HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator

The Zurich Instruments HDAWG multi-channel Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) has the highest channel density available in its class and is designed for advanced signal generation up to 750 MHz bandwidth. The HDAWG comes with either 4 or 8 DC-coupled, single-ended analog output channels with 16 bit vertical resolution. The outputs can be individually switched between a direct mode, with maximized bandwidth and superior noise performance, and an amplified mode, that boosts the signal amplitude to a maximum of 5 Vpp. With 2 markers per channel precise setup synchronization is guaranteed while the full 16 bit output resolution is maintained.

LabOne® provides a state-of-the-art programming concept that combines the performance and flexibility of an AWG with the ease-of-use of a function generator. The platform-independent LabOne User Interface (UI) and a choice of APIs for LabVIEW®, .NET, MATLAB®, C, and Python enable easy measurement automation and fast integration into an existing control environment.

HDAWG Overview Video


HDAWG Key Features

2.4 GSa/s, 16 bit, 750 MHz signal bandwidth

5 Vpp maximum amplitude

Scalable up to 64 output channels

Highest channel density available

Less than 50 ns trigger to output delay

Digital modulation at multiple frequencies

LabOne® AWG Sequencer and Compiler

HDAWG Applications

Quantum computing

Radar / Lidar

NMR and EPR spectroscopy

Semiconductor testing

MIMO techniques in MRI and telecommunication

The HDAWG is a high-end instrument designed to meet the requirements of demanding applications by extending the core AWG functionality with additional waveform memory, function generator functionality, internal oscillators and a set of pulse counters.

Quantum Computing and Phased-array Radar

Multiple HDAWG instruments can be automatically synchronized and controlled using a single user interface, enabling efficient scaling of radar and quantum computing systems while reducing complexity and lab space required. The short 50 ns reaction time to an external trigger signal enables quantum error correction methods with high fidelity. The internal oscillators minimize waveform upload times, ensure phase coherence and provide a simpler waveform definition. The integrated pulse counter helps simplify setups for trapped ion and N-V center experiments.

NMR and Spectroscopy

Signals in NMR and other spectroscopy applications occur at timescales from nanoseconds up to seconds. The HDAWG can speed up these measurements by applying a variable sampling rate and/or parametric sweeping. Using digital modulation, an arbitrary envelope can be imposed on one or multiple carrier signals with minimal waveform upload time while phase-coherence is maintained without additional effort.

Semiconductor Testing

Nested sequencing, waveform iteration, and dynamic sequencing with DIO control are ideal for realizing signals for extensive high-throughput testing. Multiplying or adding the AWG signal with a function generator signal extends the possibilities and helps simplify and speed up daily measurement routines.

HDAWG Functional Diagram

HDAWG Highlights

High-level AWG Programming

The LabOne UI is designed to get you going quickly by providing hardware control in an intuitive and easily readable form. After defining the waveforms and sequences in the LabOne AWG Sequencer, the LabOne AWG Compiler translates the instructions into machine language and transfers the result to the hardware in a minimum amount of time. LabOne sequencing supports loops with dynamically varying delay and conditional branching points.

In addition to the standard waveforms, e.g. Gaussian, Blackman, sinc, etc., LabOne contains all the essential math and array editing tools required for complex waveform design. You can easily add, multiply, cut, and concatenate waveforms or organize them in segments. Importing measured signals or waveforms calculated in another tool like MATLAB is a simple drag-and-drop action.

Multi-device Synchronization (MDS)

With MDS multiple HDAWGs can be operated much as a single multi-channel AWG:

  • Operate all instruments from a single UI/API
  • Absolute synchronization of all output channels
  • Phase locking of all instrument clocks
  • Synchronized time stamps and sampling rates for UHF series instruments

When multiple instruments are used, the LabOne AWG Compiler takes care of distributing your master sequence program across all instruments. An automated trigger exchange protocol ensures synchronized playback timing. Using MDS you can also build up a complete signal generation and acquisition system, including UHF instruments, comprising lock-in amplifier, boxcar, digitizer and AWG functionality up to 600 MHz.

Oscillators, Modulation and Phase Control

The HDAWG is equipped with digital oscillators to generate the sinusoidal carrier of a signal independently of the programmed AWG envelope signal. This means that long signals can be generated with very fast waveform upload and precise phase coherence across many pulses. Carrier frequencies and phases that would otherwise be written to a static waveform can be freely adjusted and swept.

The HDAWG-MF Multi-frequency option increases the number of oscillators and enables full digital I/Q modulation for frequency and phase modulation, frequency multiplexing, or phase cycling.

With the HDAWG-FG Function Generator option, the modulation concept extends beyond sinusoid carriers to general carrier waveforms.

