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Ad-Hoc Networks of Readout ASICs for Reliable Detector Instrumentation (“Hydra I/O”)

Stage: Prototype

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a technique to create ad-hoc networks of readout ASICs with high reliability. 



The reliable implementation of readout ASICs for large detectors that require a large number of chips is a challenge, particularly in the event of individual ASIC failures. The repair or replacement of failed ASICS is especially challenging where chips are inaccessible, for example, in noble liquid particle detectors which require a large number of component chips that need to be individually addressed. Since the chips are placed into a sealed cryostat, communicating with them and repairing or replacing them is very difficult. 

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a technique to create ad-hoc networks of readout ASICs with high reliability. 

This invention, dubbed “Hydra I/O,” is a software-defined ad-hoc network of readout chips that can be reconfigured on the fly to route around failed components. In short, each ASIC is connected to its nearest neighbors on all four sides, and the dominant direction for shifting data toward the outside is configurable. Organization is not constrained to daisy chains and networks of arbitrary complexity can be constructed in an ad hoc way, so that single failed ASICs can be easily routed around. Hydra I/O is robust, highly reliable, and can be applied beyond noble liquid detectors to any system that needs a reliable network of mass components that can be communicated to individually.

This invention is also highly scalable. To date, a completed prototype contains about 100 ASICs. There are plans to reach 10,000 ASICS in 2021 and ultimately hundreds of thousands of ASICS for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) project.

Applications and Industries

Any application requiring large numbers of individual ASIC chips and where repair or replacement are challenging, for example:

  • Liquid noble detectors
  • Cryogenics electronics equipment
  • Auto emission control
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Personal digital assistants
  • 5G phased array antennas / Beam pointing

Benefits

  • Eases recovery of an ASIC failure (highly resilient and robust network)
  • Efficient topology to configure a large number of ASICS


Attachments

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