title

Finding Fast

25 Sep 2017,

While majority of the enigmatic Fast Radio Bursts have been detected with the single-dish Parkes Observatory radio telescope, new instruments are entering the search.Much progress has been made with interferometric discoveries of FRBs, with the UTMOST project leading the way. On the other hand, the CRAFT experiment on Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder is currently working in fly’s eye mode and covering large areas of sky and is sensitive enough to detect bright FRBs. An interferometric mode for CRAFT is also currently under development. The UTMOST experiment has now detected 4 FRBs and ASKAP’s count is up to 6. The two experiments combined are poised to significantly increase the sample of known FRBs by year’s end. Extensive radio and optical follow-up programs are underway to search for the next repeating FRB like FRB 121102. UTMOST has implemented a number of novel techniques in FRB searching, from data acquisition and digital signal processing stages to real-time GPU-based candidate classification using machine learning. The latter improvement is what allows it to record voltages from FRBs for the first time for offline processing. The recent UTMOST discovery of FRB270817 in this mode enabled it to produce the first coherently dedispersed cyclic spectrum of a non-repeating FRB which reveals wealth of structure in spectral and temporal domains. Ultimately, we hope to understand the origin of FRBs and use them as cosmic probes and get insights into the missing baryon problem, map the cosmic web, test general relativity, and study dark energy.