July 10, 2012

Building an Arduino Nanosecond Signal Delay

 During his time at the University of Auckland's laser laboratory, Jacob Martin built the electronics for a nanosecond transient absorption spectrometer. In his words:

This spectrometer will be able to excite molecules and then detect the excited state. Another laser will work out for how long the excited states are stable. This will be used to help research of photoactive molecules, made of nano particles that can convert sunlight into energy...

Jacob's work was to create the delay generator using Arduino-compatible hardware. He used a Freetronics EtherMega, (however a Freetronics Eleven would also have suited perfectly) and a custom-designed shield for the delay circuitry. It can generate delays of between 4 nanoseconds to 10 milliseconds. In doing this he saved the department over one thousand dollars. 

For more details, including an excellent description of the project - and the design files and Arduino sketches, visit Jacob's notes here. To get started with your own Arduino-based projects, consider our Freetronics Eleven - the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs:

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