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9 August 2016 Upgraded cameras for the HESS imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes
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The High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) is an array of five imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes, sensitive to cosmic gamma rays of energies between ~30 GeV and several tens of TeV. Four of them started operations in 2003 and their photomultiplier tube (PMT) cameras are currently undergoing a major upgrade, with the goals of improving the overall performance of the array and reducing the failure rate of the ageing systems. With the exception of the 960 PMTs, all components inside the camera have been replaced: these include the readout and trigger electronics, the power, ventilation and pneumatic systems and the control and data acquisition software. New designs and technical solutions have been introduced: the readout makes use of the NECTAr analog memory chip, which samples and stores the PMT signals and was developed for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). The control of all hardware subsystems is carried out by an FPGA coupled to an embedded ARM computer, a modular design which has proven to be very fast and reliable. The new camera software is based on modern C++ libraries such as Apache Thrift, ØMQ and Protocol buffers, offering very good performance, robustness, flexibility and ease of development. The first camera was upgraded in 2015, the other three cameras are foreseen to follow in fall 2016. We describe the design, the performance, the results of the tests and the lessons learned from the first upgraded H.E.S.S. camera.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


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