MCS6A 100 ps per time bin, multiple-event time digitizer

100 ps per time bin, multiple-event time digitizer (TDC) MCS6A

It can be used in ultra-fast Multi-scaler and TOF systems, in Time-of-Flight mass-spectrometry and time-resolved single ion- or photon counting, fluorescence livetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). NEW !! Pulse-width evaluation with 100 ps precision enables the user to calculate the area, the pulse height of the detector pulse but also if multiple events have occured - multiple events have a broader pulse width than single pulses.

In operation the sweep is started by a user-supplied start (trigger) pulse. Then subsequent events detected at the stop inputs are recorded, each in a specific time bin corresponding to the time of arrival relative to the start pulse. Compared to non-multi-hit devices, the MCS6A can evaluate stop events at a rate of 10 GHz state changes/sec, in the pulse width mode at 5 GHz. The MCS6A is designed with fully digital circuitry capable of accepting at least 65.000 events at peak (burst) input rates of up-to 10 Gbit per second.

The MCS6A has been optimized for the best possible pulse pair resolving while providing state-of-the-art time resolution available in digital designs. Six built-in discriminators can be adjusted for a wide range of signal levels. The single sweep time range enables the user to take data of up to 20 days (54 bit setting) or 30 min (44 bit setting with 16 TAG bits enabled), with a time resolution of 100 ps.

Optionally a reference input for high stability clock sources such as a GPS or rubidium disciplined oscillator will be offered.

The FIFO memory buffers enable the MCS6A to continuously transfer data at rates of approx. 35MB per second.

Selection of data width per event in steps of 16bit (16, 32, 48 or 64 bit) allows for optimized FIFO and USB bandwidth usage For experiments requiring repetitive sweeps the spectral data obtained from each sweep can be summed in the PC enabling very high sweep repetition rates.

In endless and wrap-around mode sweep repetitions with zero end-of-sweep dead time can be accommodated.

The MCS6A is designed with "state-of-the-art" components which offer excellent performance and reliability.

The high-performance hardware is matched by a sophisticated WINDOWS-based software delivered with each MCS6A - providing a powerful graphical user interface for setup, datatransfer and spectral data display.

Drivers for LINUX are optionally available.

Ordering Information
Model Description Order No.
MCS6A-1 1+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 100ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A1
MCS6A-2 2+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 100ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A2
MCS6A-3 3+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 100ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A3
MCS6A-4 4+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 100ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A4
MCS6A 5+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 100ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A
MCS6A-1T2 1+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 200ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A1T2
MCS6A-2T2 2+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 200ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A2T2
MCS6A-3T2 3+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 200ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A3T2
MCS6A-4T2 4+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 200ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A4T2
MCS6A-5T2 5+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 200ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A5T2
MCS6A-1T4 1+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 400ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A1T4
MCS6A-2T4 2+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 400ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A2T4
MCS6A-3T4 3+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 400ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A3T4
MCS6A-4T4 4+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 400ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A4T4
MCS6A-5T4 5+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 400ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A5T4
MCS6A-2T8 2+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 800ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A2T8
MCS6A-3T8 3+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 800ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A3T8
MCS6A-4T8 4+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 800ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A4T8
MCS6A-5T8 5+1 input 10GHz TOF-Multiscaler, 800ps, 1GB Fifo, USB, field upgrade, MPA-NT software MCS6A5T8
MCS6-Fifo2 Option: 1 GB Fifo extra (2 GB total) MCS6F2
MCS6-atom Option: internal high stability cesium atomic clock reference MCS6ATOM
MCS6-50ps Option 50 ps resolution, 3x ext. splitter, channel pairing, 1 start, 2 stop inputs MCS650P
MPA4-C1 TAG / Counter cable for MCS6A / MPA4 / MPA4T, converts 37-pin D-SUB to 18 1.5m BNC cables MPA4C1
MPA4-C2 TAG / Counter cable for MCS6A / MPA4 / MPA4T, converts 37-pin D-SUB to 18 1.5m Lemo cables MPA4C2
MCS6-LINUX LINUX drivers for MCS6(A) MCS6S2
MCS6-DLL32 DLL for LabVIEW /“C“/ Visual Basic (32 bit) for the MCS6(A) MCS6S1

The main features are:

  • Exceptionally high count rate Time Spectrometry System with 100 ps time resolution
  • 5 (6) input channels (START input can be used like a 6th STOP channel)
  • Also versions available with 1, 2, 3 and 4 input channels
  • Time range from nanoseconds to 20 days with 100 ps time resolution 
    (54 bit dynamic range)
  • Stop pulses are evaluated either for rising, falling edge or both at 10 GHz. For the first time this allows to obtain data on pulse-width with 100 ps precision
  • "Constant fraction" evaluation of input pulses 
    - interpolates between falling and rising edge
  • Minimum time between rising and falling edge is 100 ps
  • Maximum input rates up to 10 Gbit/s
  • High data transfer rate to PC by dual USB bus
  • Six operating modes: Stop after sweep, sequential, multi start recording, pulse width (TOT - time over threshold and TUT - time below threshold) and time interval. (Autocorrelation optional)
  • Fully digital design, no software corrections required
  • Start- and Stop-Inputs via built-in -2V...+3V discriminators 
    (threshold +/-1.5V adjustable in steps of 183 µV)
  • No dead time between time bins, No missed events, No double counting
  • On-board 1024 x 6.4ns fast FIFO for ultra fast data acquisition.
  • Secondary 1GB FIFO (2 GB FIFO opt.) to buffer list-mode or 
    on-line histogramming data transfer into the PC
  • Simultaneous acquisition and data transfer to PC
  • On-line sweep summing
  • Two versatile, software configurable Sync-outputs for triggering of external devices (FAST NIM, TTL)
  • Tag inputs (16) with 6.4 ns time resolution 
    (i.e. for sequential data acquisition, multi-detector configurations, etc.)
  • Presettable 48 bit sweep counter; programmable acquisition delay, programmable number of time bins and programmable trigger hold-off after sweep
  • User configurable "GO"-line for experiment synchronisation 
    (compatible with other FAST ComTec devices)
  • 8-bit digital I/O port
  • Internal test pulser

Typical applications are:

  • TOF Time-of-Flight Spectrometry with exceptional dynamic-range and time resolution
  • Position Sensitive Detectors (delay line type: start, 2 x 2 delay signals, time / anode)
  • Multi-scaling with very high burst count rates
  • Pulse width evaluation with 100 ps precision
  • Static TOF SIMS secondary electron Mass-spectrometry - used for example in analyzing molecules from biological samples
  • Quantum Cryptography research
  • Fluorescence livetime imaging microscopy (FLIM)
  • Laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy in biological samples
  • Laser-induced photo-electron spectrometry to analyze the electronic state
    of gas and solid state samples
  • Single photon / single molecule counting
  • Multi-level measurements e.g.for mass spectroscopy with very strong (pile up) lines by pairing input channels
  • LIDAR (1.5 cm spatial resolution)
  • Six - channel ultra high speed and huge memory logic analyzer 
    Evaluation of logic circuits / search for spurious signals
  • "Area measurement" in high energy physics 
    by width measurement of pulses with constant shape
  • Multiparameter / correlation / coincidence measurements

MPA4T TOF Mass Spectrometer simplified diagramm

A simplified diagramm of a LIDAR setup

Typical position sensitive detector read out