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Multi-channel, 16-bit resolution arbitrary waveform generation direct to 8 GHz

Multi-channel, 16-bit resolution arbitrary waveform generation direct to 8 GHz

New Products |
By Graham Prophet



The unit includes a flexible waveform generation plug-in suite with comprehensive coverage for a wide variety of standards and digital modulation techniques. Its frequency coverage is specified with a -3 dB point of 2 GHz, and usable to 8 GHz. Tek notes an upswing in demand for advanced instrumentation in research areas such as radar and quantum computing, both of which have a requirement for multiple, precisely-synchronised channels. This has typically been satisfied (Tek says) by either “rack and stack” arrangements of multiple instruments, or by modular instrumentation. Given the need for multiple channels, and asked why the company opted not to use a modular instrument format for this project, the company says that achieving the level of precision in synchronisation that is offered by the AWG5200 would be more challenging than for a ‘single-box’ instrument. The instrument achieves better than 10 psec channel-to-channel skew. More than one instrument can be synchronised; quantum-computing researchers typically need up to 32 waveforms, Tek notes.

 

The performance comes with use of Tektronix’ own DAC technology, and use of one DAC per channel: there is no interleaving of converters, avoiding any compromises associated with those techniques.

 

Its AWG5200, Tek says, offers high signal fidelity and scalability at an affordable price point to meet demanding signal generation needs in advanced research, electronic test, and radar and electronic warfare (EW) system design and test. It includes a flexible waveform generation plug-in suite with comprehensive coverage for a wide variety of standards and digital modulation techniques. As one of the most frequently-used methods of synthesising waveforms, Tek has provided full compatibility with the Matlab software package.

 

The instrument, the company adds, lowers the cost of ownership for complex multi-signal environments starting at a list price of about $11,000 per channel (i.e., unit price of around $82,000) for the 8 channel instrument.

 

“Signal generation has been a major problem for RF designers and researchers for some time now, and it is only getting worse as their needs have grown more complex. The high-performance AWGs that potentially could meet their needs are expensive and inflexible, and in many cases still fall short of meeting fidelity and scalability requirements,” said Jim McGillivary, general manager of RF and Component Solutions at Tektronix. “The AWG5200 is the first signal generator to solve these challenges with superior signal generation fidelity, built-in scalability and much lower overall cost compared to having to literally acquire dozens of individual AWGs and attempting to get them to work together.”

 

Each of the AWG5200’s channels have independent paths out, individual amplification, separate sequencing, up-conversion, dedicated memory and can be controlled independently without cross talk or limitations on any channels performance. The only common factor is that all channels share a common clock or, if the users chooses, can input an external reference clock. This level of independence and flexibility along with 16-bit resolution, less than 2 µsec latency and fast rise times suit the AWG5200 to generating complex, real-world environments, testing phased arrays, simulating objects of interest or replacing older equipment with new COTS (commercial of the shelf) solutions. In advanced research areas, the instrument may replace custom-built arrays that may be uncalibrated, unstable, and lack support.

 

It also allows RF designers to consolidate signal generation using direct signal generation techniques and eliminating the need for specialized – and costly – signal generation equipment. RF designers can also leverage a growing library of plugins for generating waveforms, predistort waveforms for optimal performance or automate tests using Matlab scripts. The AWG5200 is also code compatible with previous generation Tektronix AWGs.

 

The 8 channel instrument with 2.5 Gsample/sec, and up to 10 Gsample/sec, performance has a starting price of $82,000.

 

Tektronix; www.tek.com/AWG5200

 

 

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