UHFAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator

The UHFAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator integrates signal generation and detection in a single instrument, providing a comprehensive system for pulsed protocol measurement. Its state-of-the-art AWG programming concept offers a quick route to custom signals on the two 600 MHz output channels. A selection of detection schemes including multiple high-speed demodulators, pulse counters, boxcar and a digitizer permits to chose the best method suited to the application. Sequence branching based on internal measurement results enables feed-forward protocols at unparalleled speeds, making it for instance suitable for quantum error correction, NMR spectroscopy and others. The AWG signal composition and modulation features ensure phase coherence operation for demanding measurement environments.

UHFAWG Key Features

  • Dual 600 MHz Arbitrary Waveform Generator
  • 14-bit resolution, 2 markers per channel, 1.8 GSa/s
  • 128 MSa waveform memory per channel 1
  • 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

UHFAWG Applications

UHFAWG Overview Video

UHFAWG Q&A

How does programming the UHFAWG differ from programming other AWGs?
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 like MATLAB®. Editor features like code completion and debugging messages allows new users to program quickly and easily.
How can I benefit from the UHFAWG's amplitude modulation feature?
It 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.
How can I benefit from the UHFAWG's user registers?
They 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.
Does the UHFAWG support sequence branching?
Yes. To include a sequence branch, use an "if" statement in the LabOne sequence program
What kind of waveforms can I generate with the LabOne AWG Sequencer?
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, and make use of loop iterations to generate systematic series of waveforms. External waveforms based on CSV files are easily imported.
What is the purpose of the Signal Input connectors?
The UHFAWG comes with a built-in Oscilloscope to visualize the generated signal. 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.

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UHFAWG 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-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-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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UHF-LIA Lock-in Amplifier

The UHF-LIA Lock-in Amplifier option is an upgrade for the UHFAWG and brings all the features of the UHFLI Lock-in Amplifier, the world's fastest lock-in amplifier. The result is a very powerful combination of advanced signal generation and analysis tools, conveniently orchestrated through LabOne®, the intuitive and platform-independent instrument control software.

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UHFAWG Functional Diagram

UHFAWG Highlights

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, representing a superior replacement of inter-device triggering used in traditional measurement setups. It eliminates complicated synchronization methods between separate instruments for signal detection and signal generation. Instead, the measurement procedure is controlled from a single AWG program as illustrated with the example shown below.

AWG program inside LabOne sequence editor window featuring waveform playback, control of multi-bit digital output, and dynamic change of carrier frequency.
Analog and digital AWG signals generated by the program above. Data acquisition (here: homodyne detection) is performed synchronously with signal generation.

The platform-independent LabOne user interface provides an extensive measurement and analysis toolset:

  • With the parametric Sweeper, dependencies on AWG parameters such as waveform amplitude, delays, or carrier frequency and phase are easily measured.
  • Continuously streamed measurement data are visualized with the Plotter tool and offer a close monitoring of the effect of the AWG signal.
  • Triggered recording is available using either the built-in Scope or the Software Trigger tool to accommodate for the often shot-like character of AWG measurements.
  • The LabOne programming interfaces (API) for Python, LabVIEW, MATLAB, and C allow for quick integration into existing control software.

UHFAWG Description

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 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 needed to be uploaded. This saves time and increases throughput. Variation of carrier parameters helps in cases where frequent tuning of phase or frequency is required. In applications such as NMR spectroscopy that require long patterns at the full 600 MHz bandwidth, the user can reduce waveform size by specifying envelopes with a lower sampling rate than the final signal.

Find out more here about the AWG's capabilities for modulation and triggering. The UHF-MF Multi-frequency option further enhances the modulation features. 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 enables measurement of the phase in 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 ways of 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. 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 by the AWG Sequencer enables generation of long chirps with zero waveform memory.

Detection schemes

The UHFAWG can be combined with a range of detection units in the same instrument:

  • Multiple Demodulators enable phase-sensitive detection with a best-in-class 5 MHz measurement bandwidth for pulsed RF measurements.
  • The 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 system response to a waveform stimulus and chirped FRA measurements with leakage-free FFT.
  • The Spectrum Analyzer provides the high frequency resolution required e.g. in NMR spectroscopy.
  • 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 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 and there's no need to manage 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.

​UHFAWG Specifications

Arbitrary Waveform Generator
Channels 2
D/A conversion 14 bit, 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
conditional branching
input signals
32-bit digital input, trigger input, internal trigger (lock-in, scope, counter)
conditional branching
feedback latency
<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 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.

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