A VLSI System-on-Chip for Particle Detectors.
[Tesi di dottorato]
In this thesis I present a System-on-Chip (SoC) I designed to offer a self-contained, compact data acquisition platform for micromegas detector monitoring. I carried on my work within the RD-51 collaboration of CERN. With a companion ADC, my architecture is capable to acquire the signal from a detector electrode, process the data and perform monitoring tests. The SoC is built around on a custom 8-bit microprocessor with internal memory resources and embeds the peripherals to be interfaced with the external ADC. Peripherals implement in hardware threshold checking, pedestal suppression, waveform recording and histogram building. The CPU has some attractive features for real-time applications: high working frequency, constant instruction execution time, short and fixed interrupt latency and a tiny logic footprint. The processor makes it possible to execute in software additional off-line data processing, such as averaging, FWHM calculation and peak finding. It includes an 8-bit IO bus for interfacing with external logic and a UART for RS232 communications. The architecture is fully portable to any technology for the implementation of digital circuits (e.g. VLSI CMOS or FPGAs). In fact, I implemented and tested a prototype in a Virtex-II Xilinx FPGA and I completed the layout of a standard-cell CMOS 90nm version of system. The performance in terms of clock frequency and logic resource occupation are discussed in the view of the deployment of the system with the detector and of the development of a multi-channel version of the system.
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