Our Research

Projects and Facilities

We are currently involved in a number of projects and facilities:

Gary Fuller
Simon Garrington
Lovell Telescope
Richard Davis
Richard Davis
Bruno Maffei
Peter Wilkinson
Ian Browne
Bruno Maffei
Clive Dickinson
Bruno Maffei
Ian Browne
Giampaolo Pisano
Lunar Telescope
Lucio Piccirillo
Peter Wilkinson
Neal Jackson
Lucio Piccirillo
Lucio Piccirillo
Ben Stappers


 [ ALMA ]

ALMA Regional Centre (ARC)
JBCA hosts the UK ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) Node which provides support for UK and other European astronomers using ALMA. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, is the largest astronomical project in existence. ALMA is composed initially of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile. It is designed to operate at wavelengths from 7mm to 0.35mm, studying the cool dust and gas associated planets, stars and galaxies.

ALMA Development: The Science and Technical Case for ALMA Band 2
Funded by the ESO ALMA Development Project, we are developing the science and technical cases for receivers for ALMA Band 2 which covers the frequency range from 65 GHz to 90 GHz. This includes studying the feasibility of combining Band 2 and Band 3 (86 GHz to 116 GHz) in to a single receiver system. The work is being carried out in a JBCA-lead collaboration between Manchester (JBCA and the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering), STFC RAL, IRAM in France and INAF in Italy.

Manchester staff: Gary Fuller (PI), Danielle George (LNA development), Tom Muxlow (ARC Node manager) Adam Avison, George Bendo, Anita Richards (Support scientists), Jorge Pineda (ESO Cofund Fellow)
External partners: Cambridge, Edinburgh, RAL


 [ imaging array ]

The project ArTeMis is an ESO PI project to deliver a large submillimeter bolometer camera for the 12m APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment) telescope. The instrument lead by CEA-Saclay (France) is based on bolometer arrays developed for the Herschel PACS photometer. A prototype instrument, P-ArTeMis containing a 16x16 bolometer array at 450micron, had its first light in March 2007 and has already produced scientific results. The full instrument will have 3 spectral bands (at 200, 350 and 450um) and 4 sub-arrays (giving 1024 pixels) per channel. This instrument is planned to be commissioned on-site by mid-2013.

JBCA is providing optical simulations for the instrument and a number of quasi-optical components (the window of the dewar, spectral filters and dichroics).

Manchester staff: B. Maffei, G. Pisano, V. Haynes, G. Fuller

APRICOT: All Purpose Radio Imaging Cameras On Telescopes

This is a Manchester-lead program funded under FP6 RadioNet. The objective is to develop the capability to construct, and to maximise the impact of multi-pixel spectropolarimetruc focal-plane "radio cameras" for astronomical observations in the scientifically rich frequency range of 30-50 GHz. This region of the radio spectrum is poorly-explored, and is in the gap between the frequencies which will be covered by the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and ALMA. Single-telescope results can, however, be followed-up at higher resolution with current and upgraded interferometric arrays (e.g. the EVLA and mm-wave VLBI).

Manchester staff: Peter Wilkinson (PI), Giampaolo Pisano (development of high accuracy polariser), Mo Missous (development of transistor with noise performance closer to the quantum limit)

External partners: MPIfR Bonn, Germay INAF-IRA Bologna, Italy University Mikolaya Kopernika Torun, Poland FG-IGN Yebes ,Spain University of Rome (Tor Vergata), Italy U of Manchester, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


A Manchester-lead project to measure the integrated hydrogen line emission from the neutral gas in distant galaxies. This can be used as a tracer of the matter distribution and power spectrum of this emission will show Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO) and the scale of these can be used to constrain the properties of dark energy. The aim is to build a fixed 60m telescope equipped with around 40 correlation receiver modules which will enable it to map a 10 degree declination strip of sky covering the redshift range from 0.2 to 0.45.

Manchester staff: Ian Browne (PI) Richard Battye, Michael Brown, Richard Davis, Peter Dewdney, Clive Dickinson, Bruno Maffei, Shude Mao, Lucio Piccirillo, Peter Wilkinson



The C-Band All-Sky Survey (C-BASS) is an all-sky survey at 5 GHz in intensity and polarization at 0.85 deg resolution, using two radio telescopes in the US and in South Africa. The survey will be used for CMB component separation and for understanding Galactic foregrounds, including magnetic field studies. Manchester has constructed one of the two receivers and the LNAs.

