This section provides overview, applications, and principles of waveform generators. Also, please take a look at the list of 4 waveform generator manufacturers and their company rankings.
A waveform generator is a signal generator that can generate signals with arbitrary frequencies and waveforms. In the past, signal generators such as function generators could only output signals with a fixed pattern. In contrast, waveform generator can generate arbitrary signals even when complex waveforms are required.
In reality, complex waveforms are often required, so waveform generator is expected to become even more popular in recent years.
In many cases, waveform generators are used in the development and testing of electronic equipment. For example, they are used in wireless communication applications such as IF and RF signals, in physics fields such as quantum computing and spintronics, and in R&D requiring advanced signal processing.
Depending on the product, waveform generators have a wide range of features, such as high-speed waveform generation, sequence waveforms, modulated waveforms, and pulse waveforms that can be freely defined and output by the user.
Traditionally, the mainstream waveform generators has been the function generator, which can generate not only sine and pulse waves, but also triangle, ramp, and noise waves. On the other hand, while function generators can generate simple arbitrary waveforms, they cannot generate complex waveforms sufficiently.
In contrast, waveform generators generally consist of a large waveform memory, a clock signal source, and a D&A converter. This allows the sample frequency of the clock signal source to be set arbitrarily, so that all waveform data recorded on the waveform scale can be output without interruption. Specifically, by replacing the waveform ROM portion with rewritable RAM in the DDS method oscillator, the user can freely write waveforms.
The DDS method consists of an accumulator with an adder and a latch, which accumulates the frequency setting value N in synchronization with the clock to obtain sawtooth wave-shaped digital data.
Waveform generators, functional generator, function generator, or signal generator are all terms for the same device.
Since arbitrary waveforms can be generated and their frequency and amplitude can be freely set, they are also called function generators, meaning signal generators with functions.
Arbitrary waveform means that it can generate waveforms such as sine, square, triangular, and sawtooth waves, as well as waveforms with a time element such as continuous, single-shot, and intermittent waves.
The frequency is not only constant, but also has a function called "sweep" that continuously changes the frequency. Furthermore, amplitude can be generated arbitrarily from 10 mVp-p to about 30 Vp-p. Literally, it can be said that this device can generate arbitrary waveforms.
Waveform generators has 1ch or 2cn output terminals, which are BNC terminals, making them resistant to noise and minimizing signal transmission loss.
The output impedance is 50 Ω, so care must be taken to avoid signal attenuation if the input impedance of the circuit to be connected is low.
Each output terminal can output waveforms as desired. For example, a constant frequency can be swept from Ch1 and a frequency from Ch2, and an intermediate frequency can be generated by passing both signals through a circuit called a mixer.
It is also used as a drive signal for various test equipment, such as changing the rotation speed of a motor or arbitrarily changing the vibration frequency of a vibration tester.
While waveform generators has traditionally been connected to a PC via GP-IB or LAN, an increasing number of recent waveform generators are equipped with USB ports. An arbitrary waveform can be set with a PC application and the waveform generators controlled via USB.
Alternatively, USB can be used as a communication port to perform On/Off or frequency sweep by an automatic control program.
A wide variety of control is possible, such as switching between sine, square, sawtooth, and burst waveforms, changing amplitude and duty, and frequency sweeping.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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