The paper presents the detector system developed by Datalist Systems, Ltd. (previously ANTE Innovative Technologies) for the NEAT-II spectrometer at HZB. We present initial concept, design and implementation highlights as well as the first results of measurements such as position resolution. The initial concept called for modular architecture with 416 3He detector tubes organized into thirteen 32-tube modules that can be independently installed and removed to and from the detector vacuum chamber for ease of maintenance. The unalloyed aluminum mechanical support modules for four 8-tube units each also house the air-boxes that contain the front-end electronics (preamplifiers) that need to be on atmospheric pressure. The modules have been manufactured and partly assembled in Hungary and then fully assembled and installed on site by Datalist Systems crew. The signal processing and data acquisition solution is based on low time constant (∼60 ns) preamplifier electronics and sampling ADC’s running at 50 MS/s (i.e. a sample every 20 ns) for all 832 data channels. The preamplifiers are proprietary, developed specifically for the NEAT spectrometer, while the ADC’s and the FPGA’s that further process the data are based on National Instruments products. The data acquisition system comprises 26 FPGA modules each serving 16 tubes (providing for up to 50 kHz count rate per individual tube) and it is organized into two PXI chassis and two data acquisition computers that perform post-processing, event classification and provide appropriate preview of the collected data. The data acquisition software based on Event Recording principles provides a single point of contact for the scientific software with an Event Record List with absolute timestamps of 100ns resolution, timing data of 100 ns resolution for the seven discs chopper system as well as classification data that can be used for flexible data filtering in off-line analysis of the gathered data. A unique 3-tier system of filtering criteria of events is in operation: a hard threshold in the FPGA’s to reduce the effect of noise, a pulse-shape based classification to eliminate gamma sensitivity and an additional flexible feature based classification to filter out pileup and other unwanted phenomena. This ensures high count rates (50kHz per tube, 1MHz overall) while maintaining good quality of measurements (e.g. position resolution). The first measurement results show that the delivered detector system meets the initial requirements of 20 mm position resolution along the 2000mm long detector tubes. This is partly due to the innovative event classification system that provides vital pulse shape data that can be used for sophisticated position resolution algorithms implemented on the DAQ computers.

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Physica B Condensed Matter
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2018
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