Test & Measurement

Digitisers, modules utilise latest FPGA technology

3rd November 2017
Mick Elliott

A PXI FlexRIO architecture that integrates mezzanine I/O modules with Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGAs has been released by National Instruments (NI). The first wave of products based on this new architecture includes two high-resolution PXI FlexRIO Digitisers, three dedicated PXI FlexRIO Coprocessor Modules and a module development kit that helps with custom front-end development.

The FlexRIO product line combines customisable I/O and user-programmable FPGAs into high-performance, reconfigurable instruments users can program with the LabVIEW FPGA Module.

With Kintex UltraScale FPGAs, the new FlexRIO architecture offers more programmable resources than previous Kintex-7-based FlexRIO modules.

In addition, the new mezzanine architecture fits both the I/O module and the FPGA back end within a single, integrated 3U PXI module.

For high-speed communication with other modules in the chassis, the FlexRIO modules feature PCI Express Gen 3 x8 connectivity for up to 7 GB/s of streaming bandwidth.

“FPGAs and high-performance data converters are essential technologies when pushing the boundaries of discovery and innovation, but implementing them in a custom design can be cumbersome,” said Steve Warntjes, NI vice president of R&D, modular instruments. “FlexRIO has consistently helped engineers and scientists bring ideas to fruition faster with an off-the-shelf solution that includes the latest FPGA and converter technology. The new FlexRIO architecture furthers this mission.”

The modules take advantage of the highest-performance FPGA and A/D converter technology, which makes them ideal for applications that require advanced capabilities like remote sensing, signals intelligence, communications and particle physics.

New modules include:

  • Digitiser Modules –These digitisers deliver high-speed sampling rates and wide bandwidth without compromising dynamic range. The PXIe-5763 and PXIe-5764 provide 500MS/s and 1GS/s sampling rates, respectively. Both modules offer 16-bit resolution and up to 400 MHz of bandwidth on all four channels.
  • Coprocessor Modules – Add real-time signal processing capabilities to a system with dedicated Kintex UltraScale PXI FlexRIO Coprocessor Modules. A chassis full of these modules delivers the highest density of computational resources per U of rack space of any NI system.
  • Module Development Kit – Start with a FlexRIO FPGA back end programmable by LabVIEW and then design custom I/O modules to meet more unique application requirements.

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