The Zurich Instruments UHFAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator integrates signal generation and detection into a single instrument, providing a comprehensive system for pulsed protocol measurement. Its state-of-the-art AWG programming concept facilitates the implementation of customized signals on the two 600 MHz output channels. The UHFAWG also offers a broad range of detection schemes including multiple high-speed demodulators, pulse counters, boxcar, and a digitizer. The AWG signal composition and modulation features ensure phase-coherent operation for demanding measurement environments. Sequence branching based on internal measurement results enables feed-forward protocols at unparalleled speeds.
600 MHz Arbitrary Waveform Generator
- Dual 600 MHz arbitrary waveform generator
- 14-bit resolution, 2 markers per channel, 1.8 GSa/s
- 128 MSa waveform memory per channel
- Amplitude modulation with internal and external phase reference
- Two 600 MHz signal inputs with oscilloscope and optional detection schemes
- Cross-trigger engine for low-latency triggering and sequence branching
- Quantum technologies: quantum communication, semiconductor spin qubits, RF-reflectometry
- Band-excitation SPM
- Electrical pump-probe schemes
- NMR spectroscopy
The UHFAWG can reproduce any waveform from a user-programmable 128 MSa memory on its two 600 MHz output channels. The high-level compiler integrated into the LabOne® user interface centralizes the tools for waveform creation and editing, sequencing, and instrument configuration, ensuring an efficient workflow towards the desired output signal. Find out more about the AWG's programming concept here.
Moreover, the UHFAWG is equipped with two 600 MHz signal inputs and a measurement toolset offering a variety of synchronous and asynchronous detection methods. The cross-trigger engine enables bidirectional triggering between the AWG and the internal detection units, thus replacing the inter-device triggering used in traditional measurement setups. Notably, this eliminates the need for complicated synchronization methods between separate instruments for signal detection and signal generation. As shown in the example below, the measurement procedure is controlled from a single AWG program.
The AWG program in the LabOne sequence editor window features waveform playback, control of multi-bit digital output, and dynamic change of carrier frequency.
These are the analog and digital AWG signals generated by this program. Data acquisition (here: homodyne detection) is performed synchronously with signal generation.
LabOne provides an extensive measurement and analysis toolset:
- With the Sweeper, it is straightforward to characterize the dependency on AWG parameters such as waveform amplitude, delays, carrier frequency, and phase.
- Continuously streamed measurement data are visualized thanks to the Plotter tool and offer a close monitoring of the effect of the AWG signal.
- Triggered recording is available with either the built-in Scope or the Software Trigger tool to accommodate for the frequent shot-like character of AWG measurements.
- The LabOne APIs for Python, C, MATLAB®, LabVIEW®, and .NET allow for quick integration into existing control software.
Waveform generation, modulation, and chirping
The UHFAWG offers two output modes:
- In direct output mode, the waveforms are routed directly to the DC-coupled signal outputs. The 128 MSa waveform memory and 14-bit, 1.8 GSa/s D/A conversion enable the generation of high-resolution pulse shapes to reproduce a wide range of device testing conditions or to compensate for distortions occurring in the signal path.
- In amplitude modulation mode, each AWG channel shapes a sinusoidal signal generated by an internal oscillator. It optimizes the generation of phase-coherent pulse patterns using the sequencer and generic pulse envelopes, without which the entire waveform would need to be uploaded. This saves time and increases throughput. Variation of carrier parameters helps in cases where frequent tuning of the phase or frequency is required. In applications such as NMR spectroscopy, which requires long patterns at the full 600 MHz bandwidth, users can reduce the waveform size by specifying envelopes with a lower sampling rate than that of the final signal.
Find out more here about the AWG's capabilities for modulation and triggering. The UHF-MF Multi-Frequency option further enhances these modulation features, as it enables fast switching between up to 8 frequencies in a pulse sequence and precise inter-channel phase control ideal for external I/Q mixing.
The UHFAWG's internal oscillators are references for both signal generation and signal detection, which opens the way to phase measurements for applications such as pulsed radar. Two digital marker signals per channel can be generated with the same time resolution as the analog signal both in direct output mode and amplitude modulation mode.
The UHFAWG offers new approaches to frequency chirp generation for scanning vibrometry, high-Q resonator testing, band excitation SPM, or radar. Direct output of a periodic chirp is suitable for fast, high-resolution frequency response measurements. The amplitude modulation mode combined with the UHF-MF option makes it possible to generate a chirp centered around an oscillator frequency that is freely controlled, e.g. in a phase-locked loop. Finally, sweeping the oscillator frequency with the AWG Sequencer enables generation of long chirps with zero waveform memory.
The UHFAWG can be combined with a range of detection units within the same instrument:
- Multiple demodulators enable phase-sensitive detection with a best-in-class 5 MHz measurement bandwidth for pulsed RF measurements.
- The UHF-CNT Pulse Counter option is for convenient processing of PMT or similar pulse-like signals with rates up to 225 MHz.
- The Scope/Digitizer enable direct visualization of the system's response to a waveform stimulus and chirped FRA measurements with leakage-free FFT.
- The Spectrum Analyzer provides high-frequency resolution.
- The Boxcar Averager offers a precise analysis of fast periodic signals with low duty cycles.
Sequence branching and feed-forward
Using its branching capabilities, the UHFAWG can select the next waveform based on external conditions such as the state of the 32-bit digital input or on internal conditions such as the value of a demodulated signal quadrature. The flow diagram below illustrates the flexibility in defining branching conditions for different applications. Achieving sub-microsecond feed-forward times is a matter of a few sequencer commands, without the need for low-level digital signal processing.
This example shows the signal path for a fast feedback protocol. A feedback latency below 1 µs is reached for a protocol including demodulation and conditional branching. Direct AWG trigger delay is less than 150 ns.
Arbitrary waveform generator
|D/A conversion||14 bits, 1.8 GSa/s 1,2|
|Waveform memory||128 MSa per channel 1,2|
|Sequence length||1024 instructions in core memory + dynamic extension|
|Output modes||Amplitude modulation, direct output, 4-channel aux output|
|32-bit digital input, trigger input, internal trigger (lock-in, scope, counter)|
|< 1 µs|
|Sequencer output||UHF analog output, 2 markers/channel, 32-bit digital output, auxiliary output|
|Trigger delay to output||< 150 ns|
|Trigger uncertainty||2.2 to 4.4 ns|
UHF Signal Output
|Frequency range||DC - 600 MHz|
|Output ranges||±150 mV, ±1.5 V (DC-coupled 50 Ω)|
|Number of oscillators||2 (8 with UHF-MF option)|
|Phase noise||-120 dBc/Hz (10 MHz, offset 100 Hz), -130 dBc/Hz (10 MHz, offset 1 kHz)
offset 100 Hz)
|Random jitter (RMS)||4.5 ps (100 MHz, 6 dBm sine)|
1 Operating the UHFAWG in parallel with the UHF-DIG Digitizer option leads to a reduction of either the AWG sampling rate or the waveform memory size.
2 For non-repetitive waveforms longer than 32 kSa played on both output channels simultaneously, the maximum sampling rate is 900 MSa/s.
The LabOne AWG Sequencer allows you to work in a high-level language derived from C that is natural to read and write in, rather than having to pile up the sequence as a table of machine instructions as you would do with most AWGs. The LabOne language comes with waveform generation tools and thus lets you define the waveforms together with the sequence, rather than having to split this task out into a separate waveform generation tool or even third-party software. Editor features such as code completion and debugging messages allow new users to program quickly and easily.
This feature reduces the need for time-consuming waveform uploads, and it simplifies operation when using signals with a sinusoidal carrier. This is because amplitude modulation makes the carrier independent of the programmed waveform. The carrier parameters (frequency, phase, amplitude, offset) are then adjustable with few mouse clicks.
These registers increase the flexibility in pattern generation. User registers can be used as delays, as an index to select a certain waveform, or to output DIO values. You can change them manually from the user interface or perform a sweep.
Yes. To include a sequence branch, use an "if" statement in the LabOne sequence program.
