vDAQ

A revolution in microscope control. Powered by ScanImage®
MBF Bioscience > vDAQ

Product Overview

The vDAQTM is an all-in-one card and breakout box that’s engineered to provide the most advanced and dependable microscope control and data acquisition. Designed to work with ScanImage software, it can be used to control galvos, resonant scanners, Pockels cells, piezo objective positioners, stages, shutters and much more. Its breakout box greatly simplifies the wiring complexity of microscopes by eliminating the need for additional 3rd party DAQ hardware. The vDAQ is the control center for the most cutting-edge multiphoton microscopes, from customized DYI to leading commercial systems. The vDAQ is a lot of card for the money.

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Key Benefits

vDAQ is an all-in one data acquisition/control system platform designed for demanding microscope-based applications that require high bandwidth analog signal digitization combined with high accuracy analog output.

Combining various IO options onto a single FPGA platform enables low latency closed-loop control regimes. vDAQ includes a powerful Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGA for high-performance real-time processing of data. vDAQ is available in two configurations – Standard and High-Speed.

On-board DDR3 DRAM and a high-speed PCI Express host interface provide flexible options for storing and transferring high bandwidth data streams. vDAQ comes with required cables and breakout accessory for signal connections.

The High-Speed vDAQ  

The vDAQ is also available in an even higher sample-rate configuration. 

  • 2 PMT channels, sampled up to 2.7GHz, 12bit
  • Time correlated single photon counting with sub ns dead time
  • Simultaneous photocurrent integration and photon counting
  • Time demultiplexing with up to 32 bins for an 80MHz laser source

vDAQ is powered by a Xilinx Kintex UltraScale XCKU035 FPGA. The cutting edge UltraScale architecture is the first to offer ASIC-like clock distribution. Efficient routing resources facilitate higher device logic utilization to maximize computing potential.

Connection to the host PC is provided through a PCI Express Gen. 3 x4 interface, which offers up to 4 GB/s data throughput. vDAQsoftware supports 64 bit scatter-gather DMA data transfer.

vDAQ includes 4 GB of onboard DDR3 DRAM operating at 1600 MHz. Memory interface is capable of 12 GB/s throughput for local buffering of data.

vDAQ supports up to 4 PMT channels, sampled up to 125MHz, 14bit, synchronization to laser clock, 12 analog inputs, 12 analog outputs, and 32 Digital IO’s

High-speed Analog Input

vDAQ includes high-speed analog input channels accessible from SMB terminals on the rear connector panel of the PCI Express card installed in the PC. Channels support switchable input ranges and an optional low pass filter that can be enabled by software with a variable cutoff frequency. Table 1 details the specifications of the high-speed analog input channels.

Table 1:

Specification Unit  
Number of Channels   4
Channel Resolution  Bits 14
Sampling Rate Range MHz 62.5 - 125
Timing/Synchronization   Simultaneously Sampled
Input Range Vpp 0.5 - 2
Input Impedance Ω 50 
Low Pass Filter Cutoff Frequency MHz 1 - 63, FBW (Bypass)
Overvoltage Protection V ± 10

Precision Analog Input

vDAQ includes precision analog input channels accessible from BNC connectors on the breakout accessory. Table 2 details the specifications of the precision analog input channels.

Table 2:

Specification Unit  
Number of Channels   12
Channel Resolution  Bits 16
Max. Sampling Rate MHz 1
Timing/Synchronization   Simultaneously Sampled
Input Range Vpp 0.5 - 2
Input Impedance 50 
Overvoltage Protection* V ± 25

*Overvoltage Protection rating only valid when vDAQ is powered on

Precision Analog Output

vDAQ includes precision analog output channels accessible from BNC connectors on the breakout accessory. Table 3 details the specifications of the analog output channels.

