Instrument-on-Chip boosts customisation of test equipment

October 13, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Instrument-on-Chip boosts customisation of test equipment
Multi-instrument Mode from Liquid Instruments allows multiple instruments to be dynamically combined on a single FPGA on its Moku:Pro system.

Software-defined test instrumentation developer Liquid Instruments has launched two features that allow multiple instruments to be combined on a single FPGA.

The Instrument-on-chip architecture is aimed at supporting quantum computing, aerospace, semiconductor, Lidar, and automotive engineers.

Multi-instrument Mode allows multiple instruments to be dynamically combined on a single FPGA. This allows researchers and engineers to configure multiple test instruments to run simultaneously on a standalone piece of hardware, with the added ability to implement their own custom code directly onto the FPGA.

A modern alternative to the PXIe chassis, Moku’s Instrument-on-Chip architecture enables hardware modules to be replaced by software modules that can be hot-swapped independently and work together thanks to high-bandwidth, low-latency, lossless, on-chip interconnects. This provides a bandwidth of 600 MHz (up to 2 channels) or 300 MHz (up to 4 channels) with a sampling rate of 5 GSa/s on 1 channel and 1.25 GSa/s in 4 channels and 10bit and 18bit ADCs with automatic blending.

These updates are used in the Moku:Pro platform to replace a suite of common test instruments by one streamlined rack-mounted device.

“We built Moku:Pro to demonstrate the potential of Instrument-on-Chip architectures. These new capabilities begin to unlock the full potential of the hardware for our users,” said Daniel Shaddock, CEO of Liquid Instruments. “But more than that, these capabilities can scale almost without limits and are designed for a future where FPGAs grow ever larger and more capable. We are so excited to see our users make great strides using these new capabilities.”

The Australian company has also launched a subscription service that allows users to design and deploy custom signal processing algorithms to Moku:Pro’s FPGA. The Moku Cloud Compile tool uses industry-standard hardware description language and provides a simple path from code to deployment. Moku Cloud Compile is fully compatible with Multi-instrument Mode for custom-built test suites optimized for specific applications and requirements.

“As a long-time user of Moku systems, I’ve been waiting for the chance to get raw access to the FPGA,” said Francis Bennet, Associate Professor at the Australian National University. “With multi-instrument and cloud compile we can now use Moku:Pro to implement custom communications protocols for our Deep Space Optical Communications Ground Station.”

As the sytem is software-defined, the upgrades are available immediately on the Liquid Instruments website.

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