ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer System

Spectrum Techniques


ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer System by Spectrum Techniques ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer System by spectrum techniques

This spectrometer system is designed for conducting a wide selection of spectroscopy experiments. The Advanced Lab features the ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer for PC's. This plug-in card contains up to 4096 channel MCA with storage buffer, computer controlled amplifier, high voltage, upper and lower level discriminators and multichannel scaling for half-life and decay studies.

The complete system includes a NaI(Tl) scintillation detector with lead shield and multi-position sample stand, a set of 8 gamma emitting radioisotope sources including an “unknown”, MCA software with ISOMATCH peak identification and a lab manual of experiments in gamma spectroscopy.

System Components

Ordering Information


ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer Hardware

Designed for spectroscopy applications, the ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer is available in 1024, 2048 and 4096 channel versions. The on-board preamplifier, amplifier and HV supply support standard scintillation detectors and multichannel scaling with Mossbauer control are included for decay and time related studies.

Measuring 9.5 inches in length, the ICS-PCI requires only a single PCI slot and is designed for installation in most types of PC compatible computers. For stability and low noise operation, critical power is regenerated on the card from the computer power using high efficiency converters. An on-board microprocessor acts as the master controller and data storage device, as well as the communication link directly to the PCI bus.

The integrated amplifier and high voltage are fully compatible with most standard scintillation detectors eliminating the need for special tube bases and external modules. For ease of setup and calibration, coarse gain, fine gain, high voltage, and lower and upper level discriminator settings are controlled directly from the PC. For operation with other types of detector systems such as HpGe, alpha spectrometers or single photon counting, computer controlled input selectors are provided to bypass the scintillation amplifier and allow direct access to the ADC or MCS input.

An optional sub-panel is available to gain access to Gate input, MSB output for Mossbauer control and custom control signals.

A high speed 6 usec. ADC offers excellent data throughput at high counting rates with minimal dead-time losses. Conversion gain may be changed via the software. Data from the ADC is stored directly in on-board memory for autonomy and high speed operation, freeing the host PC for other tasks.

ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer Software

ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer System Software by Spectrum Techniques

The ICS-PCI produces a high resolution, real-time live color display of spectral data with EGA or VGA graphics systems, running under DOS or Windows. Operation is intuitive using pull down menus and function buttons for the most commonly used commands and display options. When used in the pulse height analysis mode, the software offers full control of all features including preset live/real time, preset count, and unlimited regions-of-interest together with centroid, gross and net area calculations.

Hardware control of the amplifier, high voltage, ADC and input discriminators is also through function buttons for straightforward calibration and operation. To simplify identification of peaks, the cursor may be calibrated to read directly in energy units, using either a 2-point, or quadratic relationship to allow for detector non-linearity.

In addition to the on-board hardware data memory, a background spectrum may be collected over a long counting period and stored in the Background Buffer. The computed fraction is then subtracted from the data spectrum to remove the environmental background component from each measurement. Spectral files may transferred to disk for long term storage as binary files or in spreadsheet compatible ASCII format for exporting to other programs.

To aid in the identification of nuclides, the ICS-PCI contains a unique peak labeling feature named ISOMATCH. Providing the unit is accurately energy calibrated, the user may select a nuclide from the library and the corresponding characteristic emission lines are superimposed on the spectrum along with isotope and energy information. Using this feature, users may quickly check a spectrum and visually identify the emission components for each nuclide present.

ICS-PCI Integrated Computer Spectrometer Specifications


Physical: Single PCI card 9.5 inches in length includes preamplifier, amplifier, detector high voltage, up to 4096-channel depending on model, multichannel analyzer with data memory, LLD and ULD. Fully compatible with many scintillation detectors and commercial tube bases.

Data Input: BNC connector for direct connection to PMT anode signal. On-board relays to bypass amplifier for use with positive unipolar or bipolar signals from external amplifier for alpha/beta spectrometers, 0-8volt range. HV Output: MHV (or optional SHV) connector supplies positive 0-1280volt @ 1mA maximum current to power scintillation detector. High voltage is fully regulated and computer controlled in 2volt increments.

Amplifier: On-board combination preamp./amplifier for use with scintillation detectors and PMT's. Computer controlled coarse and fine gain from x1 to x160.

ADC: Fixed conversion 6usec. computer selected conversion gain from 4096 to 256 channels depending on model. Direct input accepts pulse peaking times of 0.5usec. to 10µsec. Includes dead-time correction when used in Live-time mode.

LLD & ULD: Independently computer controlled over entire input range. Operates prior to ADC for reduced system dead time.

Modes: MCA for pulse height analysis, or MCS for half-life decay or other time related studies.

Timers: Real-time or Live-time operation selectable in 1-second increments for PHA, or dwell times from 10msec. to 600sec. per channel in MCS mode. In Mossbauer mode, 100usec. to 500usec.

Data Memory: On-board dynamic RAM, 4096 channel x 3 Bytes for data, plus region-of-interest flag.

Deadtime: System dead-time is computed and displayed on screen during acquisition.

Power: Supplied from PCI computer bus. On-board regulated for stability and noise rejection.


System: Operates under Windows 98 and higher.

Display: 640x480 and higher. Vertical scale adjust from 64 to 16M and LOG display. Horizontal 4096 channels with expansion down to 32 channels.

Time Mode: Preset live-time or preset real-time selection. Both times are recorded and displayed.

Count Mode: Preset count mode for selected channel, peak channel or gross Region-of-Interest.

ROI'S: Multiple Regions-of Interest using color coding.

Integral: When cursor is in ROI, computes gross area, net area with end point averaging, centroid and FWHM.

Energy Cal: Autocal or manual 2-point linear, or 3-point quadratic converts cursor position reading directly to energy units. (Time units in MCS mode.)

Bkgd Buffer: Used to store background spectrum for time normalized background subtraction.

Subtract: Subtracts channel-by-channel time normalized data stored in Background Buffer from display data. Overlay: Overlays data memory spectrum with data in buffer.

Smooth: 3-point smoothing of displayed data. Does not modify data in on-board memory.

Control: Software control input selector, High Voltage, Amplifier Gain, Lower and Upper level discriminators, and ADC Conversion Gain.

File: Save or load data file and header information in binary or spreadsheet compatible formats.

Peak Report: Displays ROI data, centroid, FWHM, gross and net integrals, and header information in spreadsheet compatible format.

ISOMATCH: Isotope library text file with peak markers and labeling for overlaying on spectrum for quick isotope identification. Library may be edited and extended using word processor or text editor programs.

Channel Options:

ICSPCI1K 1024 channel Integrated Computer Spectrometer for PC
ICSPCI2K 2048 channel Integrated Computer Spectrometer for PC
ICSPCI4K 4096 channel Integrated Computer Spectrometer for PC


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