Detector Systems Software (RAL)
04 Apr 2023



We develop and deliver control and data acquisition software and systems for world-class scientific detector systems.



The LOKI detector system controller
Working closely with colleagues across STFC facilities and programmes, and UK and international collaborations, we facilitate the integration of novel, high-performance detectors and instrumentation into their operational environment. This is achieved through the development of software to provide both the control of detector system hardware and the acquisition, processing and storage of the data produced.
In collaboration with Diamond Light Source, we develop and maintain the open-source ODIN control and data acquisition software packages. These provide modular, extensible, high-performance frameworks for the integration of the control and data planes of detector systems. We work closely with detector system developers to implement plugin components that integrate detector hardware into the control and data frameworks.
We also develop embedded systems software to facilitate high-performance real-time control and monitoring of systems. We have extensive experience in the specification, configuration, and deployment of high-performance networked computer clusters used for control and data acquisition systems.
We have experience across a wide range of science disciplines and facilities including high-energy physics, light sources, free-electron lasers, neutron and muon sources, and electron microscopy.
We provide a wide range of expertise and capabilities, including:

  • Low-level hardware-software integration
  • Microcontroller software development
  • Embedded systems configuration and development across a range of architectures
  • Low latency, high throughput networking architectures and packet capture acceleration frameworks
  • Integration and acceleration of AI and machine learning inferencing into real-time detector data flows, e.g. using GPUs
  • Specification, configuration, and deployment of high-performance control and data acquisition systems based on the Linux operating system and 100-gigabit-plus networking technologies
  • Use of Python, C, C++ and other programming languages
  • Web application and user interface development, including backend and frontend technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, and React
  • Distributed software development processes, including automated testing and continuous integration

Our team also operates several detector system integration laboratories, which provide access to an extensive computing, networking,​ and test infrastructure dedicated to the development of detector systems software.​

​​​​Contact us

​For enquiries regarding detector development, please contact Tim Nicholls.