The Centre for Space and Gravity Research has expertise in the design of scientific instrumentation for ground based and space based experiments, and includes facilities for production and design qualification. The group has a demonstrated capability in the design, test and fabrication of flight instruments to the highest performance levels required for space. Recent developments include control and data processors, instrument structures, interferometer readout systems, data acquisition and control systems, data processing and analysis software.

Recent Projects

LISA Pathfinder Phasemeter unit (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna)

Design, build and qualification of the FM readout electronics system for the 32 channel heterodyning interferometer within the Optical Metrology system on LISA Pathfinder.

Inverse Square Law Experiment

Design, build and test of 3 electronics systems and control software to

  1. Capacitively sense separation and alignment,
  2. Provide multi channel programmable currents for driving superconducting heat switches, annealing heaters, and superconducting coils.
  3. Provide multi channel programmable low noise bipolar control currents (to 20 bit resolution) to allow operation of the experiment under closed loop control.

EUCLID Electronics unit (Easy to Use Compact Laser Interferometric Device)

Development of readout electronics for a homodyne interferometer system, intended for both commercial and space applications. The unit incorporates analogue front end, all necessary data processing, and laser current and temperature control.

Advanced LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory)

Design, build and test of Optical Sensor and Electromagnetic Actuator (OSEM) units and Suspension control electronics for the refurbishment of the LIGO gravitational wave observatory. Approximately 750 OSEM units and 1000 control electronics channels have been produced and shipped to the LIGO sites.

STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory)

In collaboration with Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, build, test and qualification of FM imaging electronics systems, and design, build and qualification of the composite structure, baffles and door release mechanisms for the Heliospheric Imager (HI) system

SMEI (Solar Mass Ejection Imager)

Build and qualification of the FM data handling unit for SMEI , build and qualification of the 3 FM imaging systems including CCD and cooling system, optics and shutter, door release and light baffle, and data handling system.

Examples of this project work may be found here

Design and Development Facilities

To carry out the work, the group has electronics computer aided design facilities for PCB design, simulation, FPGA design, software development and mathematical modelling and analysis. The group has a large electronics laboratory for general design prototyping and test work. It is equipped with a broad range of general purpose and precision test and measurement equipment.

Group Design Capabilities - Electronics