Keysight Technologies Inc. introduced an improved version of the FFT option, now available on the U5303A PCIe 12-bit high-speed data acquisition card. This card features two channels and a sampling rate from 1 GS/s to 3.2 GS/s.

Designed for astronomy, physics applications and environmental measurements requiring frequency domain signal processing, the card allows observation of phenomena never observed before with previous instruments making it a big step forward in terms of linearity, dynamic range and spurious free dynamic range (SFDR) measurements. While providing continuous real-time FFT at full sampling rate, this option also enables spectra accumulation capability, a key requirement for radio-astronomy.

With DC up to 2 GHz bandwidth nominal, the card allows users to convert even low frequencies of around 0 Hz not observable with an AC front-end; moreover, AC coupling would introduce BF noise, whereas DC coupling provides measurement fidelity. By increasing the resolution from 8- to 12-bit, this option provides computation of a 32K points FFT for single or dual channels. As a result of its low-noise capabilities, the card allows users to detect phenomena difficult to observe, such as tilted fibers in solar burst. Additionally, in a controlled environment, this application can run at altitude of 15,000 feet.

Key features of the new FFT version include:

  • Single and dual channel mode selectable on-the-fly 
  • High-speed FFT on 32,768 data values computed in 10.24 μs at 3.2 GS/s
  • Input bandwidth up to 1.4 GHz at 3.2 GS/s, resolution of 97.66 kHz per spectral line
  • Highly improved fixed point arithmetic that eliminates deteriorating effects

Key advanced functionalities include:

  • Sideband separation for I/Q mixers with full amplitude and phase error correction
  • High number of accumulations: greater than 1,000,000 power spectra
  • No dead time in the accumulation process
  • Filter bank extension for superior channel separation without any drawbacks

“Thanks to a remarkable dynamic range, this new fast Fourier transform version allows performance of sensitive observations in highly interfered environment,” said C. Monstein, Radio Engineer at Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zürich. “With 12-bit resolution, the card enables observation of -110 dBm signals in -30 dBm interfered spectrum. Even in very strong FM band we can still see the solar radio burst structure without cross-modulation or ghosts, which wasn’t possible before with previous instruments at ETH, such as Phoenix-generations, Argos, Callisto, and so forth. Keysight’s on-going collaboration with the institute enables continuous technological improvements.”

This application option comes with a dedicated FFT spectrometer graphic user interface, allowing fast initial start-up, display and export of the acquired FFT data.

Information about product configuration is available at High-resolution images are available at

Pricing and Availability

For pricing information about the applications option dedicated to fast Fourier transform, please contact Information on the technology and its applications is available at