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High-speed Detectors at Diamond Light Source

OSL consultant Alan Greer is working at Diamond Light Source (DLS) in Oxfordshire UK to provide data acquisition and control software for new, high-performance detectors being developed along with collaborating institutions. The software is being developed using a data acquisition framework called Odin.

Odin will become an integral part of beamline controls at DLS, providing facilities for detectors with very high data rates. It allows the operation of multiple file writers running on different servers, working together to write a single acquisition to disk, all managed by a single point of control.

One of the first detectors using the Odin framework is Excalibur, the result of a collaboration between DLS and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which has been implemented on the X-ray Imaging and Coherence beamline (I13) at Diamond to make use of the small pixel size in coherence diffraction imaging.

Another new project using Odin is the Percival soft-X-ray image detector. The objective of the project is to develop a back-thinned CMOS detector which outperforms present soft- X-ray image detector technology, in terms of sensor size, noise, dynamic range and frame Image courtesy of Diamond Light Source rate. The size of this 13M pixel imager, and its 120 frames per second frame rate, impose challenging requirements for the data acquisition system.

Finally, the Tristan project at DLS is building a detector for time resolved experiments based on the Timepix3 chip. This chip (originally developed at CERN) enables a new generation of X-ray and radiation imaging technology. It has an array of electronics capable of processing individual photons. Unlike previous X-ray imaging detectors, the Timepix3 is capable of measuring simultaneously position, energy and time-of-arrival of every detected photon. Rather than collecting data frame-by- frame, the device generates a continuous stream of event data. Elsewhere at DLS, Observatory Sciences has been commissioned to prepare and present a training course on the techniques and software used by the Diamond Mapping Project, now known as Hardware Triggered Scanning.

The Mapping Project dates back to 2014, when Diamond decided to provide a unified software and hardware solution to several new and existing beamlines, in order to reduce the overall cost of ownership of these systems. The training being prepared by Observatory Sciences will ensure that these mapping techniques are more widely understood by the engineers and scientists working on the beamlines at Diamond Light Source.

Software for Astronomy and Physics Projects