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High Speed Data Measurer for use with Quantum Cryptography and Laser Range Detector

By Michael Noone KanKan Yu Charles Ruiz



Objective Applications

Technology Cost Analysis Conclusion Q&A


High Speed Data Measurer used as a component for a Laser Range Finder and Quantum Random Number Generator. Combination of high speed circuit design, optics, and control logic to produce a Laser Range Finder.


High Speed Data Measurer

Laser Range Finder Quantum Random Number Generator

Computer Imaging Systems Single use distance detector For use with Quantum Cryptography

Laser Range Finder

Random Number Generator


Design and build a high speed timing circuit

Must find the time between rising edges of pulses Accurate to approximately 50ps

Interface timing circuit to computer Write control software to interpret data from timing circuit Design and build laser range finder using timing circuit

Use time of flight range finding technique Use high speed laser driver Use high speed receiver

Receiver should filter out all wavelengths except for that of the laser used

Design and build a scanning mechanism that rotates the laser rangefinder skill in one or two axes


Project Construction

Cadsofts Eagle for schematic design and PC board layout Advanced Circuits and ECE shop for board layout Parts ordered from:

Transducers Direct (timer chips) Digi-Key Mouser Newark ECE shop Professor Kwiat

Circuit boards hand soldered

Hakko 936-12 ESD safe iron Kester no clean flux pen Kester no clean solder fine tweezers for component placement

In a nutshell
Scanning Mechanism

Laser Optics

Laser Driver Circuit

Detector Circuit

Timing Circuit

Control Module

Laser Driver Objective & Parameters


Drive the Laser Diode with crisp square pulses

High Speed Data In Quick Rise and Fall Time Drive 90 mA for Laser Diode Low Noise


Laser Driver Circuit Concept Art

Board Layout

Final Product

Transmit Optics (Complete)


Collimated beam Optimum power match up with laser driver Wavelength matching up with receiver optics Fast rise time

Receiver Optics (Incomplete)


Detection of scattered beam from object and discrimination of ambient light. Accurate and constant time spent on sending signal to timing circuit. Fast rise and fall times that allow for higher precision in laser range finder.

Optics Results

Timing Circuit Objectives

Circuit that can measure time lapsed between rising edges of two pulses To be used for measuring time of flight of laser pulses

Measure the time span between outgoing laser pulse and incoming received laser pulse Goal is 1cm resolution Needs to measure time span between pulses all on the same line Needs approximately 200ps resolution. Needs to be ready for a new sample within about 20ns of receiving previous sample

For quantum cryptography random number generator:


For Laser scanning circuit, we want 1cm resolution

Speed of light is 299792458 m/s Thus, we theoretically need resolution of .01 * 2 * 299792458 m/s = 67ps

This makes assumption all other components are perfect Since all components are not perfect we need better than 67ps resolution

For Prof. Kwiats quantum cryptography circuit, we need about 200 ps resolution, so this easily falls within laser range finder design parameters

Timing Circuit Considered

Discrete timing circuit Acam TDC-GP2 Acam TDC-GPX

Discrete Timing Circuit

Start signal latched D-latch so that mosfet turns on, charging C through an RC circuit Stop signal un-latches D-latch so that mosfet turns off, stopping the charging of C ADC then reads in voltage across capacitor, and then can find amount of time spent charging capacitor by extrapolating it from Vc = 5 * (1-e^(t/(RC) ) ) Unfortunately, propagation delay and gate capacitances of components completely destroys accuracy and resolution of such a circuit

Discrete Timer Schematic

Acam TDC-GP2

Special purpose timing chip designed to measure the amount of time that elapsed between a start pulse and a stop pulse Somewhat low cost - $28/chip 50 ps resolution Very small QFN 32 package Fairly simple external components needed SPI interface

Runs at up to 25MHz Would take approximately 1s to read out data

Fast enough for laser range finder Too slow for random number generator


Special purpose timing chip designed to measure the amount of time that elapsed between a start pulse and a stop pulse High cost - $187/chip 10 ps resolution 100 TQFP package Very complicated external components needed High speed parallel interface

Easily fast enough for both random number generator and laser range finder

Final Decision

Our choice:

We chose to use the Acam TDC-GPX Though the other two circuits considered would have been considerably easier to design, build, and debug, this was the only way for us to meet Prof. Kwiats needs
Ultra clean power supply Minimal part count Parts with small footprints Singled ended and differential start and stop signals

Parameters for TDC-GPX schematic design:

Final schematic:

Parameters for TDC-GPX board design

Maximize size and integrity of ground plane Minimize noise on signal traces Minimize all trace lengths, especially signal and analog traces Traces that have to cross over each other should be perpendicular Match impedances and trace lengths of differential signals

Final board design

Final board top

Final board bottom

Final PCB Top

Final PCB Bottom

Control Module (Complete)


Provide successful start up of laser driver and TDCGPX. Provide successful interaction between the laser driver and the TDCGPX. Program onto a Spartan-3 for this interaction Serial communication with computer to send timing information.

Control Module -- Timing Circuit Pseudo Code &Laser Driver State Diagram

Laser Driver State Machine

High State

Bump Edge Counter (Rising)

00 Error Code Fail State

Low State

Laser Shutdown State

Start Over

Bump Edge Counter (Falling)

10 Pulses sent stage

Process Data

Control Module Results

Cost Analysis Software (COCOMO)

Effort Adjustment Factor (EAF) Rating : 1.14 Organic Software Project

Coefficient a = 2.4 Exponent b = 1.05

Size of software = 6 K Lines of Code Effort = [ a (Size)b ] (EAF) = 17.95 person-months Software Development time = Effort/people = 4.49 months 4.49 months * (60 hours/month labor) ($ 60 / hour) (3 people)

Labor Cost = $ 48.5K Without Makelas proposed 2.5 estimation factor

Cost Analysis Hardware Costs and Labor

Parts Cost : $377.33

Basic Electronic Components (Resistors, Capacitors, etc) - $35.00 TDX-GPX - $187.00 Vertical SMA Connector $5.94 Circuit Board - $33.00 Photodiode - $6.14 Laser Diode - $5.00 Spartan 3 FPGA - $100.00 AND 2870 - $5.25 (160 hours) ( $60/hour) (3 people) Labor = $28.8K

Hardware Labor Costs and Estimation

Total Costs = Software Labor + Hardware Labor + Parts = $77677.33

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

-- Winston Churchill


Laser Driver Circuit Design and Layout Transmit Optics Timing Circuit Control Module


Laser Driver Circuit High Speed Circuit Extremely Sensitive Receiver Optics Breadth of work needed to build a proper receiver circuit was underestimated. Misrecognition of primary task. Failure to identify primary task within time frame to allow successful completion of this portion of the project. Timing Circuit Complex Circuit Research Complex Board Layout High Speed Circuit

Special Thanks
Special thanks goes to:

Professor Kwiat Evan Jeffrey Mark Smart Dr. Peter Dragic Dr. Stephen Bishop Michael Zhang

Question and Answer