Manchester staff : Clive Dickinson (Manchester PI), Paddy Leahy, Richard Davis, Melis Irfan (PhD student)

External partners: U. Oxford, Caltech/JPL, U. Rhodes (South Africa), KACST (Saudi Arabia).


 [ CoRE ]

COrE (Cosmic Origins Explorer) is a class M space mission which has been proposed to the European Space Agency Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 call. It will probe cosmic origins, neutrino masses and the origin of stars and magnetic fields through a high sensitivity survey of the microwave polarization of the entire sky. Its aim is to deliver high precision, reference-quality, full-sky maps of the polarized microwave and sub-mm sky in 15 bands ranging from 45 GHz to 795 GHz. The mission is based on a single instrument relying the experience acquired from the development of the Planck satellite. It will make use of a similar optical configuration but with a much larger number of detectors (>6000) in order to improve the sensitivity by about 30 times. It will include a polarisation modulator as the first optical element to minimise the systematic effects.

This mission was not selected by ESA in 2011 but the consortium is working at improving the detailed definition in preparation for the next call.

For technical information, see the The White paper.

JBCA has members in each of the 4 working groups (Mission and programmatics, Instrument, Science and Foregrounds). JBCA has played a particularly major role in the instrument definition and also by acting as the UK coordinator.

Manchester staff: B. Maffei (Instrument scientist), G. Pisano, C. Dickinson, R. Battye, L. Piccirillo, R. Davis, A. Bonaldi (PDRA)

External partners: include several institutes from France, Italy, Spain and the UK


 [ e-Merlin ]

e-MERLIN is an array of seven radio telescopes, spanning 217km, connected by a new optical fibre network to Jodrell Bank Observatory. It is operated by Jodrell Bank as a UK National Facility. e-MERLIN observes at L and Cband and provides sub-arcsecond resolution. It reaches micro-Jy sensitivity.

e-MERLIN addresses a broad range of scientific questions, including:

e-MERLIN is funded by STFC and the University of Manchester


 [ FAST artist impression ]

The FAST (The Five hundred Aperture Spherical Telescope) project is being developed by China. This approved mega-science project currently under construction will be the largest single dish telescope ever built. This facility planned to be commissioned in 2016 will largely surpass the capabilities of the famous Arecibo telescope leading to a formidable tool for the study of pulsars, HI regions and more generally Cosmology. Several receivers will be at its focus, covering a frequency range spanning between 300 MHz and 6 GHz. The first set of receivers will comprise 19 L-Band (1-1.5 GHz) beams based on Low Noise Amplifiers.

Based on its long-standing Radio Astronomy expertise, JBCA is participating to the first 19 beam receiver design which should be finished by the end of 2012. This phase will be followed by a joint development of this receiver between the 3 institutes and will be ready for FAST first light.

Manchester staff: B. Maffei (Manchester PI), A. Wilkinson, P. Wilkinson, R. Davis, G. Pisano, R. Battye, B. Stappers, L. Piccirillo

Collaboration: National Astronomical Observatories China (NAOC), JBCA, CSIRO - Australia

L-BASS: The The L-Band All-Sky Survey

The L-BASS project aims to produce an absolutely calibrated map of the sky at 1.4 GHz, with a resolution of 5 to 7 degrees. This will help disentangle the foreground components from the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), and it resolve an ongoing controversy concerning the reality of an apparent excess of low frequency emission (~1K at 1 GHz).

LSPE: The Large Scale Polarization Explorer

The Large Scale Polarization Explorer (LSPE) is an Italian experiment aimed at measuring the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background at large angular scales. The target of this balloon-borne experiment is to constrain the B-mode component of the CMB polarization produced by tensor perturbations generated during the inflation in the primordial universe. LSPE will also produce maps of foreground polarization produced by synchrotron emission and interstellar dust emission in our galaxy. The instrument is optimized for large angular scales (resolution ~1.5 degrees FWHM) and wide sky coverage (30% of the full sky). The payload will fly in the polar night by means of a circumpolar long duration balloon mission. The experiment will consist of two instruments: the first employing cryogenic HEMT amplifiers for an array of polarimeters working at 40GHz and 90 GHz; the second using rotating Half Wave Plates and large throughput multimoded bolometers for an array of polarimeters working in three bands: 90, 140 and 220 GHz.

