7-17 July 2018
Cape Town
Africa/Johannesburg timezone


The scientific program of the school has two main components: lectures and laboratory exercises. The lectures aim to give the students a general overview on real-time systems for physics applications or applications to related fields. The laboratory exercise gives the opportunity for the participants to get hands-on experience, to learn advanced technologies for data acquisition/processing techniques.

Preliminary schedule

July 7 - 17, 2018 (11 days)


The lectures will cover the following areas:

  • The history of detectors
  • Introduction to radiation instrumentation detectors
  • Programmable logic - FPGAs
  • Introduction to readout, trigger and control architectures
  • From resistor to high energy physics experiments
  • High speed signals, impedances, reflections and grounding
  • Waveform digitzing and signal processing
  • Photo, Geiger and silicon detectors
  • Introduction to networks
  • Unix shell basics
  • Introduction to the RCDAQ data acquisition system
  • Real-time data visualization and control using modern web technologies
  • Signal levels and bus standards
  • Raspberry Pi
  • HEP detectors – overview and examples
  • Instrumentation for harsh and severe environments
  • Application of fundamental physics in medicine
  • Detectors for astrophysics
  • Writing papers and preparing presentations – some hints

Laboratory Exercises

The exercises are of three types: first the two exercises on Thursday, second the four exercises on Friday and Saturday and last the voluntary FPGA workshop on Sunday July 8th. The two exercises on Thursday will be given parallel with half the students in each group, switching after lunch. Similarly, the four parallel half day exercises on Friday and Saturday will each be given to one quarter of the student group, again switching after lunch. This will allow all of the students to participate in all of the exercises.

Sunday July 8th 08:30-16:30

  • FPGA workshop: Practical exercises in FPGA programming (only about 20 students)

Thursday July 12th half day exercises

  • Raspberry Pi/RCDAQ: Practical exercises with a Raspberry Pi, the operating system Raspbian (Linux derivative) and a complete data acquisition program (RCDAQ).
  • Control using modern Web technologies: Practical exercises developing an experiment control server using a Raspberry Pi that can be accessed via a web browser.

Friday July 13th and Saturday July 14th half day exercises

  • HVcontrol: Use a Raspberry Pi and a dedicated HV-board to generate the high voltage for a Photo Multiplier Tube connected to a scintillator. This set-up is then used to record gamma radiation from different sources.
  • Waveform capture: Add a waveform capture module to the HV-control set-up to analyze pulse shapes and start time. Use a two PMT/scintillator configuration to extract position information
  • PET demonstrator: Exercises with a demonstration system for detectors and for the principles of Positron Emission Tomography
  • TimePix: Exercises with a silicon detector development board

IEEE NPSS and South African research agencies considers Women In Engineering an important initiative that should be strongly promoted. A special WIE event is scheduled for the afternoon and evening Wednesday July 11th.