Common waveforms (Blackman, Gauss, chirp, sine, square, sinc, DRAG, and more) can be generated right away. You can also add, multiply, cut/concatenate, and scale waveforms, as well as use loop iterations to generate systematic series of waveforms. External waveforms based on CSV files can be easily imported.
The UHF Arbitrary Waveform Generator comes with a built-in Oscilloscope to visualize the generated signals. Additional advanced signal detection functionalities such as demodulation, pulse counting, and boxcar detection, can be added in the form of upgrade options depending on the application requirements.
These connectors support the 4-channel mode of the UHFAWG that allows users to output 4 arbitrary waveforms at a slower rate. They also serve as analog data outputs when the instrument has detection options installed. Finally, they are general-purpose direct voltage outputs (±10 V, 16 bits, 100 mA).
It has 4 in total. Two BNC outputs are on the instrument front panel, two SMA outputs are on the back panel.
The UHF-AWG supports AM out of the box. The UHF-MF Multi-Frequency option enables quadrature modulation based on two quadrature channels added up internally. With this technique, it is possible to realise arbitrary modulation schemes that include FM, PM, and DSB.
Not entirely, because unlike UHF-MOD the UHF-AWG option does not enable AM/FM demodulation. The UHF-AWG can generate amplitude-modulated signals, but for sinusoidal modulations the UHF-MOD option is better suited. The UHF-MOD option enables phase-coherent addition and subtraction of frequencies, including frequencies that are locked to external references and their harmonics.
The lock-in detection does not change with the UHF-AWG installed, but the lock-in sine wave generator makes use of the same signal outputs as the UHF-AWG. Therefore, the two cannot be used in parallel. However, the UHF-AWG signal can be easily phase-locked to the lock-in amplifier reference.
You can lock in phase the UHF-AWG to the UHFLI by synchronizing it with a common internal reference oscillator. There are two ways to achieve this. One is to use that oscillator signal as the AWG carrier signal in amplitude modulation mode. The other is to trigger the AWG by the oscillator phase, thus synchronizing the AWG repetition rate with the lock-in frequency.
You can lock in phase the AWG and the UHF-BOX by synchronizing it with a common internal reference oscillator. To this end, the UHF-AWG can be triggered by the oscillator phase, thus synchronizing the UHF-AWG repetition rate with the boxcar averager frequency.
If you rely on custom MATLAB®, LabVIEW®, Python, or C software, the integration is straightforward with the LabOne APIs. LabOne helps you find the right API command for a given instrument setting thanks to its command log feature.
As the UHFAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator instrument or as the upgrade option UHF-AWG for the UHFLI Lock-in Amplifier. The option UHF-AWG can be purchased together with the UHFLI or added at a later time.
The hardware is identical except for the front panels.
Yes, this instrument is operated from a computer connected via USB or 1GbE. The computer uploads waveform and sequence data to the AWG. Once the AWG is started, it generates its signal autonomously and does not strictly depend on the computer anymore.
The LabOne software is freely available on our download center, with updates appearing on a regular basis. The LabOne installer includes a utility to update the instrument firmware as well.
The UHF-AWG provides control over every sample of the output signal. It is the right tool when you need precise control of the signal shape or if you require complicated sequences of pulses. A function generator is better at generating standard signals such as sawtooth waves or pulse bursts. This is because its user interface can be simpler, and its technology enables rescaling of a waveform in time to change the frequency.
The UHF-AWG provides standard trigger input and output functionalities to synchronize the signal generation of two instruments.
Automatic timing synchronization will be available in a subsequent LabOne release. This will greatly simplify the synchronization of signals across instruments.
When operating them simultaneously, the maximum sampling rate of both is reduced. If you require simultaneous dual-channel operation of the Scope and the AWG at more than 450 MSa/s, we recommend the use of a separate scope or digitizer.
When working at full speed (two channels at 1.8 GSa/s), the length of a waveform that can be played in one run is limited to 32k samples. In this sense, playing long patterns at full speed requires some optimization of the sequence and of the waveform memory.