FPGA based time-to-digital converters

Richard W. Nock*, Xiao Ai, Yang Lu, Naim Dahnoun, John G. Rarity

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


    Time-to-digital converters are a key component in many photonics systems, ranging from LiDAR, quantum key distribution, quantum optics experiments and time correlated single photon counting applications. A novel efficient timeto- digital converter non-linearity calibration technique has been developed and demonstrated on a Spartan 6 LX150 field programmable gate array (FPGA). Most FPGA based time-to-digital converters either use post processing or have calibration techniques which do not focus on minimizing resource utilization. With the move towards imaging with arrays of single photon detectors, scalable timing instrumentation is required. The calibration system demonstrated minimizes block memory utilization, using the same memory for probability density function measurement and cumulative distribution function generation, creating a look up table which can be used to calibrate the sub-clock timing module of the time-to-digital converter. The system developed contains 16 time-to-digital converters and demonstrates an average accuracy of 21ps RMS (14.85ps single channel) with a resolution of 1.86ps.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationQuantum Technologies 2020
    EditorsEleni Diamanti, Sara Ducci, Nicolas Treps, Shannon Whitlock
    ISBN (Electronic)9781510634664
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2020
    EventQuantum Technologies 2020 - None, France
    Duration: 6 Apr 202010 Apr 2020

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
    ISSN (Print)0277-786X
    ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


    ConferenceQuantum Technologies 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright 2020 SPIE. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.


    • Photon counting
    • Time correlated single photon counting
    • Time-to-digital converters


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