Hopped-Up ADC Takes AWGs To New Heights

Hopped-Up ADC Takes AWGs To New Heights

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Data rates and signal complexity are continuing to increase across all electronics and RF segments. PCI Express, DDR3, HDMI 2.0, and LTE Advanced are some prime examples. Naturally, as technology speeds up, engineers and researchers need more advanced signal generators to fully stress-test designs or perform cutting-edge research. Tektronix hopes to meet this need with its AWG70000 arbitrary waveform generators (AWGs).

The series offers 50-Gsample/s performance, 16 Gsamples of waveform memory, 10-bit vertical resolution, and up to –75-dBc spurious free dynamic range (SFDR). Translated, these specs mean the AWGs produce fast, clean signals that can be routed through a receiver or other device under test for long periods of time for truly comprehensive testing. The series should be just the tonic for a wide range of demanding signal generation requirements in defense electronics, high-speed serial, optical networking, and advanced research applications (see the figure).

The AWG70000 series of arbitrary waveform generators from Tektronix uses the company’s TDAC-25 ADC, which boasts 25-Gsample/s performance, 10 bits of resolution, and dynamic range surpassing 60 dBc. 

According to Tektronix, the muscle behind the instruments is the world’s fastest, most accurate 10-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC), a commercial device produced by Tektronix Component Solutions. Known as the TDAC-25, this ASIC boasts 25-Gsample/s performance and greater than 60-dBc dynamic range. In RF-based applications, it supports direct generation of wideband signals, reducing complexity through the elimination of DAC arrays and frequency conversion blocks.

In addition to its use in the AWG70000 series, the TDAC-25 has already been designed into two next-generation systems under development, including Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions’ CHAMP-WB-DRFM, a 6U Virtex-7 VPX module.

Beyond the performance specs, the AWG70000 series is expected to enable design engineers and researchers to create, generate, or replicate ideal, distorted, or “real-life” signals—an essential step in the design and measurement process. Will this be easy to do? Tektronix thinks so. One of the company’s goals was to make it easy to generate very complex signals with complete control over signal characteristics. To do so, the instrument comes with RFXpress and SerialXpress waveform generation software.

The AWG70000A series is available for orders now with production delivery starting in the second quarter of 2013. Pricing starts at $120,000. The TDAC-25 DAC is available now for non-competitive system design-in worldwide (subject to U.S. export law).


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