There is a new generation of high-speed programmable pulse digitizers available now from several vendors at modest cost. These digitizers in tandem with on-board or post-processing software combine to produce a Software-Defined Electronics (SDE) system that can be effectively used in several advanced physics teaching lab experiments. In particular, as we will demonstrate, they are particularly well suited for nuclear-physics related experiments, often replacing many analog electronics modules. Appropriate on-board SDE can generate full or partial integrals of the pulses, pulse-shape characterization (PSD) data, coincidence signal indication, fast timing, or other information. Likewise, external PC-based SDE post-processing software can readily be developed and applied by undergraduate students or instructors using one of several different software languages available: matlab, python, LabVIEW, root, basic, etc. As demonstrated here, an SDE-based system is a cost-effective substitute for many dedicated NIM or CAMAC electronics modules as this requires only a single digitizer module and a computer. A single digitizer with SDE is easily adapted for use in many different experiments. Applications of various high- and low-speed digitizers with SDE for many other types of physics teaching lab experiments will also be discussed.

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See supplementary material at https://doi.org/10.1119/1.5125128 for digitizer and SDE-related information including sample SDE programs.

Supplementary Material

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