High Resolution Time-to-Digital Converters Implemented on 40, 28 and 20 nm FPGAs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Min Zhang
  • Keyuan Yang
  • Zheng Chai
  • Hai Wang
  • Weimin Bao


This work proposed the implementations of high-resolution Time-to-Digital Converters (TDCs) on field-programmable gate array (FPGA) platforms with different manufacturing technologies: 40 nm Virtex-6, 28 nm Kintex-7 and 20 nm Kintex UltraScale. The Large-Scale Multi-Phase Matrix (LSPM) structure is employed, which is different from the commonly used delay line structure. Experimental results have proved that all the three implementations have achieved competitive resolution. Particularly, the Kintex-7 LSPM-TDC has achieved a resolution of 1.29 ps, ranking among the best performing FPGA-based TDCs. The dynamic ranges of the Virtex-6, Kintex-7 and Kintex UltraScale TDCs are 22s, 11s and 18s respectively. The LSPM-TDCs implemented on Virtex-6, Kintex-7 and Kintex UltraScale have demonstrated equivalent dynamic range as the state-of-the-art FPGA-based TDCs, but without using the “two-stage” method which worsens the precision. Moreover, experiment and comparison between implementations with different manufacturing technologies are provided. With the technology advances from 65 nm to 28 nm, steady improvements in resolution are acquired. However, the 20 nm Kintex UltraScale performs not as good as the 28 nm Kintex-7. Experimental results also demonstrate that the phase noise and dynamic power consumption are reduced in platforms with more advanced technology. The discussion of routing delay and jitter of the reference clock provides reference for FPGA designs.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Oct 2020