This is a quick notification to all users of the current DRS4 evaluation board.
As you all know, the DRS4 chip needs some calibration for each individual cell which corrects the offset and the non-equidistant width in time. While the first evaluation boards have been shipped without this calibration, the current version of the software implements a full amplitude and timing calibration. The offset correction reduces the noise of the board by almost an order of magnitude to below 1 mV RMS. The timing calibration using an on-board reference clock allows a timing accuracy in the order of 10 ps. To illustrate that the following two pictures show a reference clock signal before and after timing calibration:
The integral temporal nonlineairy at 5 GSPS before timing calibration is about 600 ps as can be seen by the jitter of the overlaid waveforms.
In order to do a timing calibration, the firmware revison 13297 or later is required. The current software package 2.1 contains an updated firmware, but unfortunately one needs a Xilinx download cable to flash this new firmware (see http://drs.web.psi.ch/download/ under "Software Versions"). If some people want an update but do not want to buy such a cable, we offer a free update at our institute (just the postage has to be paid). The old evaluation board (Rev. 1.0, plastic housing) can unfortunately not be updated.
After the offset calibration is made, there are small (~20mV) short spikes left. They probably come from some cross-talk between the USB interface and the analog part of the board. This is currently under investigation. If new updates become available, they will be announced in this forum.
April 27th, 2009,