04. How to build a figure-of-merit-o-meter?


  • Instrumentation improved a lot over the last 30 years without challenging the fundamental law governing a measurement system: be the best at 1 measurement under 1 set of operation conditions. In the meantime, the systems-under-test have experienced a major restyling: systems-on-a-chip increased the integration level and the flexibility, at the cost of a very large space fo settings.
  • That is why we need instrument 2.0. This instrument measures all the figures-of-merit of the complete system in 1 single experiment, with a level of accuracy that is tailored to the application. 
  • This topic contributes to the instrument 2.0. It brings instrumentation closer to the flexible, fast and adaptive tool that will be needed to tackle the characterization challenges posed by new applications such as self-driving cars or post 5G telecommunication.

Dreaming about instrumentation flexibility is one thing, but realizing it requires a carefully crafted approach to move carefully from one steppingstone to the next one. You will realize a proof-of-concept instrument to measure two or maximum three figures of merit (such as the Error vector Magnitude, the harmonic distortion or simply the S-parameters) using a single experiment. You will define a new excitation signal to capture all the aspects of the behavior that are needed first. Next, you will balance accuracy versus measurement time and adapt your signal design to attain this new goal. All this will require simulation first to set the concepts right and measurement in the second phase to practically verify your designs. Are you looking for a challenge that can help shaping instrumentation in the coming years?  We are always eager to provide you with more detailed information (virtually or face-to-face) without any obligation.

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