When a company calls and says they have the best widget ever, you have to be skeptical. However, you also cant help but be curious. When they talked about how it would advance the state of the art in radar, electronic warfare, and quantum-computing test, and make an engineers workspace tidier, I was smitten.
I met up with theTektronix team, led by Product Market Manager Kip Pettigrew, and wasnt disappointed: The new AWG5200 arbitrary waveform generator is a work of art and function. Physically, its both commanding and imposing. It measures 18.13 6.05 from the front, but its 23.76 inches deepso, while itll sit nicely within a test stack and help reduce clutter, the stack had better have a deep shelf (Figs. 1 and 2).
Its whats within those dimensions, and what you have to pay to get it, though, that give the AWG5200 a certain level of gravitas. For sure, its hard to ignore a price point of $82,000, but its not surprising when you understand what youre getting in return.
1. The AWG5200 measures 18.13 6.05 and comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a removable hard drive (upper right), and two, four, or eight channels (bottom right). (Source: Tektronix)
Aimed squarely at military/government and advanced research applications, the system emphasizes signal fidelity, scalability, and flexibility. It can accurately reproduce complex, real-world signals across an ever-expanding array of applications without having to physically expand a test area. Its also supported by Tektronixs SourceXpress software, which lets you create waveforms and control the AWGs remotely, and has a growing library of waveform-creation plugins.
2. The AWG5200 is designed to be compact so that it can stack easily with other equipment to reduce overall space requirements, though it is 23.76 inches deep. A synchronization feature allows it to scale up beyond eight channels by adding more AWG5200s. (Source: Tektronix)
Let the Specs Tell the Story
Digging into the specs uncovers what the AWG5200 is all about. Words like powerful, precision, and solid engineering come to mind. The system can sample at 5 Gsamples/s (10-Gsamples/s with interpolation) with 16-bit vertical resolution across two, four, or eight channels per unit. Channel-to-channel skew (typical) is
The AWG5200s multi-unit synchronization feature helps scale up beyond eight channels. Note that each channel is independent, so the classic tradeoff of sample memory for bandwidth doesnt apply here. Each channel gets 2 Gsamples of waveform memory.
The precision is embodied within its ability to generate RF signals with a spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR) of 70 dBc. Combined with a software suite and support, this is critical as new waveforms and digital-modulation techniques are explored in a time of rapid wireless evolution in military and government applications, as well as 5G and even quantum-computer test. Signal fidelity isnt something you want to worry about, and the expanding library and customizable features help kickstart and then fine-tune your research and development waveforms.
Howd They Do That?
Achieving higher or improved specifications is almost always a labor of love: The test companys engineers constant urge to make things better combines with customer feedback and an analysis of where to focus energy and development to have the most impact. However, at a fundamental level, the AWG5200s advances go back to the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) technology at the heart of the system.
Advances in DAC technologies, particularly with respect to signal processing and functional integration, allow them to directly generate detailed and complex RF and electronic-warfare (EW) signals. This is an area worth digging into in more detail, so Christopher Skach and Sahandi Noorizadeh developed a feature specially for Electronic Design on DAC technology advances and how its changing signal generation for test. Its worth a look.
Rapidly Evolving Applications
Pettigrew also provided a quick run through of the newer and more interesting applications, as well as the key market trends that the system is solving for. In general electronic test, go wide technologies like MIMO need test systems that can scale as they need multiple, independent, wide-bandwidth RF streams (Fig. 3).
3. Rapid expansion in the use of techniques such as MIMO requires more advanced and flexible waveform generators to generate multiple high-fidelity, RF signals with complex modulation schemes. (Source: Tektronix)
This translates over to mil/gov, too, where systems must be tested for their ability to detect and respond to adaptive threats. The signals of interest are able to be generated on two channels, while the others can be used to generate expected noise, Wi-Fi interferers, and other MIMO channels.
However, just being able to reproduce the signals isnt enough: The AWG must be capable of enabling stress and margin testing, as well as verification and characterization.1
On the research front, it turns out that quantum computing needs advanced AWGs, too, said Pettigrew, as they lack the fidelity, latency, and scalability. In quantum computers, the qubits are often controlled using precision-pulsed microwave signals, each requiring multiple independent RF channels. This is only going to get more interesting and challenging as companies like IBM and Google, along with many independent physicists and engineers, work to scale up quantum-computing technology and applications.
For all three of these applications, cost remains a factor. So, instead of developing multiple custom solutions, the AWG5200 may be a good commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) option.
