Agilent Technologies Inc. introduced the 33500B Series waveform generators. The eight new one- and two-channel models, which generate waveforms up to 30 MHz, incorporate exclusive Trueform signal-generation technology. Trueform enables these models to offer unmatched capabilities for generating a full range of signals for the most demanding measurements required when designing electronic devices.
The 33500B waveform generators provide the lowest jitter and lowest total harmonic distortion in their class, giving engineers the ability to generate the exact signals they need. With better jitter performance, engineers can place edges more accurately, helping them reduce timing errors in their circuit designs. With total harmonic distortion less than 0.04 percent and non-harmonic spurs less than 75 dBc, the 33500B Series offers clean signals that don't introduce noise, enabling users to get more accurate results.
The 33500B Series' 8.4-ns rise and fall times and low jitter allow engineers to set trigger points more accurately as well. The instruments' 16 bits of resolution allows engineers to make output changes down to 1 uV - giving them the ability to test today's low-voltage circuits and designs.
With the 33500B Series, engineers can take advantage of easy software upgrades to expand the instruments' capabilities when they need to increase bandwidth and add true point-by-point arbitrary waveforms and deeper waveform memory.
Over the past two decades, direct digital synthesis has been the waveform-generation technology of choice in function generators and economical arbitrary waveform generators. Waveform generators built with DDS offer good frequency resolution, convenient custom waveforms and a low price. However, DDS has intrinsic limitations as well. Engineers with exacting requirements have had to either work around the compromised performance or spend up to 10 times more for a high-end, point-by-point waveform generator.
"Trueform technology offers a new alternative that blends the best of DDS and point-by-point architectures, giving engineers the benefits of both without the limitations of either," said Gary Whitman, vice president and general manager of Agilent's System Products Division. "Trueform technology uses an exclusive digital sampling technique that delivers unmatched performance at the same low price customers expect with DDS."
In addition to point-by-point arbitrary waveforms, the 33500B Series offers features not normally found on waveform generators in this class:
Waveform summing and combining capability: Allows engineers to easily add noise to signals for margin and distortion testing using only a single channel. On a two-channel model, engineers can sum and combine up to four signals.
Variable-bandwidth noise: Allows engineers to adjust the bandwidth of the built-in noise generator to control the frequency content of their signals.
Waveform sequencing: Allows engineers to create multiple configured waveforms with several common segments. Users can also build long, complex waveforms using minimal instrument memory.
Pseudo-random binary sequence pattern generation: Allows engineers to test digital serial buses by streaming standard PRBS patterns - like PN7 and PN19 - without the need for a separate pulse generator.
Optional baseband IQ player: Allows wireless communication engineers to economically play IQ signals without the need for an expensive signal generator. The IQ player provides the ability to make adjustments to the signal, including amplitude gain, channel offset and channel skew as needed for a more accurate representation.