ALBA Synchrotron

ALBA Synchrotron

(Image Source:

A digital LLRF system has been developed for the ALBA synchrotron storage ring and booster cavities using Nutaq’s VHS-ADC high speed ADC FPGA board.

The ALBA synchrotron is a 3rd generation synchrotron light source, designed to produce x-rays, located near Barcelona, Spain.

Synchrotrons like ALBA form a category of particle accelerators where the radiation emitted from high energy particles serves to enable materials analysis and research in areas such as chemistry, materials sciences, biology, and crystallography.

The key components of this 268 meter circumference synchrotron include:

  1. The linear accelerator where the particles are generated and initially accelerated.
  2. The booster ring where the particles are further accelerated up to a particular energy threshold.
  3. The storage ring where the particles circulate until needed for experiments, while experiencing some level of decay.

The RF System of the ALBA Synchrotron

A key aspect of any particle accelerator is the RF system. The main purpose of this system is to give energy and focus to the generated beam.

At ALBA eight RF systems were installed including one in the booster ring and six in the storage ring (as well as one in the RF lab). Each RF system consists of an RF amplifier, a waveguide system, an RF cavity and a digital LLRF system for field regulation (see image below). The field regulation supplied by the LLRF system maintains the amplitude and phase of the RF field as well as the resonance frequency of the cavity in order to compensate for effects including fluctuations in the high voltage power supply and temperature variations.

Digital LLRF Scheme

Digital LLRF System (Image source:


Nutaq’s VHS-ADC Chosen for ALBA Synchrotron LLRF System

Nutaq's VHS-ADC for digital LLRF

Nutaq’s VHS-ADC High Speed ADC FPGA Board

Nutaq’s VHS-ADC was chosen for the digital LLRF section of the ALBA synchrotron, both in the booster and storage rings. The VHS-ADC is a high-speed, multichannel acquisition advanced development platform, equipped with eight 105 MSPS phase-synchronous A/D converters and a high-capacity Virtex-4 FPGA. The signal processing done within the FPGA was based on IQ demodulation techniques.

Find details about the ALBA synchrotron and the Nutaq VHS-ADC LLRF solution here: