New Test & Measurement Tools Rise to Meet the Needs of High-Frequency Devices

September 26, 2023 by Darshil Patel

New test tools from Siglent, Teledyne LeCroy, and Keysight flex frequency range, accuracy, flexibility, and resolution.

Test and measurement (T&M) tools play a critical role in ensuring the reliability and performance of electronic systems. One of the most notable trends in T&M tools is the growing demand for high-frequency instruments due to the proliferation of 5G technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other high-speed communication systems.


The SSG6000A signal generator

The SSG6000A signal generator. Image used courtesy of Siglent


This article discusses a few recently released T&M instruments, their key features, and their potential impact on the electronics and telecommunications industry. 


Siglent Announces Microwave Analog Signal Generator 

Siglent recently introduced its SSG6000A Series RF signal generator, targeting applications involving microwave and millimeter waves with a wide frequency range and high accuracy. It is designed to provide exceptional signal purity across a wide frequency range from 100 kHz to 40 GHz, even at high-output power levels.

The instrument features a phase noise performance of -135 dBc/Hz, ensuring signal integrity during testing. Additionally, it exhibits low subharmonic signal components, measuring below -80 dBc, and minimal broadband noise, reaching as low as -155 dBc. Another feature is its robust output power of +22 dBm, eliminating the need for an external amplifier when testing high-power devices.


Phase noise attenuation across the frequency range

Phase noise attenuation across the frequency range. Image used courtesy of Siglent

Temperature stability is a critical aspect of prolonged tests, which can endure for days or weeks. The SSG6000A provides high-frequency and power stability within a temperature range of 0℃ to 50℃. Its internal reference hardware module, the OCXO, is built to provide both high precision and stability in signal output.

In terms of modulation capabilities, the SSG6000A offers AM and pulse modulation, featuring a pulse modulation on/off ratio exceeding 80 dB and a rapid rise/fall time of less than 15 ns. Its pulse train generator supports pulse widths ranging from 20 ns to 300 s and accommodates up to 2047 pulses. This flexibility extends to pulse repetition, which can be adjusted from 1 to a maximum of 65,535, resulting in highly customizable pulse trains for testing purposes.

The SSG6000A supports staggered pulse groups, jitter pulse widths, and pulse pauses, catering to various trigger modes such as gated and external triggers. Users can independently set the pulse width and pulse pause for each pulse.


Teledyne Releases 65-GHz, 12-Bit Oscilloscope

Teledyne LeCroy launched the new WaveMaster 8000HD high-bandwidth and high-definition oscilloscope platform, with model bandwidths from 20 GHz to 65 GHz. It provides 12 bits of resolution to characterize multi-level PAM3 and PAM4 signals used in USB4 Specification v2.0 and PCIe 6.0.

It records low-speed serial data sideband, training and negotiation links, power rails, and other associated signals, all while accommodating a wide range of probes, including passive and current, with 50 Ω and 1 MΩ coupling options. It can capture digital signals with digital logic (mixed-signal) inputs up to a clock rate of 500 MHz. Engineers can opt for the HDA125 High-Speed Digital Analyzer add-on, which extends this capability to digitally acquire signals at speeds of up to 6 Gb/s for tasks such as DDR memory signal acquisition, decoding, and read/write separation.


WaveMaster 8000HD

WaveMaster 8000HD. Image used courtesy of Teledyne LeCroy

Furthermore, it incorporates an acquisition memory of up to 8 Gpts, allowing one to observe and debug link errors over exceptionally long durations. Also, it supports more than 20 low-speed serial triggers and decoders to simplify the debugging process for both low-speed and high-speed signals.


Keysight Introduces Handheld Vector Network Analyzer

Keysight recently added the N9912C FieldFox Handheld Analyzer, a software-defined radio frequency (RF) tester, to its portfolio. It offers more than 20 vector network analyzers (VNA), cable and antenna testers (CAT), and other spectrum analyzer (SA) options for upgrade and download. 


Keysight N9912C FieldFox Handheld Analyzer

Keysight N9912C FieldFox Handheld Analyzer. Image used courtesy of Keysight

The analyzer provides accurate measurements from 3 kHz to 10 GHz while offering flexibility to choose from VNA, CAT, and SA tools for the project's environment. It also offers more than 20 downloadable software applications and upgradable key frequency and bandwidth options.


T&M Tools Cater to Connectivity Design Needs

Recent T&M tools like these offerings from Siglent, Teledyne LeCroy, and Keysight aim to minimize noise levels and enhance the accuracy of measurements, especially in high-frequency applications demanding minimal jitter. Additionally, many of these modern instruments come equipped with connectivity features, enabling remote monitoring and control. This accessibility simplifies the testing process and improves the scalability and maintainability of IoT deployments. Handheld and portable testing instruments like these are also becoming increasingly powerful, offering capabilities once limited to benchtop equipment.