Earlier this month, Spectrum Instrumentation announced the first members of a new series of high-speed, multichannel digitizers based on its new M2p PCIe platform board, which in turn is based on a Xilinx Artix-7 A75T FPGA. According to the announcement, the M2p PCIe platform board will serve as the base for all of the company’s future products, including the initial series of thirteen new M2p.59xx digitizer boards with digitizing speeds of 20, 40, 80, or 125Msamples/sec with 1, 2, 4, or 8 16-bit analog input channels (with separate ADCs for each channel) using one or two mezzanine modules in the company’s new 59 module family. There’s also 1Gbyte of on-board SDRAM capable of storing 512M samples (several seconds of real-time storage for digitized signals).
Spectrum Instrumentation’s new M2p.59xx high-speed digitizer family is based on the Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA
This modular design immediately creates 20 new digitizers in the product family. Another mezzanine board called star-Hub allows you to synchronize as many as sixteen M2p.59xx digitizer boards. Oliver Rovini, Spectrum’s CTO, says that “…the new units will smoothly replace all our current 12, 14 and 16-bit models giving our existing customers an easy upgrade path with a lot of technical advantages.” More models based on the M2p PCIe platform will be announced next year and might include AWGs (arbitrary waveform generators) and digital-I/O boards in addition to high-speed analog digitizers. Target applications for Spectrum’s new digitizer board family include ultrasound, laser, lidar, radar, automotive, and big physics experiments.”
The on-board Artix-7 FPGA implements the M2p board’s PCIe Gen1 x4 interface, the interfaces to the mezzanine boards, and multiple intelligent acquisition modes including multiple recording for segmented acquisition, gated sampling for time-specific acquisition, and an ABA mode that combines chart recorder and fast-acquisition modes. The Artix-7 FPGA also implements multiple trigger inputs, trigger outputs, status outputs, and synchronous digital inputs as well as time stamping of the digitized signals.
Using an All Programmable device, specifically the Artix-7 FPGA, allowed Spectrum to develop a truly flexible platform that can accommodate just about any requirement in the target markets. The device’s reprogrammable I/O accommodates a wide range of ADC interfaces and can just as easily handle the DACs needed to create AWG mezzanine modules. The same is true for implementing the M2p board’s PCIe x4 interface. The device’s programmable logic allows the company to develop all sorts of processing and control IP suitable for tailoring the board to a wide range of applications without making changes to the BOM.
Finally, the company’s new video about this product line (see below) notes that the company supports its products with service and repair for 15 years after introduction. Xilinx’s long-term support for its All Programmable devices makes this sort of end-product support possible. If you closely analyze the wording in Spectrum Instrumentation’s announcement, the company has bet its future on the Artix-7 FPGA. It takes a powerful, flexible, reliable foundation technology to make a bet like that.
Here’s a 4-minute video from Spectrum Instrumentation detailing the features of the new M2p.59xx product line: