the Micr0-Research Finland system which uses a 2.5 GHz Ethernet technology that increases resolution of timing signals from 1 microsecond to 10 nanoseconds.

Best regards,
Hall T.

Friday, December 07, 2007

UKAEA Fusion Experiments—MAST Project

The UKAEA recently launched a request for tenders to upgrade their Fusion experiment. The project called “Mast” explores the use of the ‘spherical Tokamak’ for fusion testing. MAST stands for Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak. Traditional tokamaks have a ring or doughnut shape while the spherical tokamak looks more like a cored-apple. The new design costs less to build and is easier to control by a factor of 10. The new design is based on the START (Small Tight Aspect Ratio Tokamak) project which proved the viability of the concept. Current work on MAST focuses on understanding the performance characteristics of the spherical Tokamak.

Best regards,
Hall T.