Agilent Technologies’ time-to-digital converter delivers unique resolution for precise timing-measurement applications

Date: Sun, 02/01/2009 - 19:50

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced the expansion of its U1050A line of Acqiris time-to-digital converters (TDC). This product line now includes a new model that offers an ultrahigh timing resolution, making the TDC ideal for precise timing measurements in communications, nuclear research and weapon physics applications

Agilent Technologies’ time-to-digital converter delivers unique resolution for precise timing-measurement applications

The new single-hit time-to-digital converter (U1050A-002) has a truly unique 5 picoseconds timing resolution and a wide measurement range of up to 20 seconds, a ratio of 1:4.109. This CompactPCI TDC module is ideal for applications where high timing resolution and precision are required, such as in large-scale physics experiments, including hydrodynamics, explosive testing, particle accelerator timing and nuclear fusion studies. Applications are also found in Time Domain Transmission Reflectometry in wide band, satellite and fiber-optics communications as well as in time-of-flight measurements in nuclear and life science mass spectrometry and 3D mapping using Lidar/Radar.
The U1050A-002 TDC has 13 identical hardware channels. Twelve channels are independent stop inputs; the 13th is the common start. The module can operate in either single-start or multi-start acquisition modes with the timing information on all the independent channels encoded relative to the common channel. The wide operating range allows start/stop events separated by as much as 20 s to be recorded, and the internal buffer allows the recording of up to 128 stops. In addition, the TDC features inputs with programmable thresholds and slopes, making the module ideal for measuring the time of the rising or falling edge of very fast trigger events. Time measurement on the U1050A-002 TDC can be based on either the internal low jitter (<3 ps rms), high stability (±2 ppm) clock source, or an external 10 MHz reference input. Digitized data is fed directly to the onboard FPGA-based data processing unit. This handles the data and subsequent fast readout with direct memory access (DMA) mode, for increased data throughput to the PC.

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