Tuesday, July 16, 2013

1307.3677 (G. Pühlhofer et al.)

FlashCam: A fully digital camera for the Cherenkov Telescope Array    [PDF]

G. Pühlhofer, C. Bauer, F. Eisenkolb, D. Florin, C. Föhr, A. Gadola, G. Hermann, C. Kalkuhl, J. Kasperek, T. Kihm, J. Koziol, A. Manalaysay, A. Marszalek, P. J. Rajda, W. Romaszkan, M. Rupinski, T. Schanz, S. Steiner, U. Straumann, C. Tenzer, A. Vollhardt, Q. Weitzel, K. Winiarski, K. Zietara, for the CTA consortium
FlashCam is a Cherenkov camera development project centered around a fully digital trigger and readout scheme with smart, digital signal processing, and a "horizontal" architecture for the electromechanical implementation. The fully digital approach, based on commercial FADCs and FPGAs as key components, provides the option to easily implement different types of triggers as well as digitization and readout scenarios using identical hardware, by simply changing the firmware on the FPGAs. At the same time, a large dynamic range and high resolution of low-amplitude signals in a single readout channel per pixel is achieved using compression of high amplitude signals in the preamplifier and signal processing in the FPGA. The readout of the front-end modules into a camera server is Ethernet-based using standard Ethernet switches. In its current implementation, data transfer and backend processing rates of ~3.8 GBytes/sec have been achieved. Together with the dead-time-free front end event buffering on the FPGAs, this permits the cameras to operate at trigger rates of up to several tens of kHz. In the horizontal architecture of FlashCam, the photon detector plane (PDP), consisting of photon detectors, preamplifiers, high voltage-, control-, and monitoring systems, is a self-contained unit, which is interfaced through analogue signal transmission to the digital readout system. The horizontal integration of FlashCam is expected not only to be more cost efficient, it also allows PDPs with different types of photon detectors to be adapted to the FlashCam readout system. This paper describes the FlashCam concept, its verification process, and its implementation for a 12 m class CTA telescope with PMT-based PDP.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.3677

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