First digital tuner controller delivered to our client PMB-ALCEN

Our client PMB-ALCEN has developed a unique compact and lightweight cyclotron tailored for the in-situ production of radiopharmaceuticals used in molecular imaging applications. The iMiTRACE cyclotron is a highly innovative machine, in the 12 MeV energy level, being equipped with a helium-free superconducting magnet. The machine is very compact and easy to operate, as it has been designed for fully automated operation.

ALTAM has designed the machine system in charge of the automatic stabilization of the RF resonators under all operational conditions. The ATT001 is an autonomous digital RF tuner specifically tailored for the iMiTRACE cyclotron.

The unit features three independent channels that are automatically locked to the RF signal feeding each of the resonators, and three micro-stepping linear actuators acting on the resonator capacitive elements. The tuner unit operation is independent of the RF power plant.

The digital controller is implemented in an FPGA fed by the digitized baseband signals coming from three high sensitivity analog front ends. The controller allows a very fast tune of the resonators within milliseconds, keeping the tune state even in the presence of sparking (i.e., if the resonators are being conditioned). Operation is transparent to the RF mode (CW / pulsed) and motion control features an adaptive driver, compensating for motor aging effects. The high-level tasks and communications are managed by an independent processor, running a real time operating system. In firmware, a six independent memory buffers synchronized for real-time acquisition of the RF levels, baseband signals and motion state, provide the experts with a valuable tool for a very fast system commissioning and fault location.

The system has been designed to be easy to configure, offering the possibility to have different configuration parameters for different machine operation modes, as well as features such as selectable detuning and digital delay compensation. Once configured, the system does not need any action from the machine control system to operate, and can work autonomously. As soon as the RF is detected the resonators are quickly tuned.


State of the art high reliability components have been used in order to guarantee a fault-free operation during long operational cycles 24/7.

ALTAM SYSTEMS designs, manufactures and commercializes high-technology solutions that are used in medical, scientific, industry and energy fields. Our in-house technology portfolio and expertise covers digital control and high-speed mixed signal systems.