Dola Saha, Aveek Dutta and Gregory Hellbourg


This project investigates use of a reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS) installed near a radio telescope to help mitigate radio frequency interference (RFI) from other users of the electromagnetic spectrum. The RIS reflects incoming RFI signals towards the telescope in such a way that the reflected RFI cancels out the direct RFI when the two signals combine in the telescope receiver. Better capability to observe in commercial wireless bands and in other bands with active usage, not just in bands reserved for science, will enhance the fidelity of astronomical measurements. Also, the formerly remote locations where radio telescopes were built are experiencing ongoing increases in population density, increased numbers of low earth orbiting satellites, and other effects that increase RFI over time. Improving the ability to remove RFI from astronomical observations helps preserve the value of the investment in these expensive instruments and helps ensure their continued scientific capability. The platform and tools developed in this project will be incorporated into graduate and undergraduate courses at UAlbany as well as a summer school at OVRO. Wireless signals and other datasets captured from the testbed will be made available to the larger community to foster practical research in this field.