Dynamic Range Enhancement of High-Speed Data Acquisition Systems

electrical and electronics
Dynamic Range Enhancement of High-Speed Data Acquisition Systems (LEW-TOPS-47)
To detect and accurately record sudden electrical discharges
Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a technique using reversible non-linear amplitude compression to overcome hardware limitations of common high-speed data acquisition systems. The NASA Glenn technique measures electronic signals with high dynamic range, wide bandwidth, and high frequency. The technique implements a custom electronic circuit applied between the input of a data acquisition device, such as an oscilloscope, and a test article to be measured. The Glenn innovation also includes a software-based algorithm that is applied to the data acquired through the applied circuit and the data acquisition system.

The Technology
Electronic waveforms exist that exceed the capabilities of state-of-the-art data acquisition hardware that is commonly available. The electronic waveforms that need to be measured simultaneously contain wide bandwidth, high frequency content, a DC reference, high dynamic range, and a high crest factor. The NASA Glenn high-speed data acquisition system creates a voltage compression effect with a custom transfer function that is adapted to the voltage range, frequency bandwidth, and electrical impedance of both the test article and data acquisition device. The compression transfer function is later reversed (or decompressed) with a software algorithm to restore the original signal's voltage from the acquired data. The data is thus improved via better signal-to-noise ratio, better low-amplitude accuracy, better resolution, and preservation of high-frequency spectral content. The circuit can be realized with either passive components or both active and passive components. Either realization is specialized for the test article and data acquisition hardware. This is an early-stage technology requiring additional development. Glenn welcomes co-development opportunities.
Radio Waves NASA Glenn's dynamic range enhancement can gauge the impact of lightning, electrical arc generation, or electromagnetic pulses on transmission lines
  • Improved performance: Detects and records transient pulses with improved resolution, higher signal-to-noise ratio, and preservation of high-frequency spectral content
  • Enhanced dynamic range: Stretches the range of existing data acquisition systems, capturing signals at lower levels than originally specified
  • Economical: The front-end circuit is readily assembled from simple off-the-shelf components

  • Monitor the manufacturing efficiency and performance of products such as electro-static discharge (ESD) compliance testing supplies, laser power supplies, radar transmission equipment, high-voltage power supplies, and ignition power supplies
  • Gauge the impact of solar flares, lightning, electrical arc generation, or electromagnetic pulses on electronic devices and power generation and transmission systems such as transformers, DC inverters (for solar and/or battery applications), transmission lines, underground conduits, and satellite uplink and downlink stations
  • Improve the performance of sensors that rely on the detection of transient signals by augmenting the existing analog-to-digital converter with the new circuit and software module
Technology Details

electrical and electronics
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