Clock Synchronization in LOFAR via a Photonic Network


Radio telescope systems like the LOFAR telescope use a clock system for the synchronization of the data streams from the antennas. An accurate data synchronization is required for realizing a proper processing of the received signals. The current LOFAR clock system is capable of providing an accuracy of about 10 ns. For improving the performance of the LOFAR system a reduction of the accuracy towards 0.1 ns is required.
The company OPNT has developed a new technology for sending synchronous time information through a fiber-optic network with an accuracy level in the order of 0.1 ns. In the proposed project ASTRON and the companies OPNT and Tallgrass will apply the innovative technology of OPNT in ASTRONs LOFAR telescope. In this work OPNT will optimize its novel synchronization technology for realizing the required accuracy level of 0.1 ns. Once installed, the performance of the OPNT technology will be tested, to determine the applicability of the OPNT technology in LOFAR and to what extent an improvement of the LOFAR system performance is obtained by applying the new synchronization technology.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. ir. D.H.P. Maat

Affiliated with

ASTRON - Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy