UHFLI Lock-in Amplifier

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The Zurich Instruments UHFLI is a digital lock-in amplifier covering the frequency range from DC to 600 MHz. In addition of providing the highest operation frequency amongst all commercial lock-in amplifiers, the UHFLI also offers the lowest time constant of 30 ns for demodulation, resulting in a demodulation bandwidth of more than 5 MHz. The exquisite analog front end offers a spectacular noise performance of 4 nV/√Hz which helps in many applications to keep the signal-to-noise ratios high while speeding up the measurement. In combination with the most innovative instrument control software LabOne®, the UHFLI is the flagship of all Zurich Instruments products and represents the state of the art of today's scientific instrumentation.

UHFLI Key Features

  • 600 MHz operation frequency
  • 2 independent lock-in units
  • 2 high-performance signal generators
  • 4 independent harmonics per lock-in unit
  • High-resolution 12-bit scope with 65k samples
  • Frequency Response Analyzer (FRA)
  • FFT Spectrum Analyzer with 5 MHz span
  • LabOne toolset (Windows and Linux)

UHFLI Overview Video

UHFLI Applications

  • Engineering R&D: Oscillator testing, FFT Spectrum Analyzer, Frequency Response Analyzer (FRA), Vector Network Analyzer (VNA)
  • Industrial production: Chip Testing, Failure Analysis, RFID transmission demodulator, Laser Voltage Prober (LVP), Non-Destructive Testing (NDT)
  • Laser spectroscopy, confocal microscopy: ultra-high speed scanning, THz spectroscopy
  • Medtech: flow cytometry, electrical impedance spectroscopy
  • Quantum & Nano physics: MRFM, single electron transistors, quantum computing, noise measurement, graphene
  • Scanning probe microscopy: high-speed AFM, scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM)
  • Sensors & Actuators: MEMS, NEMS (e.g. gyroscopes, accelerometers, etc.)

UHFLI Available Options

UHF-DIG Digitizer

The combination of Lock-in amplifier and Digitizer in one box enables a wide range of new measurement opportunities utilizing continuous streaming, sophisticated cross-domain triggering and a segmented 128 MSa memory for each of the 2 Scope channels.

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UHF-MF Multi-frequency

The UHF-MF Multi-frequency option adds another 6 internal oscillators to the instrument and allows a free choice of frequency for every of the 8 demodulators. This extends the capability of the UHF Instrument tremendously by offering a wide range of additional configurations for measurement and signal generation.

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UHF-MOD AM/FM Modulation

The AM/FM modulation option allows to generate phase-coherent linear combinations of up to 3 oscillator frequencies. The direct measurement of (higher-order) sidebands in a variety of different modulation schemes, including amplitude modulation (AM) and frequency modulation (FM), can be conveniently set up. Unlike conventional double demodulation schemes, e.g. tandem demodulation, the user will not need multiple instruments and is also not limited in modulation frequencies by the maximum available demodulation bandwidth.

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UHF-PID Quad PID/PLL Controller

The UHF-PID option consists of 4 configurable PID (proportional - integral - derivative) controllers. Based on a variety of different measurement data they can provide fast feedback to a number of instrument parameters and output values. Seamlessly integrated with the lock-in amplifier, the programmable PIDs enable operation in a wide range of applications such as the setup of PLLs (phase-locked loops) for phase synchronization of two lasers, CEO stabilization and fast AFM modes.

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UHF-BOX Boxcar Averager

The UHF-BOX Boxcar Averager is the first fully digital boxcar averager in history opening new perspectives and innovative ways of analyzing non-sinusodial signals with low duty cycles. It operates as a high speed digitizer synchronized to an oscillator and therefore captures every sample without any dead times while rejecting all non-periodic signal components.

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UHF-RUB Rubidium Atomic Clock

The UHF-RUB upgrade option provides an atomic frequency standard to the UHFLI instrument. Experiments in need of a high frequency accuracy and stable operation over long periods of time even in adverse conditions, e.g. laboratories with limited climate-control, can rely on the Rubidium based atomic clock. Moreover, calibration demands are also further reduced as there is essentially no clock aging. The UHF-RUB is a hardware option that cannot be upgraded later in the field.

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UHF-AWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator

The UHF-AWG option brings state-of-the-art Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) capabilities to the UHFLI, the world's fastest and most advanced lock-in amplifier. The result is a very powerful combination of complex signal generation and analysis tools conveniently orchestrated through LabOne®, the intuitive and platform-independent instrument control software.

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UHF-CNT Pulse Counter

The UHF-CNT Pulse Counter features analysis of up to 4 pulse trains in parallel, enabling event based measurements, e.g. photon detection using photo-multiplier tubes. There are five distinct modes of operation and each channel offers an adjustable discriminator. The maximum count rate is 225 MHz. Measurement results from the pulse counters can be conveniently analyzed with the LabOne® toolset, which features time domain and histogram display.

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UHFLI Available Bundles

UHF Boxcar

The UHF Boxcar is a bundle containing the UHFLI 600 MHz lock-in amplifier and the UHF-BOX Boxcar upgrade option.


UHF Digitizer

The UHF Digitizer is a bundle containing the UHFLI 600 MHz lock-in amplifier and the UHF-DIG Digitizer upgrade option.

The combination of Lock-in amplifier and Digitizer in one box along with the LabOne® toolset enables a wide range of new measurement opportunities utilizing continuous streaming, sophisticated cross-domain triggering and a segmented 128 MSa memory for each of the 2 Scope channels.


UHFLI Functional Diagram

The 2 Signal Inputs and 2 Signal Outputs effectively provide 2 lock-in amplifiers in one instrument. Each lock-in amplifier unit comprises 4 dual-phase demodulators which simultaneously provide X, Y, R and Θ.

High-precision Signal Inputs

The 2 signal inputs of the UHFLI provide excellent noise specifications and operate in single-ended mode. Input coupling is selectable between high impedance and 50 Ω, suiting both low-frequency and high-speed applications. For external reference mode and precise triggering on external events, the UHFLI comes with additional 2 input and 2 bidirectional connectors. Dual internal and dual-auto reference modes are also supported.

Signal Generators

The UHFLI generates 2 low-distortion sinusoid outputs ideal for driving the device under test or most modulating devices. The UHF-MF Multi-frequency option provides 6 additional oscillators and enables the generation of a linear combination of up to 8 sinusoids. Additional connectors on the front panel provide the demodulated amplitude, phase, or quadrature signals, square wave references, or trigger signals for external hardware.

Demodulators and Filters

The UHFLI comes with 8 dual-phase demodulators for simultaneous measurement at 4 harmonic frequencies per signal input. Each demodulator has individually configurable filter parameters. The measured amplitude and phase data after demodulation are streamed in real-time to the host computer.


A reference and trigger network provides high-performance operation: reference input and output work at a bandwidth of 600 MHz, trigger input and output feature reaction times down to 100 ns. The UHFLI is the first lock-in amplifier with dedicated hardware and software trigger functionalities. Hardware triggers enable quick reaction to physical conditions, whereas software triggers provide an infrastructure to define complex trigger criteria. Triggers are used to output demodulated samples at specific points in time, or to synchronize actions between several functional domains inside the UHFLI.

Arithmetic Unit

The Arithmetic Unit enables fast computation on a multitude of measurement data. This processor features addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of all data that are available on the auxiliary outputs. Applications include balanced detection, normalization by a reference, or dual-frequency resonance tracking.

UHFLI Specifications

Lock-in Operating Modes
internal reference mode single and dual lock-in
external reference mode single and dual lock-in
auto reference mode single and dual lock-in
triple-harmonic mode 1 fundamental + 3 harmonics (simultaneous)
multi-harmonic mode 1 fundamental + 7 harmonics (simultaneous), requires UHF-MF option
arbitrary frequency mode 8 frequencies, requires UHF-MF option
UHF Signal Inputs
frequency range DC - 600 MHz
input impedance 50 Ω or 1 MΩ || 18 pF
input voltage noise 4 nV/√Hz above 100 kHz
dynamic reserve 100 dB
input range (AC+DC) ±3.5 V
input full range sensitivity 1 nV to 1.5 V
A/D conversion 12 bit, 1.8 GSa/s
UHF Signal Outputs
frequency range DC - 600 MHz
output ranges ±150 mV, ±1.5 V (high-impedance load)
-12.5 dBm, 7.5 dBm (50 Ω load)
D/A conversion 14 bit, 1.8 GSa/s
Reference & Nanosecond Triggers
frequency range 10 Hz - 600 MHz (external reference)
connectors 2 bidirectional, 2 output, 2 input
reference frequency resolution 6 µHz
reference phase angle resolution 1.0 µ°
frequency range 1 mHz - 600 MHz
number of demodulators 8 dual-phase
output sample rate on LAN 2 MSa/s (total all demodulators), 64-bit full range
output sample rate on USB 100 kSa/s (total all demodulators), 64-bit full range
output sample rate on Aux outputs 28 MSa/s (for each auxiliary output), 16 bit
filter time constant 30 ns - 76 s
filter bandwidth 80 µHz - 5 MHz
filter slope 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48 dB/Oct
Input channels Signal Inputs,Trigger Inputs, Auxiliary Inputs, Demodulator Oscillator Phase, Demodulator X/Y/R/Theta, PID, Boxcar, AU; certain signals only if options installed
Scope modes Time domain, frequency domain (FFT)
Number of display channels 1; 2 requires UHF-DIG option
Trigger channels Signal Inputs, Signal Outputs, Oscillator Phases, DIOs
Trigger modes Edge
Sampling rates 28 kSa/s to 1.8 GSa/s
Vertical resolution 12 bit
Maximum number of samples per shot 64 kSa; 128 MSa, requires UHF-DIG option
Bandwidth limit mode, vertical resolution increase sample decimation, averaging
Cursor math Location, Area, Wave, Peak, Tracking, Histogram
Spectrum Analyzer
Center frequency range 0 to 600 MHz
Spectrum modes FFT(X+iY), FFT(R), FFT(Θ), FFT(f) and FFT((dΘ/dt)/2π)
Statistical options Amplitude, Spectral density, Power
Averaging modes None, Exponential moving average
Maximum number of samples per spectrum 8.4 MSa
Maximum span 800 kHz
Window functions Rectangular, Hann, Hamming, Blackman Harris
Cursor math Location, Area, Wave, Peak, Tracking, Histogram
Scan parameters Oscillator frequency, Demodulator phase shift, Auxiliary Offset, Signal Output Amplitudes, Signal Output Offset, PID Setpoint, Boxcar delay and time; certain parameters only if options installed
Parameter sweep ranges Full range, Linear and Logarithmic
Parameter sweep resolution Arbitrary, defined by start/stop value and number of sweep points
Display parameters Demodulator Output (X, Y, R, Θ, f), Auxiliary Input
Display options Single Plot, Dual Plot (e.g. Bode Plot), Multi-trace
Statistical options Amplitude, Spectral density, Power
Preset measurement modes Parameter sweep, Noise amplitude measurement, Frequency response analyzer, 3-Omega-Sweep
Auxiliary Signals
high-speed outputs 4 channels, ±10 V, R, Θ, X, Y, or user defined
D/A converter 16 bit, 28 MSa/s
D/A analog bandwidth 7 MHz
high-speed inputs 2 channels, ±10 V
A/D converter 16 bit, 400 kSa/s
A/D analog bandwidth 100 kHz
Connectivity & Others
host connection LAN / Ethernet, 1 Gbit/s
USB 2.0 high-speed, 480 Mbit/s
pre-amplifier control bus 2 ZCtrl (RJ45 connectors) proprietary peripheral interface
digital I/O 32 bit, 50 MHz, general purpose
clock 10 MHz, input and output, ultra-high stable ovenized oscillator (OCXO)
0.5 ppm deviation (0.00005 ppm with UHF-RUB option)
dimensions 45 x 35 x 10 cm
17.7 x 13.6 x 3.9 inch, suited for 19 inch rack
weight 6.4 kg
power supply AC line 100-240 V (±10%), 50/60 Hz
operating temperature +5 °C to +40 °C
operating environment IEC61010, indoor location, installation category II, pollution degree 2
operating altitude up to 2000 meters
signal connectors BNC on front panel, SMA on back panel
PC operating systems Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Linux

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