Spectral Analysis Fundamentals

Publish Date: Feb 01, 2012 | 6 Ratings | 4.67 out of 5 |  PDF

Overview

This tutorial is part of the National Instruments Measurement Fundamentals series. Each tutorial in this series teaches you a specific topic of common measurement applications by explaining the theory and giving practical examples. This tutorial covers an introduction to RF, wireless, and high-frequency signals and systems.

For the complete list of tutorials, return to the NI Measurement Fundamentals Main page, or for more RF tutorials, refer to the NI RF Fundamentals main subpage. For more information about National Instruments RF products, visit www.ni.com/rf.

What You Learn
This set of tutorials discusses several topics relating to spectral analysis. These tutorials cover typical spectral measurements, such as power in band and adjacent channel power; fundamental concepts, such as dynamic range, resolution bandwidth, and harmonic distortion; and noise specifications.

1. Spectral Measurements (Part 1)

Spectral measurements in RF and communications systems include power in band, occupied bandwidth, peak search, and adjacent channel power. The NI Spectral Measurements Toolkit combined with the National Instruments vector signal analyzer can make each of these measurements.

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2. Spectral Measurements (Part 2)

Fast Fourier transform (FFT) and Zoom-FFT are a few key spectral measurements. To perform these types of analysis, one must consider sampling rate, resolution bandwidth, filtering, and more.

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3. Resolution Bandwidth

Resolution bandwidth (RBW) is a fundamental spectral analysis measurement. In general, RBW determines the frequency precision of a measurement. Because RBW affects dynamic range, we can also compare dynamic range. The dynamic range determines the amplitude precision of a spectral measurement.

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4. Harmonic Distortion

In an ideal system, the FFT of a sinusoid would result in a single peak at a specific frequency. However, in real-world systems, non-linearity and noise result in imperfections such as harmonic distortion.

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5. Noise Specifications

In real-world RF communications systems, characterizing noise—phase noise (spectral purity) and the noise floor (noise density)—is extremely important because of the high frequencies involved.

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6. Looking for more RF Basics?

Engineers who are new to RF or looking for a a refresher course can attend a 3-Day National Instruments RF Fundamentals Training Course to explore traditional measurements, learn about digital and analog modulation, examine modern system-level tests such as BER, MER, and EVM, and more.

7. Related Products

NI PXIe-5663 6.6 GHz RF Vector Signal Analyzer
The National Instruments PXIe-5663 is a modular 6.6 GHz RF vector signal analyzer with 50 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth optimized for automated test.

NI PXIe-5673 6.6 GHz RF Vector Signal Generator
The National Instruments PXIe-5673 is a 4-slot 6.6 GHz RF vector signal generator that delivers signal generation from 85 MHz to 6.6 GHz, 100 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth, and up to 512 MB of memory.

NI PXI-5660 2.7 GHz RF Vector Signal Analyzer
The National Instruments PXI-5660 is a modular 2.7 GHz RF vector signal analyzer with 20 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth optimized for automated test.

NI PXI-5671 2.7 GHz RF Vector Signal Generator
The National Instruments PXI-5671 module is a 3-slot RF vector signal generator that delivers signal generation from 250 kHz to 2.7 GHz, 20 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth, and up to 512 MB of memory.

NI PXI-5652 6.6 GHz RF and Microwave Signal Generator
The National Instruments PXI-5652 6.6 GHz RF and microwave signal generator is continuous-wave with modulation capability. It is excellent for setting up stimulus response applications with RF signal analyzers.

NI RF Switches
The National Instruments RF switch modules are ideal for expanding the channel count or increasing the flexibility of systems with signal bandwidths greater than 10 MHz to bandwidths as high as 26.5 GHz.

NI LabVIEW
National Instruments LabVIEW is an industry-leading graphical software tool for designing test, measurement, and automation systems.

8. Conclusions

For the complete list of tutorials, return to the NI Measurement Fundamentals main page, or for more RF tutorials, refer to the NI RF Fundamentals main subpage. For more information about National Instruments RF products, visit www.ni.com/rf.

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