On Flexibeam for radio interferometry

Beamforming in radio astronomy focuses at and around a direction using matched beamforming or a derivative, to both maximise the energy coming from this point and reduce the data rate to the central processor. Such beamformers often result in large side-lobes, with influence from undesired directions. Moreover, there is a fundamental lack of flexibility when, for example, targeting extended regions or tracking objects with uncertainty as to their location. We show how the analytic framework Flexibeam can be leveraged to achieve beamshapes that cover general spatial areas with substantially more energy concentration within the region-of-interest. The method is numerically stable, and scalable in the number of antennas, and does not magnify noise.

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