University / Research / Education

University of Oklahoma
Advanced Radar
Research Center

Storm Research
The University of Oklahoma Advanced Radar Research Center and the National Severe Storms Laboratory are working together to develop a cylindrical polarimetric phased array radar system to discover novel methods for observing severe weather and aircraft using flexible digital phased array techniques. Many XEM6310s provide reliable, high-bandwidth links from control computers to an array of custom-built radar transceivers to transfer commands and real-time radar data.The combination of low-level FPGA interface control and neatly abstracted USB 3.0 host communication provides an ideal development environment for our fast-paced research needs.
Washington University
in St. Louis

CSE 260 Course
Classroom – Dr. Viktor Gruev was Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University when he taught CSE 260 Introduction to Digital Logic. Students were introduced to modern logic design to construct digital systems and used the Opal Kelly XEM6310 and EVB1005 CMOS Image Sensor Module in the lab portion of the course. Dr. Gruev is now at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.In the laboratory sessions, students gain hands-on experience with design tools and writing hardware description language (VHDL). They will also write state machines and use them to interface to the 5 Mpixel image sensor on the EVB1005.
University of Stuttgart
Diamond Group
Research – In the Diamond Group at the University of Stuttgart (Germany), we are developing building blocks of future quantum computers. We envision a quantum computer built out of individual impurity defects in the otherwise perfect diamond crystal lattice. The defect’s electron spins serve as “quantum bits”. Compared to other approaches such as ultra-cold atoms, superconducting circuits, etc., our setups are charmingly simple.However, the precise control of the quantum bits requires accurately timed laser and microwave pulses, as well as the detection of single photons with a timing resolution well below a nanosecond. With their ready-to-go C++/Python software library, Opal Kelly FPGA development kits have been the enabling technology for us to perform these tasks within a single versatile, flexible and extendable platform. Their technology has been key to our success and puts us a step ahead from other leading research teams around the world.

TimeTagger 200 Brochure

Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory
XEM3001, XEM3010, XEM3050
Research – Chi H. Pham uses Opal Kelly FPGA modules in the Space Department at JHU/APL for space environment simulation, testing hardware to ensure the systems and parts survive in space. “Using the Opal Kelly modules has helped me to create and generate various inputs into both systems and parts while they’re being exposed to the space environments.”Research – JHU/APL uses Opal Kelly modules for initial prototype development. Many of the applications ultimately require one-time programmable FPGAs, but these are very inconvenient for prototyping. Instead, we spin a simple PCB and plug an Opal Kelly board into it to test options for event logic and find quirks with other devices we expect to use. We’ve also used Opal Kelly modules as an interface converter – for example LVDS to USB.

Classroom – The graduate level class distributes boards to pairs of computer science graduate students. After a few simple labs, like counters, each pair designs a cryptographic accelerator on the FPGA. The idea is to expose students, already familiar with software solutions, to other possibilities (such as FPGAs) for computer security applications.

University of Adelaide,
South Australia

Dept. of Electronic Engineering
Shuttle LX1
Research – We have been using Opal Kelly boards as a data acqusition interface to go from ADC convertes to the PC. The large RAM has been particularly useful to buffer large amounts of data. Projects have included capturing data from ADC’s for radar appliactions and GPS RF front-end chips.Classroom – The Opal Kelly boards have been ideal for post-graduate students enabling them to quickly set up data acqusition systems. The example code and supporting software provided is easy to use and understand and allows beginners to set up a data acqusition system relatively quickly and simply, as well as teaching them valuable coding skills.

“We recently acquired a Shuttle LX1 (XEM6006) from Opal Kelly that our graduate students are using for Research and Development. We like the provided memory test and RAM test, which are very useful starting points for capturing data from the ADC. We have found Opal Kelly modules are one of the quickest to get up and running – the FrontPanel interface is relatively simple and allows us to quickly set up systems.” said Matthew Trinkle, Research Engineer.

Yale University
Electrical Engineering Department
XEM3001 Case Study
Research – The Electrical Engineering Department at Yale is focused primarily on biological research. They use Opal Kelly FPGA modules and FrontPanel software to interface, control, abstract data, and collect data from a variety of devices. (e.g., interfacing biosensors with computers and recording optical neural readings.)Classroom – Opal Kelly modules are used for teaching in undergraduate classes at Yale in the VHDL class that teaches programming for FPGA and in other digital courses, where students learn to program the module to operate as a digital circuit.

“The Opal Kelly infrastructure makes it easy for even a beginner to use it. It is useful in the classroom where undergraduate computer science and engineering majors use it for hands-on learning,” said Eugenio Culurciello, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, Yale University.