The JBCA involvement consists of:

Manchester staff: G. Pisano (Manchester PI), L.Piccirillo, B.Maffei, R. Ng, V. Haynes, R. Battye, M. Brown

Collaboration: La Sapienza University of Rome, University of Manchester - JBCA, University of Milano-Bicocca, University of Milano, University of Florence, University of Cambridge, IASF-INAF Bologna, University of Trieste, OAT-INAF Trieste, IEIIT-CNR Torino

LT: Lovell Telescope

We work continuously on upgrades for the Lovell Telescope. Currently, we are working on improving the pointing accuracy using a new encoder system, the design of an L-band lens and further setting of the Lovell surface to improve the image quality.

Staff: Richard Davis (project scientist), John Kitching, Simon Garrington, Bruno Maffei

MUST: Manchester University Student Telescope

MUST is a project to design & construct an innovative, radio telescope array on the Jodrell Bank site which will carry out world-leading science. An integral feature of the concept is the engagement of a wide range of MSc students, in SChools across the EPS Faculty in all aspects of the design, build and data analysis. The ultimate aim of the project is the construction of 200 radio antenna panels each of about 20 square metres and sited close to the international coordination centre of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) for which Manchester is now the host partner. Many electronic beams will be formed from the combined outputs of these panels. MUST's principal science targets match some of the SKA's viz: pulsar astrophysics, searches of the transient sky, and searches for signals from extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). The public outreach opportunities, in collaboration with the new Discovery Centre at JBO, are excellent.

External Partners (in Faculty of Engineering and Physical Science, University of Manchester): School of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering (E&EE)



NEXPReS is a three-year project aimed at further developing e-VLBI services of the European VLBI Network (EVN), with the goal of incorporating e-VLBI into every astronomical observation conducted by the EVN. It involves 15 astronomical institutes and National Research and Education Network (NREN) providers and has four main technical activities:

NEXPReS in an e-Infrastructure project funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme under Grant Agreement RI-261525.


 [ PLANCK all-sky image ]

The objective of the European Space Agency's Planck Spacecraft is to map the cosmic microwave background anisotropies as fully and accurately as possible. Planck is making very sensitive measurements of the temperature over the whole sky, at nine different frequencies between 30 and 900 GHz covered by two main instruments, the High and Low Frequency Instruments (HFI and LFI).

The Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics developed the 30 and 44 GHz LNAs for the LFI, with help from the University of Birmingham and The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Post Launch Support

The space craft is currently flying and is in its operational. The JBO is funded through a Post Launch Support grant. During this phase, Manchester is leading the systematics work in the UK on LFI.

Manchester staff Richard Davis (Manchester PI), Richard Battye, Clive Dickinson (WG7 coordinator), Bob Watson (PDRA), Paddy Leahy (LFI polarization), Althea Wilkinson, Michael Peel (PDRA)


 [ The QUIET telescope at the Chajnantor Observatory, Chile ]

The Q/U Imaging ExperimenT (QUIET) is the result of an international collaboration to construct an instrument to observe the Q and U polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background. QUIET is located at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Chilean Andes, and is currently in "Phase-I". Phase-I employs a 16-element array at Q-band (40 GHz) and a 91-element array at W-band (90 GHz). Phase-II is currently being proposed and will consist of 19 elements at Ka-band (30 GHz), 55 elements at Q-band (40 GHz) and 1497 elements at W-band (90 GHz). QUIET phase-II will provide competitive constraints on large-scale B-modes down to tensor-to-scalar ratios of approximately 0.01 or better, making it one of the leading CMB polarization experiments of the next generation.

Manchester staff: Lucio Piccirillo


 [ Artists impression of the QUIJOTE telscopes in Tenerife. ]

The Q-U-I JOint TEnerife (QUIJOTE) experiment aims to observe the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background on large angular scales (around 1 degree) at a number of frequencies between 11 and 30 GHz. QUIJOTE will be a unique instrument for studying the low frequency CMB foregrounds (synchrotron, free-free and anomalous emission) as well as placing constraints on CMB B-modes. It is a collaboration between the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and the Cavandish Laboratory, the Instituto de Fiscia de Cantabria, the Departamento de Ingenieria de Comunicaciones and the IDOM company. It will observe from the Teide Observatory.

Manchester staff: Lucio Piccirillo