HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator

The Zurich Instruments HDAWG multi-channel Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) has the highest channel density available in its class and is designed for advanced signal generation up to 750 MHz bandwidth. The HDAWG comes with either 4 or 8 DC-coupled, single-ended analog output channels with 16 bit vertical resolution. Output switching is supported between a direct mode, with maximized bandwidth and superior noise performance, and an amplified mode, that boosts the signal amplitude to a maximum of 5 Vpp. With 2 markers per channel precise setup synchronization is guaranteed while the full 16 bit output resolution is maintained.

LabOne® provides a state-of-the-art programming concept that combines the performance and flexibility of an AWG with the ease-of-use of a function generator. The platform-independent LabOne User Interface (UI) and a choice of APIs for LabVIEW®, .NET, MATLAB®, C, and Python enable easy measurement automation and fast integration into an existing control environment.

4 channels - HDAWG4

EUR 23,700.00

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8 channels - HDAWG8

EUR 42,200.00

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HDAWG Key Features

  • 2.4 GSa/s, 16 bits, 750 MHz signal bandwidth
  • 5 Vpp maximum amplitude
  • Scalable up to 144 output channels
  • Highest channel density available
  • Less than 50 ns trigger to output delay
  • Digital modulation at multiple frequencies
  • LabOne AWG Sequencer and Compiler

HDAWG Overview Video

HDAWG Applications

  • Quantum computing
  • Radar / Lidar
  • NMR and EPR spectroscopy
  • Semiconductor testing
  • MIMO techniques in MRI and telecommunication

The HDAWG is a high-end instrument designed to meet the requirements of demanding applications by extending the core AWG functionality with additional waveform memoryinternal oscillators, real-time precompensation, and a set of pulse counters.

Quantum computing and phased-array radar

Multiple HDAWG instruments can be automatically synchronized and controlled using a single user interface, enabling efficient scaling of radar and quantum computing systems while reducing complexity and lab space required. The short 50 ns reaction time to an external trigger signal enables quantum error correction methods with high fidelity. The internal oscillators minimize waveform upload times, ensure phase coherence and provide a simpler waveform definition. The integrated pulse counter helps simplify setups for trapped ion and N-V center experiments.

NMR and spectroscopy

Signals in NMR and other spectroscopy applications occur at timescales from nanoseconds up to seconds. The HDAWG can speed up these measurements by applying a variable sampling rate and/or parametric sweeping. Using digital modulation, an arbitrary envelope can be imposed on one or multiple carrier signals with minimal waveform upload time while phase-coherence is maintained without additional effort.


Are different hardware configurations available?
Yes, a 4-channel configuration and an 8-channel one (HDAWG4 and HDAWG8) are available. The HDAWG4 cannot be upgraded to the HDAWG8, and the upgrade options for the two models are not compatible, i.e., it is not possible to install the HDAWG4-PC Real-time Precompensation option on the HDAWG8 and vice versa.
Do I need a computer to operate the HDAWG?
Yes, this instrument is operated from a computer connected via USB 3.0 or 1GbE. The computer uploads waveform and sequence data to the AWG. Once the AWG is started, it generates its signal autonomously and doesn't strictly depend on the computer anymore.
How can I install and update the control software?
The LabOne software is freely available on our download center with updates appearing on a regular basis. The LabOne software provides a single-click utility to update the instrument firmware as well.
Where can I get a live demonstration of the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator?
Just call us on +41 44 515 0410 or send a quick note with your contact details and preferred time slot. We're happy to schedule an online demo to discuss your requirements and check if there is a match with the HDAWG instrument capabilities.
How many markers does HDAWG have? How can I access them?
The HDAWG has two markers per channel (8/16 in total). One of the two markers per channel is on the front panel (SMA), and one is on the back panel (32-bit DIO). Using any of the markers does not reduce the 16 bit resolution of the output.

More Q & A

HDAWG Models

HDAWG8 Arbitrary Waveform Generator

The HDAWG8 is the 8-channel variant of the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator. In terms of frequency range, vertical resolution, and other signal generation specifications, this instrument is identical to the HDAWG4 4-channel variant. The 4-channel variant cannot be upgraded to an 8-channel variant.

HDAWG4 Arbitrary Waveform Generator

The HDAWG4 is the 4-channel model of the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator series. In terms of frequency range, vertical resolution, and other signal generation specifications, this instrument is identical to the HDAWG8 8-channel model. The 4-channel model cannot be upgraded to an 8-channel model.

​HDAWG Functional Diagram

HDAWG Highlights

High-level AWG programming

The LabOne UI is designed to get you going quickly by providing hardware control in an intuitive and easily readable form. After defining the waveforms and sequences in the LabOne AWG Sequencer, the LabOne AWG Compiler translates the instructions into machine language and transfers the result to the hardware in a minimum amount of time. LabOne sequencing supports loops with dynamically varying delay and conditional branching points.

In addition to the standard waveforms, e.g. Gaussian, Blackman, sinc, etc., LabOne contains all the essential math and array editing tools required for complex waveform design. You can easily add, multiply, cut, and concatenate waveforms or organize them in segments. Importing measured signals or waveforms calculated in another tool like MATLAB is a simple drag-and-drop action.

Multi-device synchronization (MDS)

With MDS multiple HDAWGs can be operated as a single multi-channel AWG:
  • Operation of all instruments from a single UI/API
  • Absolute synchronization of all output channels
  • Phase locking of all instrument clocks
  • Synchronization of time stamps and sampling rates for UHF series instruments

When multiple instruments are used, the LabOne AWG Compiler takes care of distributing your master sequence program across all instruments. An automated trigger exchange protocol ensures synchronized playback timing. Using MDS you can also build up a complete signal generation and acquisition system, including UHF instruments, comprising lock-in amplifier, boxcar, digitizer and AWG functionality up to 600 MHz.

Oscillators, modulation, and phase control

The HDAWG is equipped with digital oscillators to generate the sinusoidal carrier of a signal independently of the programed AWG envelope signal. This means that long signals can be generated with very fast waveform upload and precise phase coherence across many pulses. Carrier frequencies and phases that would otherwise be written to a static waveform can be freely adjusted and swept.

The HDAWG-MF Multi-Frequency option increases the number of oscillators and enables full digital I/Q modulation for frequency and phase modulation, frequency multiplexing, or phase cycling.

Low-latency triggering and sequence branching

Thanks to the low-latency design, the HDAWG is able to generate its first sample on the signal output less than 50 ns after detecting an external trigger on one of the trigger inputs on the front panel. This is essential for feedback experiments in quantum computing where device properties are short-lived, and each nanosecond saved improves the experimental outcome tremendously. The 4 or 8 output channels of the instrument can be grouped in units of 2 or 4. Each of these groups can then be individually triggered which increases flexibility when distributing signals to separate parts of a device or setup.

In order to generate signals with a high complexity and real-time control, the HDAWG is able to select from up to 1024 pre-stored waveforms in a programmable memory based on the bit-pattern applied to its 32-bit digital input. These could represent a digital modulation pattern, a device-specific test waveform, or a multi-qubit state readout result.

HDAWG Available Options

HDAWG-CNT Pulse Counter

The HDAWG-CNT Pulse Counter allows the analysis of up to 8 pulse trains in parallel, enabling event-based measurements, e.g. photon detection using photo-multiplier tubes, at a maximum count rate of 300 MHz. There are four distinct modes of operation and each channel offers an adjustable discriminator with a range of ±10 V. Measurement results from the pulse counters can be conveniently analyzed with the LabOne toolset, which features time domain and histogram display.


HDAWG-MF Multi-frequency

The HDAWG-MF option extends the number of oscillators, enhancing the amplitude modulation capabilities of the HDAWG multi-channel AWG. With the multi-frequency option, you benefit from faster waveform upload and higher flexibility in tuning the carrier frequencies. This is particularly useful for applications that require many superimposed carrier frequencies.


