A flexible system-on-a-chip control hardware for atomic, molecular, and optical physics experiments

Year: 2021

Authors: Trenkwalder A., Zaccanti M., Poli N.

Autors Affiliation: 1 Istituto Nazionale di Ottica del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (INO-CNR), 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
2 European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy (LENS), 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
3 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia and INFN Sezione di Firenze, Università degli Studi di Firenze,
Via Sansone 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

Abstract: We have implemented a control system core for experiments in atomic, molecular, and optical physics based on a commercial low-cost board, featuring a field-programmable gate array as part of a system-on-a-chip on which a Linux operating system is running. The board features Gigabit Ethernet, allowing for fast data transmission and operation of remote experimental systems. A single board can control a set of devices generating digital, analog, and radio frequency signals with precise timing given either by an external or internal clock. Contiguous output and input sampling rates of up to 40 MHz are achievable. Several boards can run synchronously with a timing error approaching 1 ns. For this purpose, a novel auto-synchronization scheme is demonstrated, with possible application in complex distributed experimental setups with demanding timing requests.


Volume: 92 (10)      Pages from: 105103-1  to: 105103-15

More Information: We thank Jacopo Catani for fruitful discussions, borrowing equipment, and careful reading of the manuscript; Roberto Concas and Fabio Corti for machining and soldering a prototype buffer card; Giacomo Mazzamuto for help with github; and all members of the Quantum Gases Group at LENS, in particular, Leonardo Fallani and Daniele Tusi and the Yb team for testing the boards in their experiment. This work was supported by the ERC through Grant No. 637738 PoLiChroM and by the Italian MIUR through FARE Grant No. R168HMHFYM P-HELiCS. N.P. acknowledges support from European Research Council through Grant No. 772126 (TICTOCGRAV). The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
KeyWords: FPGA, Control System, Cold Atoms, Cold Molecules, Ultracold Quantum Gases
DOI: 10.1063/5.0058986