Digitiser cards gain peak detection and statistical analysis functions

September 01, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Using established hardware-based data analysis and reduction technology, Spectrum (Grosshansdorf, Germany) has created new firmware options that allow its high-speed M4i series digitiser cards to perform peak detection and output the corresponding statistical data.

The M4i series cards offer real-time sampling rates of up to 500 Msample/sec with 14 bit resolution and 250 Msample/sec with 16 bit resolution. The new firmware options feature ultra-fast performance being able to scan blocks of data and then extract a waveform's minimum, maximum, average, peak positions and trigger time stamp information. The analysis can be made on waveform block sizes from as small as 32 samples to as large as 2 GSamples and, thanks to high-speed trigger circuitry with a dead time as low as 40 samples (80 nsec at 500 Msamples/sec), at rates of up to 5,000,000 events per second.

The M4i series cards are available with two or four channels and use a fast PCIe bus to transfer acquired or processed data to a host PC at speeds of up to 3.4 GB/sec. The Ethernet/LXI based digitiserNETBOX DN2.44x series with two, four or eight channels and up to 500 Msample/sec uses the same internal digitiser and can therefore also be equipped with the Peak Detection and Block Statistics option.

The company says that the new processing functions are suitable for applications where users need to detect and measure the maximum or minimum values of a pulse along with its timing information. Performing the analysis inside the FPGA of the digitiser produces no CPU load at all. The result is a data reduction process that can dramatically decrease the amount of data that needs to be transferred to the host PC, further reducing CPU demand and speeding up measurement times.

The Peak Detection and Block Statistics functions will be suitable in applications where users need to quickly characterise pulses or determine the time between them. Examples include RADAR, Lidar, Sonar, Ultrasound, Laser Ranging, Nuclear Physics, Power Glitch Monitoring and Component Testing.

The Peak Detection and Block Statistics option (-spstat) is available now on the M4i.44xx series of PCIe high-speed digitizers as well as on the digitizerNETBOX DN2.44x