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A Topological Trigger System for Imaging Atmospheric-Cherenkov Telescopes

  • Schroedter, M.
  • Anderson, J.
  • Byrum, K.
  • Drake, G.
  • Duke, C.
  • Holder, J.
  • Imran, A.
  • Madhavan, A.
  • Krennrich, F.
  • Kreps, A.
  • Smith, A.
Publication Date
Aug 02, 2009
Submission Date
Aug 02, 2009
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A fast trigger system is being designed as a potential upgrade to VERITAS, or as the basis for a future array of imaging atmospheric-Cherenkov telescopes such as AGIS. The scientific goal is a reduction of the energy threshold by a factor of 2 over the current threshold of VERITAS of around 130 GeV. The trigger is being designed to suppress both accidentals from the night-sky background and cosmic rays. The trigger uses field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) so that it is adaptable to different observing modes and special physics triggers, e.g. pulsars. The trigger consists of three levels: The level 1 (L1.5) trigger operating on each telescope camera samples the discriminated pixels at a rate of 400 MHz and searches for nearest-neighbor coincidences. In L1.5, the received discriminated signals are delay-compensated with an accuracy of 0.078 ns, facilitating a short coincidence time-window between any nearest neighbor of 5 ns. The hit pixels are then sent to a second trigger level (L2) that parameterizes the image shape and transmits this information along with a GPS time stamp to the array-level trigger (L3) at a rate of 10 MHz via a fiber optic link. The FPGA-based event analysis on L3 searches for coincident time-stamps from multiple telescopes and carries out a comparison of the image parameters against a look-up table at a rate of 10 kHz. A test of the single-telescope trigger was carried out in spring 2009 on one VERITAS telescope.

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