Digitizer cards get FPGA-based signal-averaging capabilities

July 15, 2014. Using the latest in FPGA technology, Spectrum has created new firmware packages that allow its high-speed M4i series digitizer cards to perform on-board signal averaging. The M4i.44xx series cards offer real-time sampling rates of up to 500 MS/s with 14-bit resolution and 250 MS/s with 16-bit resolution. The new averaging package features ultrafast performance being able to acquire and average signals at rates of over 5,000,000 events per second. The M4i series cards are available with two or four channels and, thanks to the cards fast PCIe bus, acquired and averaged data can be transferred directly to a host PC at speeds of up to 3.4 GB/s.

“The new averaging package, together with the M4i.44xx cards exceptional digitizer performance and fast PCIe bus, makes this development one of the most powerful averaging systems available today,” said Spectrum's director of technology Oliver Rovini. “With these new FPGA-based processing functions we are extending the capabilities of our digitizer products by improving measurement sensitivity and throughput. Engineers and scientists who are looking for faster, more accurate measurements for repetitive signals should find this development of interest.”

About signal averaging

Signal averaging is a common time-domain based processing technique that is used to reduce the random noise component of a signal, improving its signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), while at the same time increasing a digitizer's measurement resolution and dynamic range. Ideally, if the signal and noise are uncorrelated, the noise being random while the signal is repetitive, then the averaging function can improve the SNR in proportion to the square root of the number of measurements (or averages). For example, averaging a signal 256 times may improve the SNR by as much as 24 dB or increase measurement resolution by about 4 bits. Signal averaging is a vital tool in improving measurement sensitivity in applications such as mass spectroscopy, radar, ultrasonic testing, laser ranging, medical imaging, component testing and nanotechnology.

The averaging option (-spavg) is available now on the M4i.44xx series of PCIe high-speed digitizers as well as on the Ethernet/LXI digitizer product of the digitizerNETBOX DN2.44x.


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