GPS time synchronization in school-network cosmic ray detectors

Hans Gerd Berns, Toby H. Burnett, Richard Gran, R. Jeffrey Wilkes

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The QuarkNet DAQ card for school-network cosmic ray detectors provides a low-cost alternative to using standard particle and nuclear physics fast pulse electronics modules. The board, which can be produced at a cost of less than US$500, produces trigger time and pulse edge time data for 2 to 4-fold coincidence levels via a universal RS232 serial port interface, usable with any PC. Individual detector stations, each consisting of 4 scintillation counter modules, front-end electronics, and a GPS receiver, produce a stream of data in form of ASCII text strings in identifiable set of formats for different functions. The card includes a low-cost GPS receiver module, which permits time-stamping event triggers to about 50 nanosecond accuracy in UTC between widely separated sites. The technique used for obtaining precise GPS time employs the 1PPS signal, which is not normally available to users of the commercial GPS module. We had the stock model slightly custom-modified to access this signal The method for deriving time values was adapted from the procedure developed for the K2K long-baseline neutrino experiment, which was described previously in [1].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberN26-84
Pages (from-to)789-792
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record
StatePublished - 2003
Event2003 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record - Nuclear Science Symposium, Medical Imaging Conference - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Oct 19 2003Oct 25 2003


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