Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) Event

STFC Knowledge Exchange Workshop

Venue: STFC Daresbury Laboratory Date: 20 March 2014

The STFC Innovations Club jointly ran this event with the UK CTA consortium to discuss current developments and future R&D needs in the key areas of CTA, the largest and most sensitive gamma-ray telescope in the world to be built on two sites, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the south.

Miquel Barcelo, CTA project engineer from CTA Project Office in Heidelberg, presenting on 'Engineering Requirements and Industrial Opportunities'.
(Credit: The Innovations Club Team)

The £130M CTA arrays will provide a deep insight into the non-thermal high-energy universe. CTA will comprise several tens of Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs) operated in array-mode and divided into three size classes: large, medium and small telescopes. The total reflective surface could be up to 10,000 m2 requiring unprecedented technological efforts. It is being planned and designed by an international collaboration of engineers, astronomers, physicists, industrialists and policy makers from 28 nations, and will operate as an open observatory supporting a wide astrophysics community.

CTA is currently in the preparatory design stage (2010-2014) and new technology and progress in fundamental engineering science are both required. These breakthroughs can only happen with the R&D collaboration of academic and industrial partners offering expertise in fields such as electronics, engineering and computing infrastructure.

Areas of particular relevance included:

  • Mechanical, electrical, civil and power engineering

  • Mechatronics (automation, servomechanics, sensing and control systems)

  • Optics (mirror structures, reflective surface, light concentrators)

  • Electronics (PCB manufacture & population, automated testing)

  • Electrical connectors

  • Flexible protective covers

  • Cooling systems

  • Photosensors

  • Computer infrastructure

This workshop aimed to pull together interest from both the academia and industry in order to facilitate knowledge exchange (KE) between STFC- funded researchers working on CTA and industry with a view to exploiting synergies between CTA research and industry.

The workshop further highlighted funding opportunities to support KE relationships around the CTA project as well as provide an opportunity to hear a general update on the status of CTA and the anticipated UK role in the project.


Dr Vlad Skarda, STFC or Prof Paula Chadwick

Cherenkov Telescope Array: Files for download

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000