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Signal source analyser

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article image Replaces rack of instrumentation.

AGILENT Technologies has released the E5052A signal source analyser (SSA), an instrument that can evaluate the performance characteristics of nearly all types of RF and microwave signal sources. It replaces a rack of test equipment with a single instrument that speeds measurement times by a factor of 10.

It helps R&D and manufacturing engineers in wireless communication, broadband optical, aerospace/defense and electronics perform tests more accurately and at lower cost. It tests more signal sources than any other single instrument, including crystal oscillators, voltage-controlled oscillators, surface acoustic wave oscillators, dielectric resonator oscillators, YIG-tuned oscillators, frequency synthesisers, and local oscillator circuits. The instrument measures phase noise, modulation domain (frequency, power and phase transient), power, frequency and dc current consumption. It provides a spectrum monitor function and two ultra-low noise dc sources for the device under test.

It lowers costs by eliminating the need to purchase multiple standalone instruments, including a modulation domain analyser, dc power supply (for the DUT), digital multimeter, frequency counter, RF power meter, signal generator and phase noise analyser. The device also improves accuracy by removing the need to connect and reconnect the DUT for each type of measurement, a process that is prone to error and takes a long time to learn in design and production environments.

Signal sources are evaluated by phase noise, frequency, and phase and power transients. Some of the most stringent demands are found in the test specifications of 3G and 4G wireless access standards. Agilent's cross-correlation technique lowers the instrument's noise floor at all offset frequencies without reducing measurement speed or compromising phase measurement performance.

The system offers a phase-noise frequency offset range from 1Hz to 40MHz. For transient measurements, the SSA offers frequency resolution ranges from 5Hz to 7kHz with 10ns to 160ms sampling resolution. Frequency span can be between 1.6MHz and 25.6MHz in the heterodyne (narrowband) mode. The instrument also provides a direct (wideband) mode for frequency transients up to a 4.8GHz span. It also includes low-noise dc power sources for the DUT that eliminate the need for a low pass filter.

The mainframe offers a frequency range of 10MHz to 7GHz, and up to 110GHz using downconverters. Other features include a Windows-style user interface, 10.4” TFT LCD touch screen display, and programming via SCPI and Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications. Up to four windows plus one user window can be open on the display. Connectivity includes GPIB, USB and Ethernet.

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