FPGA-based time-to-digital converters (TDCs) are required to be accurate, linear and fast, while at the same time employing a reduced number of resources. Pushing these requirements to the limit is challenging, although it is constantly required by many applications. This paper presents a dual-mode tapped-delay-line (TDL) —propagating 1’s and 0’s in alternating measurement cycles— architecture for an FPGA-based TDC that complies with the mentioned specifications. The dead-time of the proposed TDC is reduced to one system clock cycle by using a toggling input stage and a dual-mode counter-based encoder. To improve the TDC linearity, the TDL sampling sequence is tuned separately for each operating mode. The presented architecture employs a low-resources dual-mode combinatory encoder of one- and zero-counters to remove the bubbles and cover both operating modes. A dual-mode bin-width calibration has been carried out to improve the TDC performance in each mode. The proposed architecture has been implemented on a Xilinx Artix®-7 FPGA. Experimental results have shown a DNL within [-0.71 1.05] LSB and an INL within [-0.85 0.86] LSB for the propagation of 1’s. DNL and INL are within [-0.73 1.06] LSB and [-1.17 0.04] LSB, respectively, for the propagation of 0’s. The LSB size is 22.1 ps and the TDC precision is 22.35 ps. A comparison with recently published state-of-the-art FPGA-based TDCs is provided at the end of the paper.
|Journal||IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2021|