This work shows a time-domain method for the discrimination and digitization of parameters of voltage pulses coming from optical detectors, taking into account the presence of electronic noise and afterpulsing. Our scheme is based on an FPGA-based time-to-digital converter as well as an adjustable-threshold comparator complemented with commercial elements. Here, the design, implementation and optimization of a multiphase TDC using delay lines shorter than a single clock period is also described. The performance of this signal processing system is discussed through the results from the statistical code density test, statistical distributions of measurements and information gathered from an optical detector. Unlike dual voltage threshold discriminators or constant-fraction discriminators, the proposed method uses amplitude and time information to define an adjustable discrimination window that enables the acquisition of spectra.
An embedded time interval data acquisition system (DAS) is developed for zero power reactor (ZPR) noise experiments. The system is capable of measuring the correlation or probability distribution of a random process. The design is totally implemented on a single Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The architecture is tested on different FPGA platforms with different speed grades and hardware resources. Generic experimental values for time resolution and inter-event dead time of the system are 2.22 ns and 6.67 ns respectively. The DAS can record around 48-bit x 790 kS/s utilizing its built-in fast memory. The system can measure very long time intervals due to its 48-bit timing structure design. As the architecture can work on a typical FPGA, this is a low cost experimental tool and needs little time to be established. In addition, revisions are easily possible through its reprogramming capability. The performance of the system is checked and verified experimentally.