HDAWG-ME Memory Extension

The HDAWG-ME Memory Extension option increases the available waveform memory of the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator from 64 MSa per channel to 500 MSa per channel. This improves its capabilities for handling large libraries of waveforms for high-throughput device testing as well as for generation of wide-band chirp or noise signals.


HDAWG-PC Real-time Precompensation

HDAWG-PC Real-time Precompensation ensures that the signal at the device under test matches the one designed on the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator. Through the principle of inverse filtering, this feature minimizes the effect of imperfections in the signal path. At its heart is a widely configurable digital filter applied in real time before the generated waveform is converted into an analog signal. 


HDAWG Specifications

Arbitrary waveform generator
Channels 4 (HDAWG4 model)
8 (HDAWG8 model)
Vertical resolution 16 bits
Waveform memory per channel 64 MSa;
500 MSa (with HDAWG-ME option)
Sequence length 8,192
Waveform granularity 16 samples
Minimum waveform length 32 samples
Sequencer clock frequency Sampling rate divided by 8
Sequencer instructions (playback) Play waveform (single or multi-channel),
play waveform segment (start sample index and segment length),
play waveform from the library (DIO input state), interrupt waveform playback
Sequencer instructions (other) Wait constant, wait for trigger, set/get trigger state, set/get DIO state,
integer variable operations (add, subtract, logical operations),
change oscillator frequency/phase (real-time), change other
instrument setting (non real-time)
Sequencer control structures Repeat (1 to 223-1 or infinite), conditional branch (multi-branch)
Wave signal output
Connector type SMA (front panel, single-ended)
Output impedance 50 Ω
Output coupling DC
Output modes Amplified, direct
Output range ±0.1 V to  ±2.5 V (amplified, into 50 Ω)
±0.4 V (direct)
Output level accuracy ±(1% of setting + 5 mVpp) (amplified, into 50 Ω)
Output level resolution < 0.1 mV
Offset voltage 0.5 × peak voltage, max. ±1.25 V (amplified, into 50 Ω)
0 V (direct)
Offset voltage accuracy ±(1% of setting + 5 mV)
Phase noise < -135 dBc/Hz (amplified, 1 Vpp, 100 MHz, offset 10 kHz)
< -148 dBc/Hz (amplified, 1 Vpp, 100 MHz, offset 1 MHz)
< -135 dBc/Hz (direct, 0.5 Vpp, 100 MHz, offset 10 kHz)
< -148 dBc/Hz (direct, 0.5 Vpp, 100 MHz, offset 1 MHz)
Voltage noise
above 200 kHz
35 nV/√Hz (amplified, ±2.5 V range, into high impedance)
12 nV/√Hz (direct, into high impedance)
RMS voltage noise
(integrated from 100 Hz to 600 MHz)
320 µVrms (amplified, ±2.5 V range, into 50 Ω)
100 µVrms (direct, into 50 Ω)
Time and frequency domain characteristics
Wave output bandwidth (−3dB, after correcting for sin(x)/x roll-off) 0 - 300 MHz (amplified, ±2.5 V range)
0 - 750 MHz (direct)
Sampling clock source Internal, external
Sampling rate 1.5 kSa/s to 2.4 GSa/s (internal clock)
50 MSa/s to 2.4 GSa/s (external clock)
Internal sampling clock resolution 7 digits
Rise time (20% to 80%) 450 ps (0.2 V step, amplified, ±0.4 V range)
800 ps (1 V step, amplified, ±2.5 V range)
1100 ps (5 V step, amplified, ±2.5 V range)
300 ps (0.8 V step, direct)
Overshoot < 1%
Trigger delay to output < 50 ns (within one channel pair 1&2, 2&4, 5&6, 7&8 using playWaveDigTrigger sequencer instruction)
