Thursday, August 1, 2013

1307.8360 (Benjamin Zitzer et al.)

The VERITAS Upgraded Telescope-Level Trigger Systems: Technical Details and Performance Characterization    [PDF]

Benjamin Zitzer, for the VERITAS Collaboration
VERITAS is an array of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes sensitive to gamma rays in the energy range between 85 GeV and 30 TeV. The instrument underwent an upgrade of the camera triggers in November 2011. The new systems use 400 MHz Xilinix Virtex-5 FPGAs for the pixel neighbor coincidence logic necessary to produce a camera-level trigger. The upgraded systems are capable of time-aligning individual triggering pixels to within ~0.2 nanoseconds, allowing for an operational pixel-to-pixel coincidence window of ~5 nanoseconds. This reduced coincidence window provides improved rejection of night-sky background (NSB) which permits a reduction of the energy threshold at the trigger level. The use of FPGAs allows for the future implementation of a topological trigger capable of discriminating events based on an image moment analysis of a bit-wise hit pattern. As part of the commissioning phase for the trigger upgrade, the hardware was initially installed in a single telescope in "parallel" to the (then) current system. This allowed for the detailed performance characterization of the new system relative to the pre-existing trigger. Here we present technical details of the upgraded VERITAS camera trigger system and outline the details of these performance studies.
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