As you sit down at your desk, armed with a cup of coffee and a determined attitude, you are ready to tackle the task at hand: testing and measuring the performance of your latest electronic device. But as you reach for your trusty signal generator, you realise that this tool is far more than just a simple one.
Signal generators have come a long way since their inception in the early days of electronics. Today, they are sophisticated instruments capable of generating complex waveforms with high precision and accuracy. In fact, they can generate and analyse signals once thought impossible to create. With technological advancement, they have become more sophisticated, and advanced techniques for signal generation and analysis have emerged. In this article, you can look at some of those techniques.
Arbitrary waveform generation: One of the most advanced techniques is arbitrary waveform generation (AWG). AWG allows the user to create custom waveforms with precise control over the signal’s shape, frequency, and amplitude. This technique benefits testing devices that require complex signals, such as digital communication systems.
AWG can be implemented using digital-to-analogue converters (DACs) and a high-speed clock. The user can create a waveform using a software program, which is then converted into a digital format and stored in the memory. The AWG then outputs the waveform using a DAC and a clock signal.
Frequency modulation: Frequency modulation (FM) is a technique for modulating a signal’s frequency to encode information. FM is commonly used in radio and television broadcasting, as well as in digital communication systems.
The FM-capable generators can produce precise and stable signals with low distortion and noise. They can also generate complex FM waveforms with multiple modulating frequencies.
Spectrum analysis: Spectrum analysis is a technique for analysing a signal’s frequency content. Spectrum analysers are used to measure the signal’s power as a frequency function. This information is used to identify the frequency components and detect any unwanted signals or interference.
Devices with spectrum analysis capabilities can analyse the output signal’s spectrum in real-time. It allows the user to monitor the signal’s frequency content and adjust the generator’s settings accordingly.
Signal synthesis: Signal synthesis is a technique for synthesising complex signals using a combination of basic waveforms. This technique generates signals with specific characteristics, such as noise or distortion.
Tools with signal synthesis capabilities can combine basic waveforms like sine, square, and triangle waves to create complex signals. The user can adjust the relative amplitudes and frequencies of the basic waveforms to create a desired signal.
Signal simulation: This technique for simulating real-world signals using a signal generator. This technique helps test electronic devices and systems under realistic conditions.
Signal generators with signal simulation capabilities can simulate signals with realistic noise and distortion characteristics. They can also simulate signal propagation through various channels, such as RF cables and antennas.
Pulse train generation: Pulse train generation generates a series of pulses with specific characteristics, such as frequency, amplitude, and width. This technique helps test devices that require pulsed signals, such as laser diodes and high-speed digital circuits.
Generators with pulse train generation capabilities can generate precise and stable pulse trains with low jitter and noise. They can also generate complex pulse trains with multiple pulse widths and repetition rates.
Signal generators are essential tools for testing and measuring electronic devices and systems. Due to technological advancement, advanced techniques for signal generation and analysis have emerged.
Arbitrary waveform generation, frequency modulation, spectrum analysis, signal synthesis, signal simulation, and pulse train generation are some of the advanced techniques for signal generation and analysis with such electronic devices.
Their capabilities allow users to generate and analyse complex signals with high accuracy and precision. Moreover, they are essential for telecommunications, electronics, and research industries.