< 180 ns (using waitDigTrigger sequencer instruction)
Skew between channels < 200 ps
Skew control range 10 ns
Skew control resolution 10 ps
Marker and other outputs
Marker outputs 1 per channel, SMA (front panel), 2 marker bits per waveform
Marker output impedance 50 Ω
Marker output rise/fall time 300 ps (20/80%)
Marker output period jitter 60 ps p-p (square wave, 100 MHz)
Marker output skew control -23...30 ns (range, at max. sampling rate)
~10 ps (resolution, at max. sampling rate, depends on absolute setting)
Sampling clock output SMA on back panel
Sampling clock output amplitude 0.8 Vpp (2.4 GHz into 50 Ω)
2.0 Vpp (1.0 GHz into 50 Ω)
Reference clock output SMA on back panel
Reference clock output impedance 50 Ω, AC coupled
Reference clock output amplitude 1 Vpp (100 MHz into 50 Ω)
Reference clock output frequency 100 MHz (internal reference mode)
10 / 100 MHz (external reference mode)
Reference clock output jitter 260 fs RMS, derived from integrated phase noise measurement (12 kHz to 200 MHz offset frequency)
Trigger inputs 1 per channel, SMA (front panel)
Trigger input impedance 50 Ω / 1 kΩ
Trigger input voltage range ±5 V (50 Ω)
±10 V (1 kΩ)
Trigger input threshold range ±5 V (50 Ω)
±10 V (1 kΩ)
Trigger input threshold resolution < 0.4 mV
Trigger input threshold hysteresis > 60 mV
Trigger input min. pulse width 5 ns
Trigger input max. operating frequency 300 MHz
Sampling clock input SMA (back panel)
Reference clock input SMA (back panel)
Reference clock input impedance 50 Ω, AC coupled
Reference clock input frequency 10 / 100 MHz
Reference clock input amplitude –4 dBm to +13 dBm
Oscillators and clocks
Internal clock type TXCO
Internal clock aging ±0.8 ppm/year
Internal clock short-term stability 0.0001 ppm (1 s)
Internal clock initial accuracy ±1 ppm
Internal clock temperature stability ±0..3 ppm (–20°C to +70°C)
Internal clock phase noise –105 dBc/Hz (offset 100 Hz)
–125 dBc/Hz (offset 1 kHz)
Maximum ratings
Damage threshold Wave –1.2 V / +1.2 V (direct)
–6 V / +6 V (amplified)
Damage threshold Mark –0.7 / +4 V
Damage threshold Trig –11 V / +11 V (1 kΩ input impedance)
–6 V / +6 V (50 Ω input impedance)
Damage threshold Reference Clk In –4 V / +4 V (DC)
+13.5 dBm (AC, with DC offset 0 V)
Damage threshold Reference Clk Out –4 V / +4 V (DC)
Damage threshold Sample Clk In –4 V / +4 V (DC)
+13.5 dBm (AC, with DC offset 0 V)
Damage threshold Sample Clk Out –4 V / +4 V (DC)
Damage threshold MDS In/Out –0.7 / +4 V
Damage threshold DIO In/Out –0.7 / +4 V (default configuration 3.3 V CMOS/TTL)
Connectivity & Others
Digital IO (DIO) VHDCI 68 pin female connector,
32-bit, configurable as input or output, 3.3 V TTL
Host connection LAN/Ethernet, 1 Gbit/s
USB 3.0, 5 Gbit/s
PC memory requirements 4 GB+
PC CPU requirements Compatibility with SSE2 instruction set required.
Examples: AMD K8 (Athlon 64, Sempron 64, Turion 64, etc.),
AMD Phenom, Intel Pentium 4, Xeon, Celeron, Celeron D,
Pentium M, Celeron M, Core, Core 2, Core i5, Core i7, Core i3, Atom
Operating system See LabOne Compatibility
Dimensions 43.0 × 23.2 × 10.2 cm
16.9 × 9.2 × 4.0 inch, suited for 19 inch rack
Weight 4.6 kg; 10.2 lbs
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 m

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