Wideband Spectral Measurement Using Time-Gated Acquisition Implemented on a User-Programmable FPGA

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  • Author: Raajit Lall, Abhishek Rao, Sandeep Hari, and Vinay Kumar
RF instruments have traditionally had a flaw that is only now being exposed by engineers testing complex chipsets and consumer devices. That flaw is closed firmware. Simple applications such as frequency domain trigneers testing complex chipsets and consumer devices. That flaw is closed firmware. Simple applications such as frequency domain triggering, FFTs or servoing can be difficult to implement on a traditional boxed instrument since these customized measurements require access to the instrument’s locked firmware. The move toward RF instruments based on user-programmable field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) allows engineers to develop their algorithms for use on the instrument, rather than having to rely on the test instrument vendor. This article shows how to implement such custom algorithms using open FPGA-based instruments that can be programmed with NI LabVIEW FPGA software.