A Versatile Multichannel Digital Signal Processing Module for Microcalorimeter Arrays
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Different techniques have been developed for reading out microcalorimeter sensor arrays: individual outputs for small arrays, and time-division or frequency-division or code-division multiplexing for large arrays. Typically, raw waveform data are first read out from the arrays using one of these techniques and then stored on computer hard drives for offline optimum filtering, leading not only to requirements for large storage space but also limitations on achievable count rate. Thus, a read-out module that is capable of processing microcalorimeter signals in real time will be highly desirable. We have developed multichannel digital signal processing electronics that are capable of on-board, real time processing of microcalorimeter sensor signals from multiplexed or individual pixel arrays. It is a 3U PXI module consisting of a standardized core processor board and a set of daughter boards. Each daughter board is designed to interface a specific type of microcalorimeter array to the core processor. The combination of the standardized core plus this set of easily designed and modified daughter boards results in a versatile data acquisition module that not only can easily expand to future detector systems, but is also low cost. In this paper, we first present the core processor/daughter board architecture, and then report the performance of an 8-channel daughter board, which digitizes individual pixel outputs at 1 MSPS with 16-bit precision. We will also introduce a time-division multiplexing type daughter board, which takes in time-division multiplexing signals through fiber-optic cables and then processes the digital signals to generate energy spectra in real time.
KeywordsDigital signal processor Real time processing Multiplexing Microcalorimeter arrays