Tektronix, Inc. introduced an arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) that offers high signal fidelity and scalability at an affordable price. The AWG5200 series was developed to meet the signal generation needs in electronic test, radar, electronic warfare (EW) and advanced research applications, combining capabilities not previously available in a single instrument.

The series offers 10 GSPS sample rate, 16-bit resolution and up to eight channels per unit, with synchronization of multiple units. It includes a flexible waveform generation plug-in suite with various standards and digital modulation techniques. With a list price starting around $11,000 per channel for the eight channel instrument, the AWG5200 lowers the cost of ownership for complex multi-signal environments.

The AWG features new high performance digital-to-analog converters (DAC) that offer a mix of speed and resolution. With these DAC cores, the AWG can generate detailed RF EW signals or the complex pulse trains used in advanced research. The 16-bit vertical resolution is the best fully-integrated AWG available in the industry, compared to the alternatives with 14-bit resolution.

Radar and EW Signal Generation

Engineers developing radar and EW components and systems require high fidelity, tightly synchronized multi-channel signal generation to stimulate radar receivers during design, troubleshooting and operational testing. The AWG5200 provides eight independent channels with better than 10 ps channel-to-channel skew. Each of the channels have independent outputs, individual amplification, separate sequencing, up-conversion and dedicated memory. They can be controlled independently without crosstalk or limitations on any channel’s performance. The only common element is that all channels share a common clock; however, the user can choose to use an external reference.

This level of independence and flexibility, along with 16-bit resolution, less than 2 µs latency and fast rise times, make the AWG5200 an excellent source for generating complex, real world environments, testing phased arrays, simulating objects of interest or replacing older equipment with new commercial off-the-shelf solutions.

The AWG5200 also allows RF designers to consolidate signal generation using direct signal generation techniques and eliminate specialized, costly signal generation equipment. Designers can leverage a growing library of plug-ins for generating waveforms, predistort waveforms for optimal performance or automate tests using Matlab scripts. The AWG5200’s code is compatible with previous generation Tektronix AWGs.

Quantum Computing and Advanced Research

Signal generation is becoming increasingly important in a range of advanced research applications, including quantum computing and nano/micro technology development. However, high performance signal generators are expensive, inflexible and often cannot meet the fidelity, latency and synchronization needs.

In quantum computing, for example, scalability is a key requirement, as researchers must send dozens of synchronized signals to quantum computing cores. Each AWG5200 can be equipped with up to eight synchronized channels. For additional scalability, multiple units can be synchronized to provide an unlimited channel count.

“Signal generation has been a major problem for RF designers and researchers for some time now, and it is only getting worse as their needs have grown more complex. The high performance AWGs that potentially could meet their needs are expensive and inflexible, and in many cases still fall short of meeting fidelity and scalability requirements,” said Jim McGillivary, general manager of RF and Component Solutions at Tektronix. “The AWG5200 is the first signal generator to solve these challenges with superior signal generation fidelity, built-in scalability and much lower overall cost compared to having to literally acquire dozens of individual AWGs and attempting to get them to work together.”

Pricing and Availability

The AWG5200 is available to order with delivery beginning during the second calendar quarter of 2017. The eight channel instrument with 2.5 GSPS and up to 10 GSPS performance has a starting price of $82,000 U.S. MSRP. To learn more, visit www.tek.com/AWG5200 or contact your local Tektronix account manager.