Long-distance telecom-fiber transfer of a radio-frequency reference for radio astronomy

Yabai He, Kenneth G.H. Baldwin, Brian J. Orr*, R. Bruce Warrington, Michael J. Wouters, Andre N. Luiten, Peter Mirtschin, Tasso Tzioumis, Chris Phillips, Jamie Stevens, Brett Lennon, Scott Munting, Guido Aben, Thomas Newlands, Tim Rayner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) for high-resolution astronomical imaging requires phase-stable frequency references at widely separated radio-telescope antennas. For the first time to our knowledge, we have disseminated a suitable radio-frequency (RF) reference for VLBI over a “real-world” telecom optical-fiber link between radio telescopes that are >100 km apart, by means of an innovative phase-conjugation technique. Bidirectional optical amplification is used in parallel with live traffic, and phase perturbations in the effective optical-fiber path length are compensated. This RF-over-fiber approach obviates the need for separate hydrogen masers at each antenna, offering significant advantages for radio-astronomy facilities such as the Square Kilometer Array.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2018


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