An Integrated Patch-Clamp Potentiostat with Electrode Compensation
A Low-Power Silicon-on-Sapphire Tunable Ultra-Wideband Transmitter

University of Michigan
Solid State Electronics Lab
Research – David Wentzloff, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department finds the XEM3001 modules very useful and treats them as an essential piece of bench-top test and measurement equipment, like a power supply or scope. They currently use the XEM3001 for research and to control custom chips and acquire data.Energy Efficient Pulsed-UWB CMOS Circuits and Sensors
Video demo of a wireless link using LabView and the XEM3001
Michigan State University
Adaptive Integrated
Microsystems Lab

Research – The Adaptive Integrated Microsystems Lab, headed by Dr. Shantanu Chakrabartty, is using Opal Kelly modules for research and test-station development. The lab plans to make this low-cost and portable test station available to other members as Open Source.
Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT)

Research – MIT Ph.D. student Jose Luis Bohorquez used Opal Kelly modules in his research designing an ultra-low power transceiver for medical implants. The RF and analog sections have various parameters that could be modified digitally for optimum performance. He used the Opal Kelly FPGA module to interface with an on-chip SPI to change those settings. He also used the module to perform direct digital modulation on the transmitter and demodulate data coming into the receiver.“What I liked best about the Opal Kelly module was that I could easily interface it with MATLAB and LabVIEW. My area of expertise is not digital design, yet I was able to figure out how to get great value from the module in just a week or two.” Jose Luis Bohorquez, Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering, ultra-low power RF/Analog IC design.
Penn State
Arecibo Observatory
Research – The Electrical Engineering Department at Penn State, in a collaborative effort with the Arecibo Observatory, is using Opal Kelly’s FPGA module for the development of a multi-purpose radar controller. The module provides communication with an on-board computer, housed inside the instrument, and produces user-defined 32-bit digital logic-level patterns to synchronize multiple instruments in the radar system.Use of the Opal Kelly module in this project has significantly reduced design time and complexity through utilization of the FrontPanel API which provided high-speed multi-byte data transfers and customized status/control commands. This combination of hardware and software made the FPGA module an integral component in the design.
LIGO Observatory
Research – The LIGO observatory is using Opal Kelly modules to prototype a possible new (improved) data acquisition system for the LIGO, according to Dr. Raymond E. Frey, Department of Physics and Center for High Energy Physics at the University of Oregon and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory), is an effort of the National Science Foundation, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
University of Edinburgh
Research – The University of Edinburgh Engineering Department has designed a generic PCB test board for integrated circuits containing connectors for Opal Kelly, a ZIF socket for a custom IC and analog support electronics. The Opal Kelly module is used to control the IC and to receive and process outputs.Classroom – The Opal Kelly module provides essential support for masters and PhD student projects.

“We find the Opal Kelly module an ideal basis to teach students about the use of FPGAs. The ease of building simple software interfaces and USB interface to a laptop greatly assists presentation of the work as a developmental step towards an eventual IC with on-chip digital processing.” Dr Robert Henderson, Senior Lecturer School of Engineering and member of the Integrated Micro and Nano Systems Research Institute, The University of Edinburgh

University of Liège
GIRPAS – Institute of Astrophysics
and Geophysics

Research – The GIRPAS group of the Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics of the University of Liège is using Opal Kelly modules in the frame of infrared atmospheric spectroscopy at the high altitude research station of the Jungfraujoch (3580m alt, Swiss Alps).Classroom – Students pursuing a Master in Space Sciences degree at the Institute use Opal Kelly modules for graduate level research projects in their class on Signal Acquisition and Processing: Application to Embedded Systems.
Universidad Politecnica
de Madrid

Research – Universidad Politecnica de Madrid uses Opal Kelly modules for fast prototyping boards, due to the very high level APIs and simple constructs, to set up a series of communication channels between the FPGA and the Host PC. Currently they are using a XEM3005 module to mine digital subparts of a brand-new PEM (positron emission tomograph for mammography) scanner in its early design stages. The XEM-based prototype can actually manage a couple of gamma-cameras and perform basic PET acquisitions. Through a set of tests, they expect to determine parameters and performance measures needed to make strategic decisions in their PEM design.
University of

Research – The Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg has around 25,000 students and approximately 10,000 researchers, professors and employees. The FPGA board is used at the Institute for Electronics Engineering. The Institute is engaged with the simulation, design, and verification of information-electronic systems, and electronic circuits and components. The expertise covers simulation and circuit design of RF/analogue/mixed-signal building blocks. Furthermore research on baseband algorithms for wireless communication, e.g. for GSM, UMTS, WLAN-OFDM, UWB, RFID and sensor systems/architectures is performed.The Opal Kelly FPGA modules are mainly used in the education of students during their bachelor and master thesis. Moreover they are used for fast prototyping in research projects. One emphasis of the research work is the design of mixed-signal integrated circuits. Typically the analog hardware is realized in a modern semiconductor process and the digital circuitry is implemented in a FPGA board for testing purposes. This offers the big advantage of easy re-designs and fast prototyping of the digital circuitry. One example is a synthesizer for a high-precision local positioning system. The analog and RF circuitry is implemented in a 0.18um SiGe BiCMOS technology. The delta-sigma modulator for the fractional-N PLL and further control logic for the analog part is implemented with the Opal Kelly FPGA module.
University of Wollongong
Centre for Medical Radiation Physics
Research – The Centre for Medical Radiation Physics is a research team within the School of Engineering Physics at the University of Wollongong in Australia. It is dedicated to the development of semiconductor detectors and dosimeters for clinical applications in radiation protection, radiation oncology, and nuclear medicine as well as high-energy physics applications. One of the main strengths of CMRP research activities is in the area of radiation detectors for medical imaging. This uses Opal Kelly FPGA modules and FrontPanel software to interface, control, and collect data from ASIC front-end electronics specially-designed for semiconductor detectors for a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) system.Classroom – Undergraduate and Masters-level students use the Opal Kelly XEM3010 as a platform to learn Hardware Description Languages (VHDL or Verilog) and create modules and state machines for data handling and collection.

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