BLASTbus electronics: General-purpose readout and control for balloon-borne experiments

S. J. Benton, P. A. Ade, M. Amiri, F. E. Angilè, J. J. Bock, J. R. Bond, S. A. Bryan, H. C. Chiang, C. R. Contaldi, B. P. Crill, M. J. Devlin, B. Dober, O. P. Doré, C. D. Dowell, M. Farhang, J. P. Filippini, L. M. Fissel, A. A. Fraisse, Y. Fukui, N. GalitzkiA. E. Gambrel, N. N. Gandilo, S. R. Golwala, J. E. Gudmundsson, M. Halpern, M. Hasselfield, G. C. Hilton, W. A. Holmes, V. V. Hristov, K. D. Irwin, W. C. Jones, Z. D. Kermish, J. Klein, A. L. Korotkov, C. L. Kuo, C. J. Mactavish, P. V. Mason, T. G. Matthews, K. G. Megerian, L. Moncelsi, T. A. Morford, T. K. Mroczkowski, J. M. Nagy, C. B. Netterfield, G. Novak, D. Nutter, R. O'Brient, R. W. Ogburn, E. Pascale, F. Poidevin, A. S. Rahlin, C. D. Reintsema, J. E. Ruhl, M. C. Runyan, G. Savini, D. Scott, J. A. Shariff, J. D. Soler, N. E. Thomas, A. Trangsrud, M. D. Truch, C. E. Tucker, G. S. Tucker, R. S. Tucker, A. D. Turner, D. Ward-Thompson, A. C. Weber, D. V. Wiebe, E. Y. Young

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


We present the second generation BLASTbus electronics. The primary purposes of this system are detector readout, attitude control, and cryogenic housekeeping, for balloon-borne telescopes. Readout of neutron transmutation doped germanium (NTD-Ge) bolometers requires low noise and parallel acquisition of hundreds of analog signals. Controlling a telescope's attitude requires the capability to interface to a wide variety of sensors and motors, and to use them together in a fast, closed loop. To achieve these different goals, the BLASTbus system employs a flexible motherboard-daughterboard architecture. The programmable motherboard features a digital signal processor (DSP) and field-programmable gate array (FPGA), as well as slots for three daughterboards. The daughterboards provide the interface to the outside world, with versions for analog to digital conversion, and optoisolated digital input/output. With the versatility afforded by this design, the BLASTbus also finds uses in cryogenic, thermometry, and power systems. For accurate timing control to tie everything together, the system operates in a fully synchronous manner. BLASTbus electronics have been successfully deployed to the South Pole, and own on stratospheric balloons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes V
EditorsHelen J. Hall, Larry M. Stepp, Roberto Gilmozzi
ISBN (Electronic)9780819496133
StatePublished - 2014
EventGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes V - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jun 22 2014Jun 27 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes V

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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