Test & Measurement

Ultrafast digitisers and AWGs get Digital Pulse Generator option

15th November 2023
Paige West

Spectrum Instrumentation has expanded its Digital Pulse Generator (DPG) feature to include ultrafast digitisers (with speeds up to 10GS/s) and Arbitrary Waveform Generators, following its successful implementation in medium speed products.

This affordable addition, compatible with the entire product line, incorporates three to four independent digital sources to generate pulses and pulse streams, enhancing the devices for a variety of automated test and measurement tasks. The DPG can be integrated into over 200 products, enabling them to generate necessary stimulus and trigger signals for diverse applications in AI, robotics, mechatronics, closed-loop testing, and electronic circuit evaluation.

With the DPG, the Digitiser and AWG products can generate digital pulses with timing resolution based on the device's sampling clock. For example, coupling the DPG with a 33xx series digitiser enables the production of up to four separate pulse streams with a resolution as precise as 3.2ns. Concurrently, a 12-bit digitiser card can sample incoming electronic signals at rates up to 10GS/s.

The DPG utilises the product’s onboard FPGA technology, allowing simultaneous acquisition or generation of analog waveforms and pulse generation. Digital pulses are outputted via front panel Multi-Purpose I/O connectors, suitable for common digital circuitry, with pulse amplitude levels of 3.3V LVTTL.

Controlling the DPG involves a straightforward programming structure for adjusting pulse characteristics, whether generating single pulses, pulse trains, or continuous streams. Parameters like pulse width, period, phase, and number of pulses in a train are programmable. Upon receiving a valid trigger, the pre-programmed pulses are outputted via the assigned Multi-Purpose I/O connector. Triggers can be software-generated or come from various sources, including internal and external triggers or other DPG channels. The output pulses are synchronised with the product’s acquisition or replay functions, ideal for producing enabling or switching signals. Additionally, cascading different pulse generators can transform pulse repetition time scales.

The DPG feature is installable on over 200 different PCIe, PXIe, or LXI digitiser and AWG products. The digitisers offer sampling rates from 5MS/s to 10GS/s and ADC resolutions from 8 to 16-bit. The AWGs feature output rates from 40MS/s to 1.25GS/s, using 16-bit DAC technology for creating precise waveforms. The products range from single to multi-channel configurations, with the unique Star-Hub system enabling up to 128 synchronised channels. The standalone Ethernet/LXI units offer 2 to 48 channels, providing a wide selection to match specific application needs.

The cost-effective DPG option (order code ‘PulseGen’) is available for immediate delivery and can be added to new or existing products, offering a synchronised timing interface between the unit’s acquisition or generation functions and external equipment.

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