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Multi-GHz Synchronous Waveform Acquisition With Real-Time Pattern-Matching Trigger Generation

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3 Author(s)
Kleinfelder, S.A. ; Univ. of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA ; Chiang, S.-H.W. ; Wei Huang

A transient waveform capture and digitization circuit with continuous synchronous 2-GHz sampling capability and real-time programmable windowed trigger generation has been fabricated and tested. Designed in 0.25 μm CMOS, the digitizer contains a circular array of 128 sample and hold circuits for continuous sample acquisition, and attains 2-GHz sample speeds with over 800-MHz analog bandwidth. Sample clock generation is synchronous, combining a phase-locked loop for high-speed clock generation and a high-speed fully-differential shift register for distributing clocks to all 128 sample circuits. Using two comparators per sample, the sampled voltage levels are compared against two reference levels, a high threshold and a low threshold, that are set via per-comparator digital to analog converters (DACs). The 256 per-comparator 5-bit DACs compensate for comparator offsets and allow for fine reference level adjustment. The comparator results are matched in 8-sample-wide windows against up to 72 programmable patterns in real time using an on-chip programmable logic array. Each 8-sample trigger window is equivalent to 4 ns of acquisition, overlapped sample by sample in a circular fashion through the entire 128-sample array. The 72 pattern-matching trigger criteria can be programmed to be any combination of High-above the high threshold, Low-below the low threshold, Middle-between the two thresholds, or “Don't Care”-any state is accepted. A trigger pattern of “HLHLHLHL,” for example, watches for a waveform that is oscillating at about 1 GHz given the 2-GHz sample rate. A trigger is flagged in under 20 ns if there is a match, after which sampling is stopped, and on-chip digitization can proceed via 128 parallel 10-bit converters, or off-chip conversion can proceed via an analog readout. The chip exceeds 11 bits of dynamic range, nets over 800-MHz -3-dB bandwidth in a realistic system, and jitter in the PLL-based sampling clock has bee- measured to be about 1 part per million, RMS.

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Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 5 )