The Mercury provides the same high performance x-ray spectroscopy and mapping features as the xMap but housed in a standalone box with built-in power supply. Also available as an OEM card, the Mercury offers the following advantages:

  • Compatible with SDD, HPGe and other x-ray detector types
  • Low noise front-end for high resolution spectroscopy
  • MCA and SCA Mapping
  • Hardwired TTL outputs available for programmable ROI/SCAs
  • Open source driver libraries for custom DAQ control
  • OEM card available for embedded applications




The Mercury is uniquely suited for XAFS and other x-ray scanning experiments, as well as high resolution x-ray spectroscopy and industrial XRF applications:

  • XAFS, EXAFS, and other beamline scanning applications
  • Electron beam (SEM) high resolution x-ray spectroscopy and elemental analysis from 150 eV– 100 keV
  • Bench top micro-XRF analyzers, (embedded OEM card)
  • Industry XRF applications, conveyor belt metal sorting

More about Applications…


Technical Data

The Mercury’s trapezoidal digital FIR filters offer significantly enhanced throughputs and achieve energy resolutions comparable to analog systems. Energy resolution is nearly independent of count rate up to maximum throughput. The full computer interface allows all data taking and calibration operations to be automated, greatly reducing the possibility of human error. Data can be collected either into a full spectrum of up to 16K channels or as regions of interest (ROI’s) and passed to the host without stopping data collection. The full spectrum allows peak fitting and/or deconvolution to be performed on a detector by detector basis, leading to more accurate intensity extractions, particularly where scatter peaks are changing rapidly with energy.

The Mercury offers several timing modes, including fast scanning with full MCA readout or multiple ROI’s, where time and energy are stored for each event. The onboard memory manager allows full access to the data even during data collection. To allow deadtimeless operation for fast scanning, the memory is organized into two completely independent banks, allowing readout of one bank while the other is filled. Peak readout speeds across the USB interface exceed 15 MB/sec.

The Mercury provides hardwired TTL outputs from the user-defined SCA/ROI regions, allowing easy integration into external counting systems.


  • 4 MB of high-speed memory allows ample storage for timing applications such as mapping with full spectra or multiple ROI’s
  • Peak USB 2.0 transfer rates exceed 15 MB/sec.
  • Front-panel auxiliary port with digital I/O lines. The standard configuration provides trigger, livetime and 14 ROI outputs
  • Peaking time range: 0.1 to 160 microsec
  • Maximum throughput up to 1,000,000 counts/sec/channel.
  • Digitization: 14 bits at 50 MHz
  • Low noise front end offers excellent resolution, and provides excellent performance in the soft x-ray region (110 – 1500 eV).
  • 16 bit gain DAC and input offset are computer controlled.
  • Pileup inspection criteria are computer selectable.
  • Accurate ICR and livetime for precise deadtime correction and count rate linearity.
  • External GATE and SYNC connections for controlling the mapping modes.



Analog BNC Preamplifier input, jumper-selectable input gain:
0dB (x1): 10 kohm impedance, +/- 4V range
6dB attenuation (1/2 gain): 1kohm, +/- 8V, jumper selectable
Works with reset preamplifiers of either polarity.
Digital BNC GATE: TTL/CMOS logic input for externally timed data collection. Halts data acquisition when asserted.

BNC SYNC: TTL/CMOS clock input to control time resolved data collection, such as scanning.

Power +12V to +15V @ 50mA
-12V to -15V @ 50mA
+5.5V to +6.0V @ 1.0A

Data I/O

Primary Interface USB 2.0
Auxiliary Interface 16 Programmable I/O lines can be used for custom data transfer and control. The standard configuration provides trigger, livetime and 14 ROI outputs
Data Transfer Rate Memory readout to host exceeds 15 MByte/sec
Resolution State of the art, detector dependent.
Count Rate OCR to 1 Mcps max (at ICR > 2 Mcps)
Throughput The output count rate (OCR) approaches theoretical values based on input count rate (ICR) and deadtime td, where td equals 2 times peaking time plus dwell time: OCR = ICR * exp(-ICR* td).
Integral Non-linearity <= 0.1% over full scale output range.
Pileup Inspection Pulse-pair resolution typically better than 50 ns unless limited by signal risetime.

Digital Controls

Gain 100x range, controlled by 16-bit DAC. Preamplifier gain range 0.1 to 10 mV/keV at standard settings.
Thresholds Up to three adjustable thresholds are used simultaneously to support soft x-ray work while maintaining good pileup rejection.
Filtering Peaking times 0.1 – 160 microseconds. Adjustable flat top to eliminate ballistic deficit effects.
Pileup Fast channel filter time, pulse detection threshold, and fast channel pileup inspection test limits may be set independently to achieve best results in every x-ray energy regime.
Data collection MCA limits, bin widths, ROIs

Data Outputs

MCA Single Spectrum Mode: 256-16384 bins (32 bits deep).
Multi-Spectrum Mode:   256-16384 bins (16 bits deep).
ROIs Up to 32 regions of interest can be defined.
Timing Multiple spectra or sets of ROI’s can be stored; continuous operation is possible using memory in dual-bank configuration.
Statistics Statistics: All values required for pileup correction are available: livetime, realtime, input events, output events.
Diagnostics ADC and filter output traces, baseline distribution, baseline history


Overview XIA provides ProSpect, a software package for setting up detector arrays and generating configuration files for use by other control packages. Handel, a comprehensive set of C libraries, simplifies integration of Mercury control into existing data collection packages.
Diagnostics ADC trace, filter outputs, baseline distribution, baseline history
Run Control Start/stop under host control or according to user provided TTL/CMOS logic signals. Run can be ended according to preset realtime, livetime, input or output events, or number of pixels.