Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 5, 437–449, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/gi-5-437-2016
Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 5, 437–449, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/gi-5-437-2016

Research article 26 Sep 2016

Research article | 26 Sep 2016

A coincidence detection system based on real-time software

Sindulfo Ayuso1, Juan José Blanco1,2, José Medina1, Raúl Gómez-Herrero1,2, Oscar García-Población1,3, and Ignacio García Tejedor1,3 Sindulfo Ayuso et al.
  • 1Castilla-La Mancha Neutron Monitor, Space Research Group, Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Castilla-La Mancha, Avda. Buendía 11, 19005 Guadalajara, Spain
  • 2Physics Department, Space Research Group, Universidad de Alcalá, Ctra. Madrid-Barcelona km 33.6, 28871 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
  • 3Computing Engineering Department, Space Research Group, Universidad de Alcalá, Ctra. Madrid-Barcelona km 33.6, 28871 Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Abstract. Conventional real-time coincidence systems use electronic circuitry to detect coincident pulses (hardware coincidence). In this work, a new concept of coincidence system based on real-time software (software coincidence) is presented. This system is based on the recurrent supervision of the analogue-to-digital converters status, which is described in detail. A prototype has been designed and built using a low-cost development platform. It has been applied to two different experimental sets for cosmic ray muon detection. Experimental muon measurements recorded simultaneously using conventional hardware coincidence and our software coincidence system have been compared, yielding identical results. These measurements have also been validated using simultaneous neutron monitor observations. This new software coincidence system provides remarkable advantages such as higher simplicity of interconnection and adjusting. Thus, our system replaces, at least, three Nuclear Instrument Modules (NIMs) required by conventional coincidence systems, reducing its cost by a factor of 40 and eliminating pulse delay adjustments.

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Short summary
A new software coincidence method is shown which can be used to replace conventional coincidence detection with the same effectiveness. Our easy-to-build trial prototype has cost EUR 150 and replaces at least three conventional coincidence modules (over EUR 6000). This has allowed us to carry out experiments that we could not before because of the lack of resources. It detects coincidence, stores timestamp data and transfers them to a PC, allowing easier adjustments and simpler interconnections.