Spectrum has unleashed a line-up of academic tools that can be used to teach the basics of waveform generation, acquisition and analysis. The tools are designed so that they can be used by teachers and other educators for structured learning classes or by students who wish to follow a self-tutorial style process. The academic tools are also helpful for first time digitiser and arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) users wanting to learn how to use these instruments, the company stated.

At the heart of the academic tools is the SBench 6 software. SBench 6 is an advanced programme that provides a GUI for control of PC based instrumentation such as digitisers and AWGs. SBench 6 is especially designed for the high speed instruments from Spectrum which cover the range from 100kS/s (100 kilo samples per second) up to 5GS/s thus being suitable for signal frequencies from a few kHz up to GHz range. A key feature of SBench 6 is that it can operate with simulated demonstration hardware allowing the user to effectively manipulate virtual instruments, without the need to have real hardware. The programme not only enables simulated instrument control but it also allows data display, manipulation, analysis and documentation. Installing the SBench 6 programme on a PC effectively turns it into an easy-to-use virtual instrumentation platform.

SBench 6 Figure 1: This shows a typical example where SBench 6 is used to create modulated signals, often associated with communications and radar type applications, and then demonstrates how they can be manipulated and analysed using an FFT.

The educational tools include the SBench 6 programme, articles explaining its use, a step-by-step guide that shows the process for installing virtual hardware and a number of examples that demonstrate how to create, capture and analyse waveforms. The examples are easy to follow and explain the different ways that signals can be generated, how to make basic measurements (such as waveform parameters) and how to perform analysis (such as spectral analysis with a fast Fourier transformation or FFT).

The academic tools, including the SBench 6 software, academic guides, articles and teaching examples are available free of charge and can be downloaded by visiting the Spectrum website at http://spectrum-instrumentation.com/en/educational-tools.