The ELBE centre for high power radiation sources is such a cutting-edge facility operated by the research laboratory HZDR (Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf). ELBE utilises an electron linear accelerator to generate secondary radiation, such as positrons, neutrons, intense THz and IR pulses and Bremsstrahlung.
In the last two decades, ELBE’s engineers have successfully modified and extended the timing system to enable new experiments. On the other hand, maintenance of the timing system had become an increasingly challenging exercise, as parts of the system are using obsolete components.
A few years ago, HZDR decided to make ELBE’s timing system more homogenous by employing the Micro Research Finland (MRF) hardware platform. The latter will allow control-system engineers to adopt new and more complex trigger patterns easier.
This upgrade, which is currently in progress, will enable the parallel operation of two electron sources and future kickers to serve multiple end-stations at the same time. The selected MRF hardware enables low jitter emission of timing patterns and a long-term delay compensation of the distribution network.
Cosylab is currently in the final phase of development of the MRF-based upgrade at ELBE, in close cooperation with the HZDR engineering team, and plans to commission the system in 2022.
The Micro Research Finland hardware allows a modular approach to the timing system with a highly flexible topology. On the one hand, event master modules (EVMs) are responsible for timing-event generation and distribution; on the other hand, event receiver modules (EVRs) set the state of physical outputs based on received events.
We decided on using the MicroTCA form factor for the system hardware wherever possible, but certain user/experiment stations will use PCIe cards. The latter allows for up to 10 trigger outputs in a smaller package and are more cost-effective.
Each of the two ELBE injectors will have an event master module, generating an independent timing pattern, allowing for autonomous operation in separate beamlines and common emission into the ELBE accelerator.
Beam diagnostics, low-level frequency control (LLRF) and other devices that need coordinated triggering will be connected to the event receiver modules in several ways. The latter will be through MicroTCA backplane trigger lines, front panel output (if TTL level is needed) or through any of the Universal Modules that provide a variety of optical and electrical level triggers.
In MicroTCA EVR the number of external outputs is limited to 8 per module, four front panel TTL trigger signals and four signals from Universal Modules (two Universal Modules with two signals each). Nevertheless, Micro Research Finland extends the number of trigger signals via the rear transition module (RTM), where up to ten additional external trigger output signals (five Universal Modules) can be configured and routed.
The type of the input or output signal from the RTM is determined by the type of the Universal Input/Output (I/O) module selected, as shown in Figure 1.