Vol 13, No 12 (2013) / Yang

Conceptual design studies of the 5 m terahertz antenna for Dome A, Antarctica

Ji Yang, Ying-Xi Zuo, Zheng Lou, Jing-Quan Cheng, Qi-Zhou Zhang, Sheng-Cai Shi, Jia-Sheng Huang, Qi-Jun Yao, Zhong Wang


As the highest, coldest and driest place in Antarctica, Dome A provides exceptionally good observing conditions for ground-based observations over terahertz wavebands. The 5 m Dome A Terahertz Explorer (DATE5) has been proposed to explore new terahertz windows, primarily over wavelengths between 350 and 200 μm. DATE5 will be an open-air, fully-steerable telescope that can function by unmanned operation with remote control. The telescope will be able to endure the harsh polar environment, including high altitude, very low temperature and very low air pressure. The unique specifications, including high accuracies for surface shape and pointing and fully automatic year-around remote operation, along with a stringent limit on the periods of on-site assembly, testing and maintenance, bring a number of challenges to the design, construction, assembly and operation of this telescope. This paper introduces general concepts related to the design of the DATE5 antenna. Beginning from an overview of the environmental and operational limitations, the design specifications and requirements of the DATE5 antenna are listed. From these, major aspects on the conceptual design studies, including the antenna optics, the backup structure, the panels, the subreflector, the mounting and the antenna base structure, are explained. Some critical issues of performance are justified through analyses that use computational fluid dynamics, thermal analysis and de-icing studies, and the proposed approaches for test operation and on-site assembly. Based on these studies, we conclude that the specifications of the DATE5 antenna can generally be met by using enhanced technological approaches.


Dome A, Antarctica — antennas — astronomy — telescopes — terahertz

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