Digital Radar and Radio Systems (TIGER)
La Trobe University operates three High Frequency radars (TIGER) which form part of an international network called Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN).
The network is operated by over a dozen nations to provide simultaneous coverage of both southern and northern polar regions. TIGER explores the impact of solar disturbances on Earth by monitoring the location of aurora and related phenomena occurring in the ionosphere and upper atmosphere.
The engineering team research lies in the area of hardware and software and is responsible for the development of a state of the art digital FPGA based, reconfigurable radar platform currently utilized by the Buckland Park radar in Adelaide.
Research areas include: FPGA processing, signal processing, phased arrays and antenna design, high power RF and EMC design. The department strongly collaborates with the Department of Physics Space Science group and has research ties with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Defence Science Technology Organisation (DSTO), University of Adelaide, University of Newcastle, Virginia Polytechnic University, Dartmouth College, University of Alaska, University of Leicester and University of Saskatchewan.
TIGER produces many data products which are used by La Trobe physicists and collaborative partners in Australia and around the world. These radars are key instruments for enhancing our understanding of how charged particles from the Sun (Solar Wind) impact and alter the Earth's magnetic field and upper atmosphere, causing changes in the ionosphere known as "space weather". An active Space Weather storm can often be seen as Aurora near the poles. While an Aurora is a spectacular natural phenomena, a severe Space Weather storm can significantly impact our highly technical world, disrupting communication systems, disabling satellites, and even causing wide spread power blackouts. Being able to predict Space Weather storms and their severity is vital to modern society and La Trobe's TIGER radars are at the forefront of improving the world's knowledge of Space Weather.
For further information see the TIGER website.