1. How New DAC Technologies are Changing Signal Generation for Test
- US takes first step toward a quantum computing workforce ... - September 17th, 2018
- China bet big on quantum computing. Now the ... - money.cnn.com - September 17th, 2018
- The reality of quantum computing could be just three years ... - September 12th, 2018
- The quantum computing race the US cant afford to lose - September 3rd, 2018
- Quantum Computing | USRA - August 30th, 2018
- What Is Quantum Computing? The Complete WIRED Guide | WIRED - August 22nd, 2018
- Quantum Computing Market Research Report- Forecast 2022 | MRFR - August 1st, 2018
- Two Quantum Computing Bills Are Coming To Congress - July 5th, 2018
- Senate bills would make quantum computing a priority - June 10th, 2018
- What is quantum computing? - Definition from WhatIs.com - February 5th, 2018
- The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy ... - January 26th, 2018
- IBM puts its quantum computer to work in relaxing, nerdy ASMR ... - January 8th, 2018
- Quantum computing is going to change the world. Here's what ... - January 8th, 2018
- Is Quantum Computing an Existential Threat to Blockchain ... - December 25th, 2017
- What is Quantum Computing? | SAP News Center - December 23rd, 2017
- Quantum Computing Explained | What is Quantum Computing? - December 21st, 2017
- New silicon structure opens the gate to quantum computers - December 14th, 2017
- Microsoft offers developers a preview of its quantum ... - December 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is the Next Big Security Risk | WIRED - December 8th, 2017
- Yale Professors Race Google and IBM to the First Quantum ... - November 16th, 2017
- IBM's processor pushes quantum computing ... - engadget.com - November 16th, 2017
- Quantum computing - news.microsoft.com - November 1st, 2017
- Intel Takes First Steps To Universal Quantum Computing - October 13th, 2017
- Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? - IEEE Spectrum - October 13th, 2017
- quantum computing - engadget.com - October 13th, 2017
- Quantum Computing | Intel Newsroom - October 13th, 2017
- What will you actually use quantum computing for? | ZDNet - October 11th, 2017
- Here's what quantum computing is and why it matters - October 6th, 2017
- Microsoft just upped its multi-million bet on quantum computing - ZDNet - September 7th, 2017
- Microsoft's Aussie quantum computing lab set to scale up next-gen ... - ARNnet - September 7th, 2017
- An Entirely New Type of Quantum Computing Has Just Been Invented - Futurism - September 7th, 2017
- Quantum computing event explores the implications for business - Cambridge Network - August 30th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is Coming at Us Fast, So Here's Everything You Need to Know - ScienceAlert - August 27th, 2017
- How quantum mechanics can change computing - San Francisco ... - San Francisco Chronicle - August 25th, 2017
- Commonwealth Bank investing in Australia's first quantum computer company - Which-50 (blog) - August 25th, 2017
- How quantum mechanics can change computing - The Conversation US - August 23rd, 2017
- Introducing Australia's first quantum computing hardware company - Computerworld Australia - August 23rd, 2017
- IEEE Approves Standards Project for Quantum Computing ... - insideHPC - August 23rd, 2017
- $495.3 Million Quantum Computing Market 2017 by Revenue Source, Application, Industry, and Geography - Global ... - PR Newswire (press release) - August 18th, 2017
- Physicists Have Made Exotic Quantum States From Light - Futurism - August 16th, 2017
- Machine learning tackles quantum error correction - Phys.Org - August 15th, 2017
- Quantum Internet Is 13 Years Away. Wait, What's Quantum Internet? - WIRED - August 15th, 2017
- Blind quantum computing for everyone - Phys.org - Phys.Org - August 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is Real, and D-Wave Just Open ... - WIRED - August 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Market Worth 495.3 Million USD by 2023 | 08 ... - Markets Insider - August 10th, 2017
- China uses a quantum satellite to transmit potentially unhackable data - CNBC - August 10th, 2017
- Physicists Take Big Step Towards Quantum Computing and ... - Universe Today - August 1st, 2017
- Why you might trust a quantum computer with secretseven over ... - Phys.Org - July 12th, 2017
- Quantum-computer node uses two different ion species - physicsworld.com - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum Computers vs Bitcoin How Worried Should We Be? - The Merkle - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum cheques could be a forgery-free way to move money - New Scientist - July 10th, 2017
- Technique for measuring and controlling electron state is a ... - UCLA Newsroom - July 9th, 2017
- Quantum Computers Made Even More Powerful with New microchip generating 'Qudits' - TrendinTech - July 8th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Record Broken - Wall Street Pit - July 8th, 2017
- Alkermes and IBM's quantum computing. Who'll be the big winner? Malcolm Berko - Durham Herald Sun - July 6th, 2017
- Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? - IEEE Spectrum - IEEE Spectrum - July 1st, 2017
- Google to Achieve "Supremacy" in Quantum Computing by the End of 2017 - Big Think - July 1st, 2017
- Quantum Computing Becomes More Accessible - Scientific American - July 1st, 2017
- Toward mass-producible quantum computers | MIT News - MIT News - June 2nd, 2017
- Purdue, Microsoft Partner On Quantum Computing Research | WBAA - WBAA - June 2nd, 2017
- IBM boosts power of quantum computing processors as it lays ... - www.computing.co.uk - May 22nd, 2017
- IBM makes leap in quantum computing power - ITworld - May 22nd, 2017
- The Bizarre Quantum Test That Could Keep Your Data Secure - WIRED - May 18th, 2017
- Molecular magnets closer to application in quantum computing - Next Big Future - May 15th, 2017
- Inside Microsoft's 'soup to nuts' quantum computing ramp-up - Computerworld Australia - April 29th, 2017
- Quantum computing is about to disrupt the government contracts market - Bloomberg Government (blog) - April 22nd, 2017
- Scientists: We Have Detected the Existence of a Fundamentally New State of Matter - Futurism - April 22nd, 2017
- What Sorts Of Problems Are Quantum Computers Good For? - Forbes - April 22nd, 2017
- quantum computing - WIRED UK - April 22nd, 2017
- What is Quantum Computing? Webopedia Definition - March 18th, 2017
- Here Is Everything You Need to Know About Quantum Computers - Interesting Engineering - March 18th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Market Forecast 2017-2022 | Market ... - March 18th, 2017
- Mathematician breaks down how to defend against quantum ... - Phys.Org - February 28th, 2017