Dr. Adam Deller
I explore the physics of compact objects (neutron stars and black holes) primarily by way of observations with radio telescopes. My current research focuses on uncovering the origin of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), which are millisecond-duration radio flashes that appear to be generated outside our own Galaxy. If the cosmological nature of FRBs is confirmed, they can be used as a totally new way to probe the intergalactic medium, by comparing the imprint of the intergalactic medium on the FRB signal against the distance to the FRB host galaxy, as measured with optical observations. Closer to home, I study neutron stars within the Milky Way galaxy, both in the form of radio pulsars, and X-ray binaries (where the neutron star is accreting gas from a companion object). I specialise in performing astrometry on these systems, using radio telescopes spread across continents to make carefully calibrated images with extremely high angular resolution. By repeatedly observing the systems over time, we can discern the tiny changes in position caused by the relative motion of the target source compared to the Earth, which includes the annual motion of the Earth around the Sun. The amplitude of this "parallax" depends inversely on the source distance, and provides a means to obtain an accurate and model-independent estimate of this distance.
I have a background in electronic engineering and maintain an active interest in radio astronomy instrumentation. I have developed the "DiFX" distributed correlator that is used by a number of operational radio interferometers, and I am involved with a number of working groups contributing to the design of the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
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