The Amptek PX5 interfaces between (1) an X-ray and gamma-ray detector with its preamplifier and (2) a computer running data acquisition and control software. Designed principally to support Amptek’s XR-100 series of SDDSi-PIN, and CdTe detectors, it can be used with many other radiation detectors and preamplifiers, including HPGe detectors and scintillators. It is compatible with both reset and feedback preamplifiers of either polarity. The PX5 includes (1) a high performance digital pulse processor (replacing a conventional shaping amplifier), (2) a multichannel analyzer, and (3) both low and high voltage power supplies (±HV).

The PX5 offers several advantages over traditional systems, including improved performance (very high resolution, reduced ballistic deficit, higher throughput, and enhanced stability), many more configuration options to optimize the system, and many communications and output options. The PX5 is based on Amptek’s latest generation of digital pulse processing technology, also used in the DP5 family of products.

The signal input to the PX5 is the preamplifier output. The PX5 digitizes the preamplifier output, applies real-time digital processing to the signal, detects the peak amplitude (digitally), and bins this value in its histogramming memory, generating an energy spectrum. The spectrum is then transmitted over the PX5’s USB, Ethernet, or RS-232 interface to the user’s computer.

The PX5 is compatible with both 32 and 64 bit operating systems, including Windows 10.

Features

  • Single unit compatible with all current Amptek SDD, Si-PIN, and CdTe detectors
  • Includes
    • Digital pulse shaping amplifier
    • Integrated multichannel analyzer
    • Power supplies
  • Supports detectors from other manufacturers, and both reset and feedback preamplifiers of either polarity
  • Trapezoidal, and new Cusp shaping with wide range of peaking times to optimize performance
  • High count rate capability with excellent baseline stability, throughput, and pile-up rejection
  • Up to 8k output MCA channels
  • Oscilloscope mode – DAC output for pulse monitoring and adjustment
  • 8 single channel analyzer outputs

Amptek PX5 Digital Pulse Processor, Front View

Amptek PX5 Digital Pulse Processor, Rear View

Figure 1. Front and back views of the PX5.

Block Diagram with PX5 and XR-100SDD Silicon Drift Detector
Figure 2. Block Diagram with PX5 and XR-100SDD Silicon Drift Detector
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Quick Reference

Features

  • Single unit compatible with all current Amptek SDD, Si-PIN, and CdTe detectors
  • Includes
    • Digital pulse shaping amplifier
    • Integrated multichannel analyzer
    • Power supplies
  • Supports detectors from other manufacturers, and both reset and feedback preamplifiers of either polarity
  • Trapezoidal, and new Cusp shaping with wide range of peaking times to optimize performance
  • High count rate capability with excellent baseline stability, throughput, and pile-up rejection
  • Up to 8k output MCA channels
  • Oscilloscope mode – DAC output for pulse monitoring and adjustment
  • 8 single channel analyzer outputs

Communications

  • Interfaces: RS-232, USB, Ethernet
  • Oscilloscope mode – DAC output for pulse monitoring and adjustment
  • Onboard µcontroller with 8051-compatible core
  • Many configurable auxiliary inputs & outputs available

Software

Power

  • High voltage bias adjustable ±100 V to ±1.5 kV
  • Thermoelectric cooler supply with feedback (2-stage cooler)
  • Operates from +5V DC supply (AC power adapter included)

Physical

  • Low Power: 3 W typical
  • Small Size: 6.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches (165 x 135 x 40 mm)
  • Light Weight: 1.6 lbs/750 g

Applications

  • X-ray and gamma ray detectors
  • Nuclear Instrumentation
  • Portable, battery operated systems
  • OEM & Special Applications
  • Process Control
  • Research and Teaching

