Design and Fabrication of the ASoC: a System-on-Chip Data Acquisition System

Period of Performance: 02/17/2016 - 11/21/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nalu Scientific, LLC
2800 Woodlawn Dr. Array
Honolulu, HI 96822
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The detection of individual charged particles, photons and neutrons and estimation of their properties, momentum and direction of arrival is the basis for a wide range of scientific and commercial applications from high-energy, nuclear and astro- physics to medical imaging and diagnosis. Nalu Scientific is targeting the data acquisition market for medium to large size scientific experiment in Nuclear Physics, High Energy Physics and Astrophysics. These experiments require hundreds to thousands of recording channels capable of fast data acquisition and signal processing. The rapid processing allows timing resolutions in the order of 10s of picosecond which will translate to highly accurate estimation of charged particles and their tracks. This mandates design and development of Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) to highly integrate functionality and performance and bring the cost per channel down. Especially, low cost, low power design are attractive for experiments with thousands of recording channels. Nalu Scientific propose to design and make commercially available the “ASoC”: a low-cost, low power and high density System-on Chip (SoC) capable of analog signal conditioning, 4 Gigasample/sec waveform sampling and integrated readout and signal processing capabilities. The ASoC device will also have a deep sampling buffer making it suitable for large Nuclear Physics experiments with potentially long trigger delays. Design and development of the advanced ASoC chip which is built based on the existing IRSX chip by integrating into one SoC (i) analog signal conditioning circuits, (ii) an optimized version of IRSX, and (iii) digital readout and signal processing block capabilities (triggering, sparsification and data reduction). The outcome will be a full design ready for submission to a semiconductor fab house for fabrication. There is a need to detect basic science and other engineering and medical phenomena that takes place in the picosecond range. Nalu Scientific’s solution to this offers a low-cost, low power method usable for physicists. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: This device can be used by scientists in high energy and nuclear physics experiments for fast analog data acquisition. Also, it has applications in general purpose instrumentations and medical imaging. Nalu Scientific anticipates to be able to sell the device as an OEM manufacturer or license it to a larger device manufacturer due to the low cost and low power nature of the design which will give us a competitive edge.