2015 FNAL-UC Abstract: LArIAT Firmware Trigger Upgrades

LArIAT Firmware Trigger Upgrades 
J. Zhu – student (Naperville North High School) 
W. Flanagan – mentor (Fermilab)  
Liquid argon time-projection chambers (LArTPCs) are one of the most most promising detectors for neutrino physics, offering beautiful bubble-chamber resolution images of tracks in addition to computerized 3D position and energy dissipation data. Fermilab's LArIAT project, Liquid Argon In A Testbeam, aims to profile such a detector, using several beamline detectors to match particles to their TPC tracks. This summer, I worked with Will Flanagan and the LArIAT team to improve the trigger system, an FPGA firmware module which signals when to record TPC data based on user-set patterns. I chiefly worked on expanding the possible number of input signals to the firmware, from 16 to 32 inputs, allowing more detectors to be simultaneously monitored, such as the newly installed Cherenkov counters and aerogel cosmic coincidence detectors. I created a testbench simulation of the code to automate integration testing, by replicating the top-level module. Future tasks include fuller utilization of some unused features, including a pipeline of detected patterns and a total pattern count, to improve offline debugging and simplify event matching, as well as the implementation of an internal prescaled pulser. 
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