HDAWG-CNT Pulse Counter

The HDAWG-CNT Pulse Counter allows the analysis of up to 8 pulse trains in parallel, enabling event-based measurements, e.g. photon detection using photo-multiplier tubes, at a maximum count rate of 300 MHz. There are four distinct modes of operation and each channel offers an adjustable discriminator with a range of ±10 V. Measurement results from the pulse counters can be conveniently analyzed with the LabOne toolset, which features time domain and histogram display. Based on these counter values, branching conditions for the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator can be defined, enabling ultra-fast feed-forward loops for quantum error correction.

HDAWG-CNT Key Features

  • 4 or 8 counter modules1
  • 300 MHz maximum count rate
  • 4 modes: free-running, gated, gated free-running, and time-tagging
  • 4 or 8 signal inputs1 with adjustable discriminator level
  • Background subtraction using 2 counter modules
  • LabOne toolset to analyze counter measurements

HDAWG-CNT Upgrade and Compatibility

  • Option upgradeable in the field
  • Compatible with all other HDAWG options

HDAWG-CNT Applications

  • Quantum optics
  • Trapped ion experiments
  • Diamond N-V center experiments
  • Phosphorescence Lifetime Imaging (PLIM)

HDAWG-CNT Functional Diagram

HDAWG-CNT Description

The HDAWG-CNT Pulse Counter option enables the measurement of randomly distributed pulses. Each Trigger input of the HDAWG is linked to an individual counter unit and operates in one of the following modes:

  • Free-running mode: the counter runs repeatedly in configurable timer periods. At the beginning of each period the counter is reset to zero, and at the end, the accumulated number of counts is returned.
  • Gated mode: the counter is controlled by a gate input signal applied to one of the Trigger inputs. The counter is started at the rising edge of the gate signal. At the falling edge, the counter is stopped and the accumulated number of counts is returned.
  • Gated free-running mode: equal to the free-running mode with additional control by a gate input signal on one of the Trigger inputs. The counter operates only when the gate signal is high. Both the counter and the timer are reset when the gate signal is low.
  • Time-tagging mode: every event is individually recorded and transmitted to the host computer along with a time tag.

All modes feature background subtraction which takes into account measurement values from two separate counters. They also feature count integration over time. Via the 1GbE or USB 3.0 interface, the counter data can be streamed to the host PC where they can be analyzed using the LabOne toolset.

In combination with the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator, the HDAWG-CNT features advanced cross-triggering functionality for complex pulsed experiments in quantum optics. Each of the counters can be initialized and reset within AWG sequences, and vice versa; counter values can serve as a trigger and branching conditions in the sequence definitions.

HDAWG-CNT Specification

Number of counter modules 4 or 81
Signal inputs 4 or 8 SMA Inputs1, 32 DIO
Counter value depth 32 bit (4.29 Gcounts)
Maximum count rate 300 MHz
Time resolution 3.3 ns
Run modes free-running, gated, gated free-running, time-tagging
Signal input impedance 50 Ω / 1 kΩ
Signal input (discriminator) range –5 V to +5 V (50 Ω input impedance)
–10 V to +10 V (1 kΩ input impedance)
Signal input (discriminator) resolution <0.4 mV

1 Differs between HDAWG4, 4 output channel model, and HDAWG8, 8 output channel model

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