Table:3

Specification Unit  
Number of Channels   12
Channel Resolution  Bits 16
Max. Sampling Rate  MHz 2
Timing/Synchronization   Independent
Output Range V ± 10
Output Current Drive mA 20

Digital Input/Output

vDAQ offers digital input/output lines divided into four groups. Two groups offer individual direction control for each line while the other two groups are group direction controlled. All DIO lines use 5V TTL logic level signaling. All digital lines are accessible from BNC connectors on the breakout accessory. Tables 4 and 5 detail the digital channel specifications.

Table 4:

Specification Unit Minimum  Typical  Maximum
Channels Per Group     8  
Direction Control     Independent  
Input Low Logic Level V     1.0
Input High Logic Level V 2.3    
Output Low Logic Level V   0.0 0.6
Output High Logic Level V 4.4 5.0  
Output Current Drive  mA -16   16
Absolute Voltage Range V -0.5   5.5

Table 5

Specification Unit Minimum  Typical  Maximum
Channels Per Group     8  
Direction Control     Group  
Input Low Logic Level V     0.8
Input High Logic Level V 2.0    
Output Low Logic Level V   0.0 0.8
Output High Logic Level V 4.0 5.0  
Output Current Drive  mA -24   16
Absolute Voltage Range V -0.5   6.5

Clock Synthesis

vDAQ includes an onboard clock synthesis module for synchronizing high-speed analog front end to external clock sources. An external clock source can be connected at the SMB terminal on the rear connector panel of the PCIe card installed in the PC. External clocks can be multiplied and delayed in 370ps steps. Table 6 details the specifications of the clock input.

Table 6:

Specification Unit  
Input Frequency MHz 1 - 425
Input Impedance Ω 50
Input Voltage Vpp 0.4 - 5.0

Compatibility Requirements

vDAQ requires a desktop PC with one PCI Express x8 slot. While a physical x8 slot is required, only x4 link width will be utilized. One six pin PCI Express power connector is required. Power capacity of PC power supply should also be considered when adding vDAQto a PC. vDAQwill draw 5 – 20 W depending on design loaded on FPGA. The host PC must run Microsoft Windows 10  or Windows 11 operating system.

 

Zong, W., H. A. Obenhaus, et al. "Large-scale two-photon calcium imaging in freely moving mice." Cell. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2022.02.017 

Download our product sheet here.

Data Sheet PDF

Versions of vDAQ

Feature Description

vDAQ

High-speed vDAQ

Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGA
12 Analog Inputs - 1MHz, 16bit
12 Analog Outputs - 2MHz, 16bit
32 Digital IOs
4GB DDR3 RAM
4GB/s data transfer rates
synchronization to laser clock
4 PMT channels, sampled up to 125MHz, 14bit
2 PMT channels, sampled up to 2.7GHz, 12bit
time correlated single photon counting with sub ns dead time
simultaneous photocurrent integration and photon counting
time demultiplexing with up to 32 bins for an 80MHz laser source

Who Is Using vDAQ?

vDAQ is used across the globe by the most prestigious laboratories. 

Cited in Peer Reviewed Scientific Publications

MBF’s software utility is underscored by the number of references it receives in the worlds most important scientific publications. See examples below: 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will my PC support the vDAQ?

The vDAQ requires a desktop PC with one PCI Express x8 slot. While a physical x8 slot is required, only x4 link width will be utilized. One six pin PCI Express power connector is required. Power capacity of PC power supply should also be considered when adding vDAQ to a PC. vDAQ will draw 5 – 20 W depending on design loaded on FPGA. The host PC must run Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. We also offer integrated PCs systems designed to run ScanImage with the vDAQ.

Can I control multiple microscopes with a single vDAQ card?

Yes.  As long as you have enough IO’s available, the same vDAQ card can control multiple microscopes.  You can even run more than one instance of ScanImage on a single PC.

What is the lowest clock frequency I can sync to?

The clock input can sync down to 1MHz.

Can I control the vDAQ using LabView or some other software?

Currently, the vDAQ can only be controlled using a Basic or Premium version of ScanImage.

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