Low-latency Triggering and Sequence Branching

Thanks to the low-latency design, the HDAWG is able to generate its first sample on the signal output less than 50 ns after detecting an external trigger on one of the trigger inputs on the front panel. This is essential for feedback experiments in quantum computing where device properties are short-lived, and each nanosecond saved improves the experimental outcome tremendously. The 4 or 8 output channels of the instrument can be grouped in units of 2 or 4. Each of these groups can then be individually triggered which increases flexibility when distributing signals to separate parts of a device or setup.

In order to generate signals with a high complexity and real-time control, the HDAWG is able to select from up to 1024 pre-stored waveforms in a programmable memory based on the bit-pattern applied to its 32-bit digital input. These could represent a digital modulation pattern, a device-specific test waveform, or a multi-qubit state readout result.

HDAWG Specification

Arbitrary Waveform Generator
channels 4 (HDAWG4 model)
8 (HDAWG8 model)
vertical resolution 16 bit
waveform memory per channel 64 MSa;
500 MSa (with HDAWG-ME option)
sequence memory 16384 instructions
waveform granularity 8 samples
minimum waveform length 32 samples
sequencer clock frequency sampling rate divided by 8
sequencer instructions (playback) play waveform (single or multi-channel),play waveform segment (start sample index and segment length),play waveform from the library (DIO input state), interrupt waveform playback
sequencer instructions (other) wait constant, wait for trigger, set/get trigger state, set/get DIO state,integer variable operations (add, subtract, logical operations),change oscillator frequency/phase (real-time), change other instrument setting (non real-time)
sequencer control structures repeat (1 to 223-1 or infinite), conditional branch (multi-branch)
Wave Output
connector type SMA
output impedance 50 Ω
output coupling DC
output modes amplified, direct
output range (into 50 Ω) 0.2 to 5.0 Vpp (amplified)
0.8 Vpp (direct)
offset voltage (into 50 Ω) 0.5 × peak voltage, max. ±1.25 V (amplified)
0 V (direct)
phase noise <−110 dBc/Hz (100 MHz, offset 10 kHz)
voltage noise
above 200 kHz
30 nV/√Hz (amplified, 5 Vpp range)
12 nV/√Hz (direct)
Time & Frequency Domain Characteristics
frequency range, max. amplitude
into 50 Ω
0 − 300 MHz, 5.0 Vpp
0 − 750 MHz, 0.8 Vpp
sampling clock source internal, external
sampling rate 1.5 kSa/s to 2.4 GSa/s (internal clock)
50 MSa/s to 2.4 GSa/s (external clock)
internal sampling clock resolution 7 digits
rise time (20% to 80%) < 550 ps (amplified, 1 V step, 5 Vpp output range)
< 300 ps (direct, 0.8 V step)
trigger delay to output < 50 ns
skew between channels < 200 ps (any two channels)
< 20 ps (channels 1&2, 3&4, …)
skew adjustment range 10 ns
skew adjustment resolution 10 ps
Marker & Other Outputs
marker outputs 2 per channel, 1 SMA output per channel on front panel,
additional outputs on DIO on back panel
sampling clock output SMA on back panel
sampling clock output amplitude 2 Vpp
reference clock output SMA on back panel
reference clock output amplitude 1 Vpp
reference clock output frequency 10 / 100 MHz
trigger inputs 1 per channel, SMA on front panel
trigger input impedance 50 Ω / 1 kΩ
trigger input amplitude range ±5 V (50 Ω)
±10 V (1 kΩ)
trigger input threshold range ±5 V (50 Ω)
±10 V (1 kΩ)
trigger input threshold resolution < 0.4 mV
sampling clock input SMA on back panel
reference clock input SMA on back panel
reference clock input frequency 10 / 100 MHz
Maximum Ratings
damage threshold
Sampling Clock input
±5 V
damage threshold Ref input ±5 V
Connectivity & Others
digital IO (DIO) VHDCI 68 pin female connector,
32 bit, configurable as input or output, 3.3 V TTL
host connection LAN / Ethernet, 1 Gbit/s
USB 3.0, 5 Gbit/s
PC memory requirements 4 GB+
PC CPU requirements Compatibility with SSE2 instruction set required.Examples: AMD K8 (Athlon 64, Sempron 64, Turion 64, etc.),AMD Phenom, Intel Pentium 4, Xeon, Celeron, Celeron D,Pentium M, Celeron M, Core, Core 2, Core i5, Core i7, Core i3, Atom
operating system See LabOne Compatibility
dimensions 43.0 × 23.2 × 10.2 cm
16.9 × 9.2 × 4.0 inch, suited for 19 inch rack
weight 4.6 kg; 10.2 lbs
power supply AC line 100-240 V (±10%), 50/60 Hz
operating temperature +5 °C to +40 °C
operating environment IEC61010, indoor location, installation category II, pollution degree 2
operating altitude up to 2000 meters