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26 May 2020 Improved FPGA time-to-digital converter architecture to improve precision, converter linearity and reduce dead-time
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Abstract
Time-to-digital converters (TDCs) and time correlated single photon counters (TCSPC) are instruments commonly used in LiDAR systems, quantum optics experiments and many other applications. This work presents a new time-to-digital converter architecture to improve dead time, converter linearity and precision. The priority encoder is a large combinatorial logic circuit and is often the bottleneck in field programmable gate array (FPGA) TDC designs, as the conversion must complete within the TDC’s clock period. This work utilizes a new dual clock domain architecture which has allowed for the TDC clock rate to increase by 38.1% from previous work and potentially double for more modern FPGA devices. This reduces the required delay line length and allows for more precise and linear converters as both integral non-linearity and measurement uncertainty scale according to the square root of the number of delay elements used in the delay line. Single shot precision has improved by 12.9% and converter differential non-linearity and integral non-linearity has reduced by 1.27 and 1.57 least significant bits respectively. This work demonstrates a significant improvement to the performance of FPGA based TDCs at the expense of using slightly more block random access memory.
© (2020) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Richard W. Nock, Mala Sadik, and Yang Lu "Improved FPGA time-to-digital converter architecture to improve precision, converter linearity and reduce dead-time", Proc. SPIE 11386, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XIV, 1138605 (26 May 2020); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2558476
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KEYWORDS
Clocks

Field programmable gate arrays

Computer programming

Logic

Calibration

Imaging systems

Signal processing

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