Fast switching frequency synthesizers guaranteed for 12,000 h continuous operation

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 December 2004




(2004), "Fast switching frequency synthesizers guaranteed for 12,000 h continuous operation", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 76 No. 6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Fast switching frequency synthesizers guaranteed for 12,000 h continuous operation

Fast switching frequency synthesizers guaranteed for 12,000 h continuous operation

Keywords: Aerospace industry, Microelectronics

Aeroflex Incorporated, a designer, developer and manufacturer of automated testing solutions and microelectronics for the aerospace, defence and broadband communications markets, reports that it has significantly enhanced its line of fast switching frequency synthesizers and is announcing its 2200 series; improving continuous operation – the mean time between failure (MTBF) by three times – from 4,000 h MTBF to 12,000 h MTBF. The 2200 family is built on a versatile modular platform that is said to be one of the fastest and cleanest available today. It offers 1 μs switching speed and sub-microsecond level correction, coupled with superb spectral purity.

Designed to save substantial time and money over building a custom system in-house, the 2200 family is used for airborne, shipborne, electronic warfare simulation, radar upgrades and other stringent applications where the highest performance is required for rugged environments. The 2200 family is believed ideal for radar simulation, radar cross-section measurements, antenna pattern measurements and other high- speed microwave and RF applications.

The 2200 family spans frequency range from 10MHz to 18.4 GHz. The 2200 frequency synthesizers are broadband sources, operating over the range of 10 MHz-18.4 GHz with a standard resolution of 1.0 Hz. The 2200 family can step from any frequency (F1), to any other frequency (F2), up or down, in 1 μs. Output amplitude is +10 dBm +2 dB into an impedance of 50 Ω. The 2200 family includes over 30 models and is housed in a full 3U rack chassis with front panel keyboard for manual control, GPIB, and parallel binary coded decimal (BCD) interface for remote programming.

Aeroflex's modular architecture and iterative frequency models are said to make it ideally suited for custom OEM applications. Just two standard modules make up a 10 MHz-2.3 GHz, 100 MHz resolution OEM synthesizer with the same specifications as the standard family, needing only DC power and frequency reference. To obtain finer resolution and/or wider frequency coverage, the user can easily add other standard modules.

Aeroflex frequency synthesis enables low noise, spectral purity. The frequency generation technique used by the 2200 family is direct analog frequency synthesis modular architecture. Based on mixing, adding and dividing fixed frequencies using wideband mixers, ultra-fast switches and switched filter banks, this technique is unique in providing, simultaneously, the attributes of fast switching speed, high spectral purity and wide frequency range. Direct analog frequency synthesis is also inherently rugged and reliable, there are no loops to unlock and no vibration- sensitive oscillators.

The 2200's architecture with a central reference generator synthesizes 50, 100, 150, 200 and 800 MHz signals from a 100 MHz reference derived by multiplying a 5 or 10 MHz reference oscillator appropriately and improving far-out noise by judicious filtering. All frequencies are derived in an iterative frequency generation architecture. Frequencies are generated as a decade of frequency steps over an octave from 500 MHz inputs to the next stage. Final outputs are produced by a scaling module that provides for doubling, dividing or heterodyning to achieve a range of 10 MHz-2.3 GHz.

The 2200 family is modular with over 30 possible configurations and more with options and is available immediately upon receipt of order.

Aeroflex also has announced the release of its PN9500 Wide-band Noise and Jitter Analyser. The company believes that with less than 1ps of residual noise, its PN9500 is one of the quietest instrument on the market for measuring jitter and offers a superior, lower-cost testing capability.

The modular PN9500 is claimed by Aeroflex to have the lowest residual noise floor (0.001 ps) of any jitter test instrument and is the only test system on the market capable of measuring state-of-the- art phase noise up to 500 MHz. The PN9500 Wide-band Noise and Jitter Analyser is said to provide superior performance for engineers who are designing digital chips, measuring clock devices, manufacturing memory devices, or charged with improving their network's system performance.

Communications engineers must improve their chip or transmission noise performance to meet more demanding noise specifications. Engineers must continually find methods of improving their transmission performance while lowering bit-error rates to meet tight compliance specifications.

PN9500 combination of features is thought ideal for carrier analysis, the modular design of the PN9500 can be configured in many different ways to measure any kind of frequency source from 2 MHz to 140 GHz. It is ideal for clocks and carrier quality analysis with:

  • Speed: 1 kHz-40 MHz, 10 averages in less than 30 s.

  • Dynamic range: 0.001 ps RMS on a 10 GHz clock buffer

  • Wide offset: up to 500 MHz

  • True P-P JITTER: selectable mask filters and peak-to-peak detector

  • Ease of use “Auto” functions

  • Plug-in architecture: compact and always upgradeable

The PN9500 is stated to be capable of measuring state-of-the-art phase noise up to 500 MHz offset. The PN9500 is novel because it is an upgradeable system with a combination of speed (full FFT analysis), wide dynamic range, wide offset, true peak-to-peak jitter measurement capability, a windows-based graphical user interface, and a modular architecture that is fully compatible with all Aeroflex PN9000 test system modules. The PN9500 is also compatible with multiple external reference sources and down-converters.

The PN9500 Wide-band Noise and Jitter Analyser is available immediately upon receipt of order. The PN9500 is modular with many configurations and options available.

Details available from: Aeroflex Test Solutions. Tel: +44 (0) 1438 772087; Fax: +44 (0) 1438 727601; E-mail:

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