Improved FPGA time-to-digital converter architecture to improve precision, converter linearity and reduce dead-time


Time-to-digital converters (TDCs) and time correlated single photon counters (TCSPC) are instruments commonly used in LiDAR systems, quantum optics experiments and many other applications. This work presents a new time-to-digital converter architecture to improve dead time, converter linearity and precision. The priority encoder is a large combinatorial logic circuit and is often the bottleneck in field programmable gate array (FPGA) TDC designs, as the conversion must complete within the TDC's clock period. This work utilizes a new dual clock domain architecture which has allowed for the TDC clock rate to increase by 38.1% from previous work and potentially double for more modern FPGA devices. This reduces the required delay line length and allows for more precise and linear converters as both integral non-linearity and measurement uncertainty scale according to the square root of the number of delay elements used in the delay line. Single shot precision has improved by 12.9% and converter differential non-linearity and integral non-linearity has reduced by 1.27 and 1.57 least significant bits respectively. This work demonstrates a significant improvement to the performance of FPGA based TDCs at the expense of using slightly more block random access memory.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Informatics and Digital Engineering > Electrical and Electronic Engineering
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Adaptive communications networks research group
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright 2020 SPIE. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited. Funding Information: This project has received funding from the ATTRACT project funded by the EC under Grant Agreement 777222.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Photon counting,Time correlated single photon counting,Time-to-digital converters,Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials,Condensed Matter Physics,Computer Science Applications,Applied Mathematics,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Publication ISSN: 1996-756X
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://www.spi ... 476.short?SSO=1 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Conference article
Published Date: 2020-05-26
Accepted Date: 2020-04-01
Authors: Nock, Richard W. (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8384-9621)
Sadik, Mala
Lu, Yang



Version: Published Version

| Preview

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record