Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Time to digital conversion systems

Most of the contemporary scientific advents rely heavily on the extensive use of sensitive, accurate and extremely reliable laboratory equipment. As such, two advanced time digitisers have recently been developed that are aimed at highly specific time measurements for radiation detection. These digitisers may be also be employed in cases where precise estimations of short time delays are required, such as in fluorescence delay and electrochemistry applications.
Time to digital conversion systems
This EC funded project focused on developing faster and reliable systems for time measurements for detectors at synchrotron and neutron facilities. These detectors are essentially used for radiation monitoring, scattering or imaging applications in many biological research and quality control studies. For instance, they may be used in time resolved scattering measurements on biological structures or synthetic polymer materials where rapid time framing is required.

Within this context, two new time digitisers, namely the TSC1001 and TSC1002, have been developed with a 200ps time resolution. Both are grounded on time to space conversion, where ultrafast time-domain signals are mapped into a spatial replica of the original ultrafast waveform. These devices offer automatic rejection of uncorrelated events, a feature that until now has been unavailable with conventional time to digital converters.

As standalone modules, they are capable of reading 20-30ns delay line segments and with an additional module they can also provide readouts of longer (300ns) continuous delay lines. The TSC1001 may be used particularly for linear positioning of sensitive gas proportional X-ray and neutron detectors and fast time framing. On the other hand the TSC1002 presents additional capabilities, such as readout of area detectors.

The developed prototypes are currently exploited in beamline measurements using a standard data acquisition system at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) facilities. Apart from X-ray, neutron detection and time-of-flight experiments, these time digitisers may be alternatively used in applications involving analog-to-digital or conventional time-to-digital converters. This technology may also find interesting applications that demand highly accurate measurements of short time delays, such as fluorescence decay and electrochemistry using fast signals.
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