MCA4A Series Multichannel Analyzer

Now with USB3.0, Trapezoidal Shaper, Counters

The MCA4A Series
The MCA4A series is a family of USB-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. A digital Pole Zero Filter and Trapezoidal Pulse Shaper enables to even process typical Pre-Amplifier signals. PHA data is transferred via the USB 3.0 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. A set of eight 125 MHz 48bit Counter/Scalers is also optionally provided, 2 are presettable.

In MCS mode the four BNC connectors at the right are inputs with individually adjustable thresholds for Start, Stop1, Stop2, and channel advance signals to acquire time spectra. 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 60 ns for 2 channels and can be set in steps of 10 ns up to 781 h. The maximum count rate is 400 MHz.

New (Feb-24-2022): A new software and firmware enables to use the SCA1 and SCA2 from the PHA part to be used as STOP1 and STOP2 inputs for MCS mode. This is especially usefull for Mossbauer applications as it reduces background by selecting only the 14.4 keV gamma line as inputs for the multichannel scaling.

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 MCA4A 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 MCA4A Series multichannel analyzers.

  • Complete versatile MCA data acquisition system 
  • Several operating modes:
  1. PHA (pulse height analysis) using 1 to 4 inputs 
  2. Digital Pole-Zero filter and Trapezoidal filter for positive and negative preamplifier signals
  3. SVA (sampling voltage analysis) mode
  4. SCOPE mode using 1 to 4 inputs (32...262μs)
  5. FFT mode using 1 to 4 inputs (0...62.5MHz)
  6. Simultaneous SCOPE / FFT / PHA usage
  7. 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
  • External Clock and RTC Reset inputs
  • Optional eight 125 MHz 48bit scalers, 2 are presettable, optionally up/down counting controlled by individual gate inputs
  • 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. individual treshold adjustable for Start and Stop inputs
  2. Maximum MCS count rates of 400MHz
  3. Dwell time from 30ns for one channel or 60 ns for two channels up to 781h in steps of 10 ns or external
  4. No dead-time between channels, no double counting, no end-of-sweep dead-time
  5. Automatic sequential mode for up to 65536 sequential MCS spectra
  6. 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, range unipolar 0...+10V , 0...+8V, 0..2.5V, 0..2V, bipolar ± 5V,  ± 4V,  ±1.25V, ± 1V

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 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 or ECL seperately adjustable thresholds -2V ... +2V, 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 60 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 3.0:    (rear panel) Type A
Ext. Clock / RTC Reset: 2x BNC (rear panel)
Scalers: D-SUB 37 (rear panel)

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.
MCA4A Multichannel Analyzer (4ch) + dual fast MCS, int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA4A
MCA4A-MPA2 2 channel multiparameter version, 2 ADC inputs, incl. 2 RTC, MPANT Software MCA4AM2
MCA4A-MP44 4 channel multiparameter version, 4 ADC inputs, 4 RTC, Replay+Ex, MPANT Software MCA4AM4
MCA4A-1 Multichannel Analyzer (1ch), int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA4A1
MCA4A-2 Multichannel Analyzer (2ch), int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA4A2
MCA4A-3 Multichannel Analyzer (3ch), int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA4A3
MCA4A-4 Multichannel Analyzer (4ch), int. ADC (32k), MPANT Software MCA4A4
MCA4A-optMCS 2ch fast MCS, 30/60 ns dwell time option for MCA4A-x, included in MCA4A MCA4AMCS
MCA4A-optTAG TAG bit input, 8 bit, stored with ADC data MCA4ATAG
MCA4A-optRTC RTC 8 ns for one ADC channel MCA4ARTC
MCA4OV Option oven controlled oscillator for MCA4A MCA4AOV
MCA4CNT Counter / Scaler option for MCA4A, 48 bit, 8 channels, 2 are presettable MCA4CNT
MCA4UPDN Up- and downcounting option controlled by individual gate, requires MCA4CNT MCA4UPDN
MCA4ADLL DLL for LabVIEW, “C”, Visual Basic MCA4AS1
MCA4AReplEx Replay software for MCA4A incl. Dongle, included in MCA4M4 MCA4AS3
MCA4A-MPASW2 Multi parameter software for 2 channels, included in MCA4AM2 MCA4AS4
MCA4A-MPASW4 Multi parameter software for 4 channels, included in MCA4AM4 MCA4AS5