June 21, 2013

PXI and LabVIEW Meet Next-Generation Load Pull Measurement Speed Challenges

National Instruments has recently announced joint development on load pull solutions from Anteverta Microwave, Focus Microwaves, Maury Microwave and Mesuro. These load pull solution vendors are combining their expertise with NI PXI hardware and LabVIEW system design software to overcome the increasingly difficult source and load pull characterization requirements placed on microwave power amplifiers for aerospace and defense and wireless infrastructure applications.

Load pull characterization is an essential tool to increase the efficiency of power amplifiers. Due to time and cost, vendors have historically performed load pull during design. Today, however, the industry-leading speed and flexibility of a PXI-based system make it possible to verify power amplifier performance during production test.

NI PXI is part of the LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture, which includes the latest computing technologies, such as multicore CPUs and FPGAs, and a single, common development language. Anteverta Microwave, Focus Microwaves, Maury Microwave and Mesuro are using this architecture, along with their unique approaches, to help their customers simplify test and decrease time to market.
“The high-speed and modulated impedance capabilities we get from using the NI PXI form factor have helped us create a solution that is ideal for power amplifier characterization during development, pre-production and production testing,” Mauro Marchetti, Anteverta Microwave CEO said. “LabVIEW greatly simplifies the user-programmability of our system.”

“Modular PXI products such as the NI vector network analyzer simplify the load pull setup by merging all instruments into a convenient low-cost chassis, which improves overall measurement speed and usability,” Steve Dudkiewicz, director of marketing and business development at Maury Microwave said. “The system guarantees adaptability as new technologies and modulation schemes emerge because we can add PXI modules ad hoc, and users can modify and script custom load pull sequences using an NI open-source load pull toolkit in LabVIEW.”

“Using the latest generation of commercial off-the-shelf NI PXI hardware in our RAPID load pull technique helps our customers test significantly faster compared with traditional test methodologies,” Simon Mathias, vice president of sales at Mesuro said. “It was easy to embed customer-specific signal processing into the onboard FPGA, further speeding up the system performance by using the embedded processor. All this in combination with the PXI RF upconversion and downconversion elements allows a smooth operation.”

“We are very excited to integrate NI PXI modules into our load pull solutions,” Zacharia Ouardirhi, general manager at Focus Microwaves said. “They are compact, fast, cost-effective, adaptable and accurate, and they will enable many features that were previously available only to high-end and expensive setups.”

The NI platform, ecosystem and software-designed approach provide tremendous speed, accuracy and flexibility benefits for RF, microwave and wireless applications. These providers and thousands of other organizations are redefining RF and microwave instrumentation through open software and modular hardware.

About National Instruments

Since 1976, National Instruments (www.ni.com) has equipped engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity, innovation and discovery. NI’s graphical system design approach to engineering provides an integrated software and hardware platform that speeds the development of any system needing measurement and control. The company’s long-term vision and focus on improving society through its technology supports the success of its customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders.