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Proceedings Paper

Design of a wireless sensor network with nanosecond time resolution for mapping of high-energy cosmic ray shower events
Author(s): Michael P. Frank; Sachin S. Junnarkar; Triesha Fagan; Ray H. O'Neal; Helio Takai
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Paper Abstract

We describe a low-cost, low-power wireless sensor network we are developing for high time-resolution (ns-scale) characterization of particle showers produced by ultra-high-energy (UHE) cosmic rays, to infer shower direction at sites where hard-wired data connections may be inconvenient to install. The front-end particle detector is a scintillator block monitored by a photomultiplier tube (PMT). We keep the sensor nodes synchronized to within 1 ns using periodic highintensity optical pulses from a light-emitting-diode (LED) overdriven at very high current (~30 A) in short (4 ns) bursts. With minimal optics, this signal is resolvable under free-space transmission in ambient light conditions at multi-meter distances using a high-speed avalanche photodiode (APD) receiver at each node. PMT pulse waveforms are digitized relative to this precise time reference on a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) using a Time-over-Threshold (ToT)/Time-to-Digital Converter (TDC) digitizer developed at BNL. A central server receives timestamped, digitized PMT pulse waveforms from the sensor nodes via Wi-Fi and performs real-time data visualization & analysis. Total cost per sensor node is a few thousand dollars, with total power consumption per sensor node under 1 Watt, suitable for, e.g., solar-powered installations at remote field locations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 April 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7706, Wireless Sensing, Localization, and Processing V, 770603 (26 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.852334
Show Author Affiliations
Michael P. Frank, Florida A&M Univ. (United States)
Sachin S. Junnarkar, Brookhaven National Lab. (United States)
Triesha Fagan, Florida A&M Univ. (United States)
Ray H. O'Neal, Florida A&M Univ. (United States)
Helio Takai, Brookhaven National Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7706:
Wireless Sensing, Localization, and Processing V
Sohail A. Dianat; Michael D. Zoltowski, Editor(s)

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