Selecting a Signal Generator for Testing AD Converters

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  • Author: J. Ostermeier
Analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) have taken giant steps in speed over the past decade: Sampling rates of 250 megasamples per second at 16-bit resolution are now commonplace. Such devices allow highspeed video processing and even software defined radio (SDR) applications, where digitization is being performed at ever-higher intermediate frequencies (IF). This has clearly raised the bar for ADC test equipment, especially regarding the noise performance of the analog input signal and sample clock sources used in the test setup. Since the price of a signal source rises with performance, carefully selecting a generator with the most suitable specifications has become worthwhile if not mandatory.