Brogna A.S., Balzer M., Smale S., Hartmann J., Bormann D., Hamann E., Cecilia A., Zuber M., Koenig T., Zwerger A., Weber M., Fiederle M., Baumbach T.

in Journal of Instrumentation, 9 (2014), C05047. DOI:10.1088/1748-0221/9/05/C05047


In this work we present a novel readout electronics for an X-ray sensor based on a Si crystal bump-bonded to an array of 3 × 2 Medipix ASICs. The pixel size is 55 μm × 55 μm with a total number of ∼ 400k pixels and a sensitive area of 42 mm × 28 mm. The readout electronics operate Medipix-2 MXR or Timepix ASICs with a clock speed of 125 MHz. The data acquisition system is centered around an FPGA and each of the six ASICs has a dedicated I/O port for simultaneous data acquisition. The settings of the auxiliary devices (ADCs and DACs) are also processed in the FPGA. Moreover, a high-resolution timer operates the electronic shutter to select the exposure time from 8 ns to several milliseconds. A sophisticated trigger is available in hardware and software to synchronize the acquisition with external electro-mechanical motors. The system includes a diagnostic subsystem to check the sensor temperature and to control the cooling Peltier cells and a programmable high-voltage generator to bias the crystal. A network cable transfers the data, encapsulated into the UDP protocol and streamed at 1 Gb/s. Therefore most notebooks or personal computers are able to process the data and to program the system without a dedicated interface. The data readout software is compatible with the well-known Pixelman 2.x running both on Windows and GNU/Linux. Furthermore the open architecture encourages users to write their own applications. With a low-level interface library which implements all the basic features, a MATLAB or Python script can be implemented for special manipulations of the raw data. In this paper we present selected images taken with a microfocus X-ray tube to demonstrate the capability to collect the data at rates up to 120 fps corresponding to 0.76 Gb/s. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl.