We describe a hardware and software system that allows pulses from one or more x-ray microcalorimeter x-ray detectors to be converted into a histogram of x-ray energies in real time. The system identifies and rejects pileup and other corrupted pulses to an arbitrary degree, filters the pulses for noise in an optimal way, and determines the pulse heights. Pulses from multiple absorbers are processed in parallel and combined to provide a single histogram of counts vs x-ray energy.
This invention consists of a microcalorimeter x-ray detector which, for the first time, processes pulses from multiple detector elements in real time i n order to provide an energy-dependent spectrum with the maximum energy resolution achievable. Previous versions of the microcalorimeter x-ray detector used analog electronics which provided only a crude approximation to the energy resolution that a single detector element was capable of realizing. Alternative detectors have attempted to improve on this by digitizing and storing the output pulses from the analog portion of the detector and processing the data into energy spectra afterwards. The procedure, which applied to each detector element separately, required running a software sequence that eliminated pileup pulses, identifying pathological conditions of the superconducting electronics (flux jumps), constructing a digital filter, filtering the pulses, determining the pulse heights, and converting them into a calibrated histogram of counts according to energy. This invention starts with multiple complete single microcalorimeter x-ray detection elements, and, during the detection process, digitally performs the sequence of all of the above functions, in parallel and in real time, to produce a continuously presented single histogram of all the pulses according to energy.
It resolves pulse pileup, jumps in superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUID) quantum state, multiple detector elements differ in characteristics, criteria for pulse rejection subjective, and time consuming.