A scalable FPGA-based digitizing platform for radiation data acquisition

Randolph T. Schiffer, Marek Flaska, Sara A. Pozzi, Sean Carney, David D. Wentzloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Regulating the proliferation of nuclear materials has become an important issue in our society. In order to detect the radiation given off by nuclear materials, systems implementing detectors connected to data processing modules have been developed. We have implemented a scalable, portable detection platform with a data processing module about the size of an external DVD drive. The data processing component of our system utilizes real-time data handling and has the potential for growth and behavior modifications through custom FPGA code editing. The size of our system is dynamic, so additional input channels can be implemented if necessary. This paper presents a scalable, portable detection system capable of transmitting streaming data from its inputs to a PC or laptop. The system also performs tail/total integral pulse shape discrimination (PSD) in real time on the FPGA to filter the data and selectively transmit pulses to a PC. The data arrives at the inputs of the data capturing module, is processed in real time by the onboard FPGA and is then transferred to a PC or laptop via a PCIe cord in discrete packets. The maximum transfer rate from the FPGA to the PC is 2000 MB/s. The Detection for Nuclear Non-Proliferation Group at the University of Michigan will use the detection platform to achieve pre-processing of radiation data in real time. Such pre-processing includes PSD, pulse height distributions and particle times of arrival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-493
Number of pages3
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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