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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Architecture and Implementation of OpenPET Firmware and Embedded Software.


OpenPET is an open source, modular, extendible, and high-performance platform suitable for multi-channel data acquisition and analysis. Due to the flexibility of the hardware, firmware, and software architectures, the platform is capable of interfacing with a wide variety of detector modules not only in medical imaging but also in homeland security applications. Analog signals from radiation detectors share similar characteristics - a pulse whose area is proportional to the deposited energy and whose leading edge is used to extract a timing signal. As a result, a generic design method of the platform is adopted for the hardware, firmware, and software architectures and implementations. The analog front-end is hosted on a module called a Detector Board, where each board can filter, combine, timestamp, and process multiple channels independently. The processed data is formatted and sent through a backplane bus to a module called Support Board, where 1 Support Board can host up to eight Detector Board modules. The data in the Support Board, coming from 8 Detector Board modules, can be aggregated or correlated (if needed) depending on the algorithm implemented or runtime mode selected. It is then sent out to a computer workstation for further processing. The number of channels (detector modules), to be processed, mandates the overall OpenPET System Configuration, which is designed to handle up to 1,024 channels using 16-channel Detector Boards in the Standard System Configuration and 16,384 channels using 32-channel Detector Boards in the Large System Configuration.

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