MCA4 Series Multichannel Analyzer

The MCA4 Series
The MCA4 series is a family of USB 2.0 - connected, software controlled Multichannel Analyzers. The design is capable of converting incoming analog pulses (PHA mode) on up to 4 channels at virtually no conversion induced dead-time. Pulse Height Analysis can be performed using different fitting algorithms optimized for different input pulse forms and shaping times. PHA data is transferred via the USB interface in list-mode at a max. rate of > 1 M events / sec on each input. Four continuously every 8 ns sampling 16 bit ADCs with extraordinary stability enable 32k resolution for PHA mode. The availabilty of the simultaneous usage of the oscilloscope (Scope) mode together with a Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT) and software pulse height analysis allows for an easy setup and evaluation of the experiment. The PHA data can be tagged with the 8 digital I/O bits and also with the 8ns Real Time Clock.

In MCS mode the internal memory is used to accumulate spectra of up to 16M bins. An automatic sequential mode allows to acquire up to 65536 sequential spectra – each with a presettable number of sweeps – with no dead-time between each cycle or synchronized with external signal. The minimum dwell time is 30 ns for 1 input channel and 50 ns for 2 channels and can be set in steps of 10 ns up to 781 h. The maximum count rate is 400 MHz.

An 8 bit digital I/O port provides controlling external devices or to react on additional external signals. It can be used for tag bits that are sampled with 2.5 µsec.

The “GO-LINE” compatibility allows to synchronize start and stop of the experiment across many measurement devices.

The 32 bit or 64 bit MPANT Windows Software is able to handle 6 MCA4 providing up to 24 MCA channels. In-field upgrade options enable upgrading of MCS mode, more MCA channels, 8 ns RTC time tagging, and multiparameter coincidences for 2 or 4 ADCs including Replay of list files.

Our 2-Year Warranty covers also all types of MCA4 Series multichannel analyzers.

  • Complete versatile MCA data acquisition system 
  • Several operating modes:
  1. PHA (pulse height analysis) using 1 to 4 inputs 
  2. SVA (sampling voltage analysis) mode
  3. SCOPE mode using 1 to 4 inputs (32...262μs)
  4. FFT mode using 1 to 4 inputs (0...62.5MHz)
  5. Simultaneous SCOPE / FFT / PHA usage
  6. MCS (multichannel scaling) using 1 or 2 inputs 
  • 4 on board 125MHz sampling, virtually dead- time-less pulse height analyzing 16 bit ADCs
  • > 1 M PHA events per second on each channel
  • ADC resolution 32k/16k(64k), optional 2k, 4k, 8k 
  • 4 ADC buffer memories allow storage of up to 8 analogue pulses (depending on pulse widths) each providing virtually dead-time-less data acquisition
  • Several optimized pulse height analysis fitting algorithms (absolute maximum, for Gaussian pulses, for flat-top pulses, future kinds optional)
  • ADC input range switchable (0...+10V or ±5V) (optional 0...+8V or ±4V ranges)
  • GATE inputs and SCA outputs
  • Easy experimental setup due to simultaneousSCOPE, FFT, PHA data acquisition possibility
  • Digital stabilizer for gain and zero stabilization 
  • Sum spectrum shifted according to individual calibrations enables forming a super-detector
  • MCS mode offers two inputs with programmable (fast/slow NIM, rising/falling edge) discriminators
  1. Maximum MCS count rates of 400MHz
  2. Dwell time from 30ns for one channel or 50 ns for two channels up to 781h in steps of 10 ns or external
  3. No dead-time between channels, no double counting, no end-of-sweep dead-time
  4. Automatic sequential mode for up to 65536 sequential MCS spectra
  5. On board MCS memory (16M x 32bit)
  • 8 bit digital I/O lines
  • The 8 digital I/O ports can be used as TAG inputs that are sampled with 2.5 µsec.
  • 4 Single Channel Analyzer (SCA) outputs, software programmable for several SYNC signals
  • GO-LINE compatible with other FAST products
  • Available in various configurations, options and firmware in-the-field upgradable
  • 1 ms real time clock (RTC) tagging standard,
  • 8 ns RTC optional for each ADC
  • Dualparameter coincidence mode optional
  • Four parameter coincidence mode including Replay of list files optional
  •  Nuclear- and X-ray spectroscopy
  • Mössbauer Spectroscopy
  • Dynamic Desorption Studies
  • Cross-correlation measurements
  • Scanning Mass Spectroscopy
  • Fluorescence Lifetime Studies
  • Time-correlated Single Photon and Ion Counting
  • Laser induced chemical reactions
  • Portable Spectrum Analysis
  • Setup of experiments in High-Energy Physics
  • OEM-applications
  • Remote Spectrum Acquisition


PHA (SVA) mode:
ADC: 4x 125MHz continuously sampling, Software programmable ULD, LLD and THRESHOLD

ADC inputs: 4x BNC, ZIN > 1kΩ, 0...+10V / ±5V range (0...+8V / ±4V optional)

GATE input: 4x BNC, ZIN = 50Ω or 4.7kΩ pull-up (+3.3V) or pull-down, (TTL), coincidence or antocoincidence in Gate mode, +/- edge sensitive when used as sampling input for SVA 

Memory: 32k ADC sample buffer memory (segmentable in up to 8 segments) for virtually dead- time-less pulse height analysis (each input) 

List-mode storage of analyzed PHA data

Max. rate: > 1 M events per sec on each input without loss

Time Tags: Each input pulse tagged with 1ms or RTC with 8ns time resolution (option)

Real- / Live-Time / Event counter: 1 ms resolution, presettable, one for each input channel

8 bit digital I/O lines: external control / sample-changer, status

TAG inputs: The 8 digital I/O ports can be used as TAG inputs that are sampled with 2.5 µsec.

MCS mode:

MCS inputs: START, STOP 1 & 2, Channel Advance MCS inputs: 4x BNC, ZIN = 50Ω or ZIN = 4.7kΩ pull-up (+3.3V) or pull-down, fast NIM (-300mV) or slow NIM / TTL (+1.3V) thresholds, 400 MHz max

On board histogramming memory: 16M x 32bit 

Dwell time modes: software selectable internal, or external channel advance

Dwell time / bin: 30 ns for 1 and 50 ns for 2 inputs...781h settable in steps of 10 ns. (2^48 x 10 ns)

Dead-time between time bins: zero

End-of-sweep dead-time: 10 ns

Spectrum length: up to 16M time bins

Sweep Counter: 48 bit, presettable

Sequential mode: 1...65536 spectra with no dead- time between each cycle or synchronized with external signal 

Analog signal inputs:  4x BNC
GATE / MCS inputs: 4x BNC
FEATURE I/O:  15 pin high density, female  
                        D- SUB (Analog Ground, 8 bit  
                        Digital I/O, GO-Line, 4x SCA) 
12V Supply:      2.1mm center pin (rear panel) 
USB 2.0:    (rear panel) Type A 

Power Requirements: +11...+14V / 12W power supply enclosed

Physical: aluminum case, 260mm x 48mm x 275mm, 1.7 kG

Shipping case: 420mm x 320mm x 290mm, 4 kg

Ordering Information
ModelDescriptionOrder No.
MCA4 Multichannel Analyzer (4ch) + dual fast MCS, int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA4
MCA4-MPA2 2 channel multiparameter version, 2 ADC inputs, incl. 2 RTC, MPANT Software MCA4M2
MCA4-MPA4 4 channel multiparameter version, 4 ADC inputs, 4 RTC, Replay+Ex, MPANT Software MCA4M4
MCA4-1 Multichannel Analyzer (1ch), int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA41
MCA4-2 Multichannel Analyzer (2ch), int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA42
MCA4-3 Multichannel Analyzer (3ch), int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA43
MCA4-4 Multichannel Analyzer (4ch), int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA44
MCS4 2ch fast MCS, 30(50) ns dwell time, MPANT Software MCS4
MCA4-optMCS 2ch fast MCS, 30(50) ns dwell time option for MCA4-x, included in MCA4 MCA4MCS
MCA4-optTAG TAG bit input, 8 bit, stored with ADC data MCA4TAG
MCA4-optRTC RTC 8 ns for one ADC channel MCA4RTC
MCA4DLL DLL for LabVIEW, “C”, Visual Basic MCA4S1
MCA4ReplEx Replay software for MCA4 incl. Dongle, included in MCA4M4 MCA4S3
MCA4-MPASW2 Multi parameter software for 2 channels, included in MCA4M2 MCA4S4
MCA4-MPASW4 Multi parameter software for 4 channels, included in MCA4M4 MCA4S5