Multichannel Analyzers (MCAs) are the workhorse instruments in many scientific measurements; in research, teaching, and industry; for both nuclear and non-nuclear applications. The MCA, in simplest form, analyses a stream of voltage pulses and sorts them into a histogram or “spectrum” of number of events versus pulse-height which may often relate to energy or time of arrival. The stored spectrum may then be displayed and analysed. Early commercial MCAs appeared in the late 1960’s as large and cumbersome power-hungry boxes with integral CRT displays.
The PC Revolution: In the 1980’s, ORTEC revolutionised the MCA world introducing PC based systems in which the MCA was replaced by a small hardware component, (which was named a multichannel buffer or “MCB”) and a software application which emulated the classical MCA functionality. The MAESTRO MCA Emulator and ORTEC MCB product line was born.
The Digital Revolution: By the mid 1990’s, in another ORTEC innovation, digital signal processing (DSP) technology was applied to the MCA function.
Today, ORTEC has the largest range of MCA instruments in the world in a variety of formats:
- Basic Analog MCAs for routine applications:
- Plug in card MCAs
- Standalone USB Connected MCAs
- NIM Modular MCAs
- DIGITAL all-in-a-PMT-Base MCAs with Bias Supply and DSP Signal processors for use with Scintillation Detectors
- Integrated Digital Workstation MCAs for use with HPGe Detector systems
- Portable Digital MCAs for HPGe and Scintillation Detectors