Neutrone diffractometer ND2012

a new electronics and control software

We developed a new electronics and control system for neutrone diffractometer DN-505 located in Laboratory of Neutrone Diffraction which is a part of Department of Solid State Physics on Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of Czech Technical University in Prague. Our system ND2012 completely replaces obsolete and already unreliable electronics of neutrone diffractometer DN-505.

The ND2012 was designed as distributed multiprocessing system with control panel in the form of MS Windows application which has the look similar to the original control panel of DN-505 and is equipped with additional enhacements. The PC running the neutrone diffractometry application is connected to the ND2012 electronics via Ethernet LAN. The ND2012 electronics may be completed either as standalone device with additional power supply or as three units wide rack mount module for embedding into Ortec NIM Bin.

The ND2012 electronics consists of three independent processing units with dedicated purposes placed on two PCBs. The mentioned processing units are counting CPU, movement CPU and communication CPU. Link from counting and movement CPUs to communication CPU is ensured via internal RS232C interfaces. For processing of complex measuring and movement commands exist between counting and movement CPUs also direct logical signals.

The counting CPU contains three independent 32 bit hardware counters for input and timing signals, 24 bit down counter for measurement timings, gate array for device configuration and independent critical timing, time base, power supply and input circuits. There are three possible measuring configurations (Time, Monitor or Integrator). The counting CPU can handle two input signals: Effect and Monitor (reference signal).

The movement CPU ensures processing of signals from incremental encoders and controls movement signal outputs for one selected axis of the four (A, I, C, K) at a time. There is also possible to connect remote control panel for axis selection and manual movement in both directions. Up to six regions of interest for automatic measuring may be choosen by contol panel.

The communication CPU receives commands from the host system running ND2012 control panel software. According to the command received from the host system via Ethernet LAN, the communication CPU sends corresponding commands to the counting and movement CPUs, processes their replies, forms results and sends them to the host system for interpretation. Two internal serial RS232C lines are used for communication with counting and movement CPUs.

The control panel of neutrone diffractometry application permits manual or automatic start of diffracometry experiment, selection of measuring mode (Time, Monitor or Integrator), definition of regions of interest, displaying the results in graphical form, saving the results to files and viewing saved results.

Control software of neutrone diffractometer


2EL Computer s.r.o., Bezrucova 788, 511 23 Turnov, CZ, Phone/fax: +420-481 321 889, Phone: +420-481 440 417, e-mail: