Industrial Electronics

Record-breaking digitizers get next variant

31 May 2022

A new dual-channel digitizer from Spectrum Instrumentation provides synchronous 3.2 GS/sec, 12-bit sampling on each channel. This means no data needs to be lost, even when the card is acquiring data with both channels running at their maximum sampling rate. The ultrafast bus allows all the data to be transferred directly to PC memory for storage, or even to compute unified device architecture (CUDA)-based GPUs for processing and analysis.

The new model M5i.3321-x16 is designed to handle a wide variety of signals, and a fast sampling rate and high resolution are supported by fully functional front-end electronics with 1 GHz bandwidth, programmable full-scale ranges from ±200 mV to ±2.5 V and variable offset. To allow the capture of long and complex waveforms, there is a generous 4 GB (2 GSamples) of on-board memory. This can be optioned up to an industry-leading 16 GB (8 GSamples) if necessary. The on-board memory can operate as a ring buffer, like a transient recorder, or as a first in-first out buffer, for streaming the acquired data directly over Source: Spectrum InstrumentationSource: Spectrum Instrumentationthe bus. It can also be partitioned into segments for recording multiple events, even when they happen with very fast trigger rates. Trigger events are time stamped and a host of sophisticated triggering modes (such as software, window, re-arm, logic and delay) are available to help ensure important events are never missed.

With 12-bit resolution, the M5i.3321-x16 card offers exceptional dynamic range. Measurements are made with improved precision and better signal-to-noise ratio when compared to those made with more conventional 8-bit test instruments. Importantly, the extra resolution allows users to capture small signals that may ride on larger ones, revealing the fine signal details that are often missed by lower resolution devices.

Installing the card into a PC turns it into a powerful test instrument that can be used to acquire and analyze signals in a huge variety of applications. The front panel provides SMA connectors for the channel inputs, clock and trigger inputs and outputs, as well as four multi-functional digital I/O lines. The extra clock and trigger connections make it possible to synchronize the card with additional digitizers or other measurement devices. The feature set makes the model very well suited for capturing the fast signals found in fiber optics, mass spectrometry, semiconductor testing, radio frequency recording, artificial intelligence, radar, lidar, communications, astronomy and quantum technology.

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