Altair announced that Daniel Ung, a Masters student at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, has won the 2016 FEKO Student Competition, an annual international contest organized in support of engineering education and academic excellence. Students interested in antennas, microwave devices, bio-electromagnetics, electromagnetic compatibility, and other electromagnetic related fields are given the opportunity to showcase their work with FEKO, the electromagnetic solver of Altair HyperWorks. The 2016 competition generated global interest, attracting entries from Germany, USA and India.

Ung’s winning entry, entitled "Embedded Element Pattern Beam Model for Murchison Widefield Array" addressed the need for an accurate yet accessible beam pattern of the Murchison Widefield Array for astronomers. “The judges were very pleased to see the complexity and accuracy of the results achieved using FEKO versus real-world results,” commented Matthias Goelke, senior director – Business Development Academic Markets at Altair.

In his work with the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) Ung realized that knowledge of the beam pattern of a radio telescope is vital for calibration and image correction. The solution employed was to perform beam modeling using full embedded element pattern method with spherical harmonics representation. The results showed that the simulated beam pattern using FEKO was superior to the analytical beam model which assumes a Hertzian dipole response.

"Working on this project was challenging and rewarding at the same time. I have developed an appreciation of the amount of 'behind the scenes' work that enables radio astronomy to deliver ground breaking science. I hope the next generation of low-frequency telescope such as the Square Kilometer Array will benefit from my project,” said Ung, on hearing the news of his win.

The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research is an equal joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia. The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a precursor to the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the multi-billion-dollar international project to build the world’s largest radio telescope. This new beam model is currently being used by the MWA community to achieve its science goal. Ung’s academic advisor, Dr Adrian Sutinjo, will receive this year's supervisor award.

The 2017 FEKO Student Competition topics will be announced in March 2017 on the Altair University website. The project will also be presented as a webinar in the upcoming FEKO 2017 Webinar Series.