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Home » news » Agilent high-speed ADC raises interest in China

Agilent high-speed ADC raises interest in China

Didier Lavanchy Didier Lavanchy, head of our team, has been interviewed last month by Electronic Component Trading Network China(ECTN) to provide further details around our PCIe 12-bit digitizer launched in the 3rd quarter of last year and speak about gsps ADC technology in general . You will find in this post the translation of his interview. It may be interesting to read it even though you are familiar with this blog as Mr Lavanchy usually stays away from the medias so you may learn about details that have not yet been published. Have a nice reading. In the name of the team, happy and successful new year to all of you. GO TO THE INTERVIEW.

ECTN: As it is stated in the launch press release, the U5303A is an 12-bit high-speed digitizer for systems in commercial, industrial, aerospace and defense applications. Its uses include medical imaging, environmental monitoring, analytical time-of-flight, ultrasonic nondestructive testing and radar. Would you give me some specific examples or case studies? Besides, what are U5303A’s unique aspects when comparing with other digitizers?

Didier Lavanchy (DL): The U5303A is based on the PCIe Gen2 platform and is targeting OEM applications such as the one you mentioned where customers designed our products into their system. Besides OEM, the U5303A can also be used in research application such as in the measurement of plasma temperature, replacing current radiometer. Adding to that, the U5303A features excellent analog performance characteristics with very low noise and distortion, guaranteed by powerful shielding and cooling design, extensive validation and full production test.

ECTN: Is there any Agilent high-speed digitizer used in general equipment ? If yes, what kind of general equipment and what are their functions? Has Agilent established any form of partnership with other brands?

As a matter of fact Agilent digitizers are used generally inside specific equipment such as high-resolution medical imaging and analytical time-of-flight instruments. Their first function is to convert incoming fast analog signals into digital data, digital data that are then real time processed in the FPGA on the board or post processed in the computer. Our intent is to deliver technology with high signal fidelity, which can be easily plugged-in complex system with demanding signal processing requirement. In this regards, we work for example with the FPGA designer tool software provider Mentor Graphics. Together we have released a FPGA development kit dedicated to the efficient and fast deployment of custom signal processing algorithm directly in the heart of our hardware. As a result our customers can focus and protect their proprietary IP.

ECTN: Is the U5303A an industry-leading product? In other words, how advanced U5303A is compared to other high-speed digitizers? In terms of high-speed ADC technology, are there any technological bottlenecks in this industry? If yes, would you please further explain? Will we have solutions for them?

DL: That’s an interesting question. The U5303A banner specifications are alike competitive products since you may find the same ADC on our competitors boards. Indeed, 12-bit, 3.2 GS/s are specifications that you commonly find in datasheets. However, our experience speaks when it comes to challenging analog design. Our design preserves the signal integrity at the entrance of the ADC and our time-base produces a clock that is extremely precise as you would expect from a Swiss watch. I could share with you others examples such as the number of measurements you can achieve per second which at the end of the day are all critical evaluation factors when you compare gsps ADC cards and when you decide to buy our high-speed analog digital converter rather than another. Therefore, the most important elements to consider when you purchase a high-speed digitizer are not only the banner specifications and the price but even more important the non-banner specifications and the total cost of ownership.

ECTN: While offering advanced products to clients, does Agilent provide technological support as well?

DL: Yes, of course. A dedicated support is fundamental in lowering the total cost of ownership for our customers, so we have support engineers who will respond to any questions related to our products. Our support engineers strive to really understand the customer signal measurements and the end result that he wants to achieve. Therefore, the technological support starts already when we are first contacted to help selecting the right product and solution. Furthermore, support can also go include the development of specific signal processing algorithms for OEM customers who may not have the resources to do so.

ECTN: Regarding the future development of high-speed digitizers, what is your plan?

DL: Our roadmap can adapt to new customer opportunities as we have designed base boards and mezzanines that allows to easily transfer technology from a form factor to another, from a set of specifications to another and from one channel to multiple channels. Also as previously mentioned, our modular architecture makes it efficient at developing new firmware and software to cover new customer needs. In the future, the high-end industry applications will continue to require higher resolution and sampling rate as well as increased signal processing speed and complexity. Our plan is to be first at delivering new technologies while guaranteeing performance and precision, quality and interoperability of our high-speed ADC products and consequently shortening time to market for our customers.

ECTN: What do you think of the high-speed digitizer industry in general? And do you have any predictions about the industry?

DL: Research institutes, Aerospace & Defense organizations and relevant industries will continue to look at precise, versatile, reliable and first to market instruments. For instance when capturing events further away in radar applications and deeper in tissues in medical applications. The high-speed ADC industry will continue to quickly progress with new technology innovation and scientific progress. We believe that it is a fast growing market in which we will continue to play a leading role.

Learn more about Didier Lavanchy: Didier Lavanchy is Operations Manager of Agilent Technologies SA high-speed digitizers sub-division formerly known as Acqiris which he co-founded in 1998. He holds an Executive MBA (EMBA) from IMD (International Institute for Management Development) and a diploma in Electronics Engineering (MSEE) from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Switzerland. Previously, he was Marketing Manager at LeCroy NY, USA and responsible for the design of high bandwidth oscilloscopes at LeCroy, Switzerland.

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About Benedetta Viti

Benedetta is a PR & Web Editor. She is the key player behind the blog High-Speed ADC, willing to know more about the people behind the products. She holds a Bachelor in Languages and a Master in International Marketing.

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