Specifications

Specifications

Pulse Processing Performance

Gain Settings Combination of coarse and fine gain yields overall gain continuously adjustable from x0.75 to x516.
Coarse Gain 28 log spaced coarse gain settings from x1.00 to x413.
Fine Gain Adjustable between 0.75 and 1.25, 13 bit resolution.
Full Scale 1000 mV input pulse @ x1 gain.
Gain Stability <30 ppm/°C (typical).
ADC Clock Rate 20 or 80 MHz, 12 bit ADC.
Pulse Shape Trapezoidal or Cusp. A semi-gaussian amplifier with shaping time t has a peaking time of 2.4t and is comparable in performance with the trapezoidal shape of the same peaking time.
Peaking Times Software selectable peaking times between 0.05 and 102 µs, corresponding to semi-Gaussian shaping times of 0.04 to 42.5 µs.
Flat Top Times Software selectable values for each peaking time (depends on the peaking time), >0.05 µs.
Max Count Rate With a peaking time of 0.2 µs, 4 MHz periodic signal can be acquired.
Dead Time per Pulse 1.05x peaking time. No conversion time.
Fast Channel Peaking Times 20 MHz: 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 ns
80 MHz: 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 ns
Fast Channel Pulse Pair Resolving Time 1.2 x Fast Channel Peaking Time (minimum of 60 ns)
Pile-Up Rejection Pulses separated by more than the fast channel resolving time and less than 1.05x peaking time are rejected.
Baseline Restoration Asymmetric – 16 software selectable slew rate settings.
Rise Time Discriminator (RTD) The digital pulse processor can be programmed to select input pulses based on their rise time properties.
Gate The gate input is used with external circuitry to determine if events should be included or excluded from the spectrum. The gate can be active high or active low (or disabled).

MCA Performance

Number of channels Commandable to 256, 512, 1k, 2k, 4k, or 8k channels.
Bytes per channel 3 bytes (24 bits), 16.7 M counts.
Preset Acquisition Time 10 ms to 466 days.
Data Transfer Time USB: 1k channels in 4.8 ms; Ethernet 1k channels in 35 ms
Conversion Time None
Presets Time, total counts, counts in an ROI, counts in a channel.
MCS Timebase 10 ms/channel to 300 s/channel.
External MCA Controls Gate Input – Pulses accepted only when gated on by external logic. Input can be active high or active low.
Counters Slow channel events accepted by MCA. Incoming counts (fast channel counts above threshold), event rejected by selection logic, and external event counter.

Hardware

Microprocessor Silicon Labs 8051F340 8051-compatible core.
External Memory 512 kb low-power SRAM
Firmware Signal processing is programmed via firmware, can be upgraded in the field.

Communications

RS-232 Standard serial interface, 115 or 56 Kbaud.
USB Standard 2.0 full speed (12 Mbps).
Ethernet Standard 10base-T.

Connections

Analog Input (BNC) The analog input accepts positive or negative going pulses from a charge sensitive preamplifier.
Power +5 VDC. Plug mates with 3.5 mm x 1.3 mm x 9.5 mm female barrel, center positive, plug connector.
USB Standard USB mini-b jack.
Ethernet Standard RJ-45 Ethernet jack.
AUX-1 (BNC) Configured in software as (1) an analog output, to view shaped pulses or diagnostic signals, (2) a digital output, to view a discriminator output or diagnostic signals, or (3) a digital input.
AUX-2 (BNC) Configured in software as (1) a digital output, to view a discriminator output or diagnostic signals, or (2) a digital input, to gate or synchronize data acquisition.
AUX-3 (15 pin D connector female) Includes (a) the lines for a serial RS232 interface, (b) two lines which can be configured for digital inputs or outputs, (c) 8 single channel analyzer (SCA) outputs, and (d) a control line to command the power on or off remotely.

XR-100 Power: 6-Pin Lemo Connector

1 Temperature
2 Bias (up to ±1500V)
WARNING: Using the wrong polarity will destroy the detector and will NOT be covered under warranty. Always check that the correct HV polarity is set before turning on the PX5.
3 -8.5 or -5 VDC (software selectable)
4 +8.5 or +5 VDC (software selectable)
5 Cooler – (grounded)
6 Cooler + (2-stage cooler)
Ground on shield

Power

+5 V +5 VDC at 500 mA (2.5 W) typical. Current depends strongly on Tdet, ranging from 300 to 800 mA at 5 VDC.
Input Range +4 V to +5.5 V (0.4 to 0.7 A typical).
Initial Transient 2 A for <100 ns

Auxiliary Inputs and Outputs

The connectors bring out logic signals which are not required for the primary use of the PX5: acquiring spectra and transmitting them over the serial interface. These are generally “low level” logic signals associated with each pulse processed by the PX5; used for synchronizing the PX5 data acquisition to external hardware and for direct counter/timer outputs from the PX5. The signals are described below.
Single Channel Analyzers 8 SCAs, independent software selectable LLDs and ULDs, LVCMOS (3.3 V) level (TTL compatible).
Digital Outputs 2 independent outputs, software selectable between 8 settings including INCOMING_COUNT, PILEUP, MCS_TIMEBASE, etc. LVCMOS (3.3 V) levels (TTL compatible).
Digital Inputs 2 independent inputs, software selectable for MCA_GATE, EXTERNAL_COUNTER.
DAC Output Used in oscilloscope mode to view the shaped pulse and other diagnostic signals. Range: 0 to 1 V.
Digital Oscilloscope Displays oscilloscope traces on the computer. Software selectable to show shaped output, ADC input, etc., to assist in debugging or optimizing configurations.

