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Reference for Pawala Ariyathilaka (2)

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Reference for Pawala Ariyathilaka (2)

  1. 1.   Professor  A.  Hopkins Australian Astronomical Observatory 105 Delhi Road North Ryde New South Wales 2113 Australia 11th February, 2015 Direct line +44 (0)1235 446719 Local fax +44 (0)1235 446362 E-mail brian.ellison@stfc.ac.uk Dear Professor Hopkins, Letter of recommendation for Mr Pawala Ariyathilaka for a AAO Student Fellowship Summer Placement It is my pleasure to write to you in support of Pawala Ariyathilaka’s application for a Student Fellowship (summer placement) at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO). Pawala worked as an industrial placement sandwich course student within my research and development group (the Millimetre-wave Technology Group) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and during the period Aug 2013 to July 2014. His placement was in part fulfilment of a BSc degree course that he is currently completing at the University of Cardiff, and within the School of Physics and Astronomy. During his time within my group, Pawala demonstrated a strong willingness to learn, and keenness to develop his skills and experience. He supported my group’s millimetre-wave technical development programme, which is directed towards the provision of instrumentation for astronomical and atmospheric remote sensing, with great enthusiasm. In particular, he undertook a difficult and demanding role associated with the development of new test and measurement infrastructure for a millimetre-wave half- wave-plate (HWP) polarisation rotation filter. The HWP device is a key component within a future spaceborne cosmic background exploration experiment, and the test system allows room and low temperature measurement of its polarisation performance. In support of the above, Pawala designed a diffraction limited optical interface to couple a millimetre- wave power source to a detector, and between which the HWP is placed for measurement and performance evaluation. The test and measurement procedure also requires location of the HWP within a vacuum chamber and on a cryogenic (~15K) surface. Consequently, it proved necessary for the interface to preserve the vacuum integrity of the cryostat unit, whilst simultaneously allowing propagation of the millimetre-wave signal into and out of the chamber. The work required Pawala to gain an understanding of long wavelength optics, polarisation devices, cryogenic and vacuum technology, and aspects of mechanical design. He used advanced software techniques, e.g. GRASP, to simulate the optical beam coupling, and computer aided drawing packages to prepare his designs for manufacture. In addition to technical design, Pawala also undertook the measurement of some of our high-frequency heterodyne receiver components, i.e. harmonic frequency up-convertors. This required him to use a range
  2. 2. of advanced microwave and millimetre-wave test and measurement equipment to gather relevant data, e.g. vector network and spectrum analysers, power meters, millimetre-wave sources, etc. He also used a variety of software packages to perform data analysis, and to support the presentation of his findings. Pawala worked diligently and effectively at all times, and I found him to be a very pleasant person to work with. He is very motivated and shows an admirable desire to explore new areas of work. I’m very pleased to be able to recommend him to you for a placement at the AAO. I am sure that he would gain a very considerable amount from the experience. Yours sincerely, Prof. Brian Ellison Head of Millimetre Wave Technology Group and ALMA UK Project Manager This information is supplied in good faith and with no admission of liability to the STFC or RAL.

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