In this work, a fast 32-bit one-million-channel time interval spectrometer is proposed based on field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The time resolution is adjustable down to 3.33 ns (= T, the digitization/discretization period) based on a prototype system hardware. The system is capable to collect billions of time interval data arranged in one million timing channels. This huge number of channels makes it an ideal measuring tool for very short to very long time intervals of nuclear particle detection systems. The data are stored and updated in a built-in SRAM memory during the measuring process, and then transferred to the computer. Two time-to-digital converters (TDCs) working in parallel are implemented in the design to immune the system against loss of the first short time interval events (namely below 10 ns considering the tests performed on the prototype hardware platform of the system). Additionally, the theory of multiple count loss effect is investigated analytically. Using the Monte Carlo method, losses of counts up to 100 million events per second (Meps) are calculated and the effective system dead time is estimated by curve fitting of a non-extendable dead time model to the results (τNE = 2.26 ns). An important dead time effect on a measured random process is the distortion on the time spectrum; using the Monte Carlo method this effect is also studied. The uncertainty of the system is analysed experimentally. The standard deviation of the system is estimated as ± 36.6 × T (T = 3.33 ns) for a one-second time interval test signal (300 million T in the time interval).
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.
A correlation measuring tool for an endogenous pulsed neutron source experiment is developed in this work. Paroxysmal pulses generated by a bursts of neutron chains are detected by a 10-kbit embedded shift register with a time resolution of 100 ns. The system is implemented on a single reprogrammable device making it a compact, cost-effective instrument, easily adaptable for any case study. The system was verified experimentally in the Esfahan heavy-water zero power reactor (EHWZPR). The results obtained by the measuring tool are validated by the Feynman-α experiment, and a good agreement is seen within the boundaries of statistical uncertainties. The theory of the methods is briefly initiated in the text. Also, the system structure is described, the experimental results and their uncertainties are discussed, and neutron statistics in EHWZPR is examined experimentally.