General and Environmental

Operating Temperature -40 °C to +85 °C.
Warranty Period 1 year
Typical Device Lifetime 5 to 10 years, depending on use.
Long-term Storage 10+ years in dry environment.
Typical Storage and Shipping -40 °C to +85 °C, 10 to 90% humidity noncondensing
Compliance RoHS Compliant
TUV Certification
Certificate #: CU 72112987 01
Tested to: UL 61010-1: 2004 R10.08
CAN/CSA-C22.2 61010-1-04+GI1 (R2009)

Physical

Size 6.5” x 5.5” x 1.5” / 165 x 135 x 40 mm
Weight 1.6 lbs / 750 g

Digital I/O: 15 pin D connector (female)

1 Gnd
2 RS232 – TX
3 RS232 -RX
4 SCA 6 Out
5 SCA 5 Out
6 Gnd
7 Aux 3
8 Aux 4
9 SCA 8 Out
10 External Power On
11 SCA 7 Out
12 SCA 1 Out
13 SCA 2 Out
14 SCA 3 Out
15 SCA 4 Out
15 Pin Digital I/O Cable for PX5
15 Pin Digital I/O Cable for PX5

Figure 3. Photo of the I/O cable. Part number ACH-426.

Performance and Waveforms

PX5 Throughput vs. Peaking Time

PX5 Throughput with SDD
Figure 4. PX5 throughput for various peaking times. Taken with an Amptek XR-100SDD x-ray detector at full cooling.

PX5 Waveforms

PX5 Waveforms, From Preamp Output to Shaped Pulse
Figure 5. PX5 waveforms, showing from the preamp output to the shaped pulse etc.

PX5 Cusp Waveform
Figure 6. PX5 cusp waveform.

Operating Notes

PX5 Processing Chain

DPP Input and Output

High Voltage Jumper

WARNING: Using the wrong polarity will destroy the detector and will NOT be covered under warranty. Always check that the correct HV polarity is set before turning on the PX5.

The PX5 can produce both negative and positive high voltage. The polarity is set by the jumper seen below. Amptek Si-PIN and CdTe detectors require positive high voltage. Using negative HV will destroy the Si-PIN and CdTe and will not be covered under warranty. Amptek silicon drift detectors (SDD) require negative high voltage. Using positive HV will destroy the SDD and will not be covered under warranty.

PX5 with High Voltage Jumper Set to Positive for Si-PIN or CdTe Detectors
Figure 7. PX5 High Voltage jumper set to positive for Si-PIN or CdTe.

PX5 with High Voltage Jumper Set to Negative for Silicon Drift Detectors (SDD)
Figure 8. PX5 High Voltage jumper set to negative for SDD.

WARNING: Using the wrong polarity will destroy the detector and will NOT be covered under warranty. Always check that the correct HV polarity is set before turning on the PX5.

Software

DPPMCA

The PX5 can be controlled by the Amptek DPPMCA display and acquisition software. This software completely controls and configures the PX5, and downloads and displays the data. It and supports regions of interest (ROI), calibrations, peak searching, and so on. The DPPMCA software includes a seamless interface to the XRS-FP quantitative X-ray analysis software package. Runs under Windows XP PRO SP3 or later. Click here for the software download page.

dppmca_1

Software Developer’s Kit (SDK)

The PX5 comes with a free Software Developer’s Kit (SDK). The user can use this kit to easily write custom code to control the PX5 for custom applications or to interface it to a larger system. Examples are provided in VB, VC++, etc. Click here for the software download page.

VB Demonstration Software

The VB demonstration software runs on a personal computer and permits the user to set the PX5 parameters, to start and stop data acquisition, and to save data files. It is provided with source code and can be modified by the user. This software is intended as an example of how to manually control the PX5 through either the USB, RS232, or Ethernet interface using the most basic calls without the SDK. This is primarily needed as an example when writing software for non-Windows platforms. Click here for the software download page.