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Waveform generators boast excellent signal accuracy

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Agilent Technologies? waveform generator? Trueform? signal-generation?

Agilent Technologies Inc. has announced its 33600A series waveform generators featuring the exclusive Trueform signal-generation technology. According to the firm, the instruments offer unmatched capabilities used to generate a full range of signals for even the most demanding measurements required by engineers and technicians during electronic device design and manufacturing test.

The devices include four different one- and two-channel models, and generate waveforms up to 120MHz at a 1GS/s sampling rate. The waveform generators provide the lowest jitter (less than 1ps jitter, or 200x better than previous generation Direct Digital Synthesis generators) and lowest total harmonic distortion in their class, giving engineers the ability to generate the exact signals they need. Better jitter performance means that technicians and engineers can place edges more accurately, which helps them reduce timing errors in their circuit designs. With total harmonic distortion less than 0.03 percent and non-harmonic spurs below -75dBc, the 33600A series offers clean signals that don't introduce noise, enabling users to get more accurate results, noted Agilent.

The device's very low jitter and 3ns rise and fall times also allow users to set trigger points more accurately. A low voltage range, 1mVpp, enables them to make output changes down to 1uV-a critical capability when testing today's low-voltage circuits and designs.

As an added benefit, 33600A series users can take advantage of easy software upgrades to expand their instruments' capabilities, such as when they need to increase memory to 64MSa or bandwidth to 120MHz, for example. They can even upgrade their instruments to NISPOM file security.

While traditionally DDS has been the waveform-generation technology of choice, its intrinsic limitations mean users often have to work around its compromised performance or spend up to five times more for a high-end waveform generator. Trueform technology eliminates these challenges by combining the best of DDS with a point-per-clock architecture.

When used in the 33600A series, the results are a range of capabilities not normally found on waveform generators in this class including: waveform summing and combining for easily adding noise to signals for margin and distortion testing using only a single channel. On the two-channel 33600A series model users can sum and combine up to four signals; variable-bandwidth noise for adjusting the bandwidth of the built-in noise generator to control a signal's frequency content; waveform sequencing for creating multiple configured waveforms with several common segments and building long, complex waveforms using minimal instrument memory; Pseudo-Random Binary Sequence (PRBS) pattern generation for testing digital serial buses by streaming standard PRBS patterns-with PN3 to PN32-without a separate pulse generator; and optional baseband IQ player for wireless communication engineers wanting to economically play IQ signals without an expensive signal generator, or make adjustments (e.g., amplitude gain, channel offset and channel skew) to the signal, as needed, for a more accurate representation.

Agilent's 33600A Trueform series waveform generators are available. The 1-channel, 80MHz 33611A and the 2-channel, 80MHz 33611A can be had for $3,995 and $5,695, respectively, while the 1-channel, 120MHz 33621A and the 2-channel, 120MHz 33622A cost $4,695 and $6,695, respectively.

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