IQSTAR’s Key features

  • Turnkey software solution for 50Ω circuit characterization
  • Fully customizable with flexible setup schematic
  • Complete characterization flow, including:
    • Instrument control
    • Calibration process
    • Different measurement configurations
      • S-Parameters (Pulsed and CW)
      • 1-Tone (Pulsed and CW)
      • 2-tone signals
      • Modulated signal
    • Flexible DC measurements and control (up to 20 DC stages)
    • Automation and test sequencing
    • Data export to standard formats (MDIF, CSV…)
    • Data analysis
    • Reporting
  • Instrument agnostic solution
    • A large list of instrument drivers available
    • Compatible with most instrument vendors
    • A simple implementation of new drivers using a Driver Wizard.
  • No programming skills required
  • Compatible for coaxial, waveguide, fixtured, and on-wafer measurements
  • Export data files in CSV or MDIF formats for commercial circuit simulators

 


IQSTAR 1.1 Modules

IQSTAR Functionalities

Benefits of IQSTAR

  • Re-use of existing hardware in the lab
    • A cost-effective testing solution
    • Quicker development time and faster time to Market
    • Less downtime and reduced maintenance costs
  • Faster test times
    • Automatize your tests
    • Combine multiple measurements types
    • Single calibration, multiple measurements
  • High Accuracy
    • Proven calibration process
    • Vector and scalar calibration available
    • Embedded validation and verification procedures
  • Flexible setups
    • Great adaptability to future test requirements
    • Instrument driver wizard for new hardware
    • Multi-brand instruments setups supported.
Schematic Editor

IQSTAR is a turnkey software with a versatile and customizable schematic editor for building a test bench with available laboratory instruments. Depending on the measurements required, multiple test configurations are possible: scalar, vector, or a combination of scalar and vector. Devices and circuits can be coaxial, waveguide, fixtured or on-wafer.

Each instrument selected in the setup can be controlled using specific drivers allowing full automation of the measurements. With 15 years of device characterization software development, AMCAD masters instrument controls and provides drivers that optimize the measurement speed without sacrificing the accuracy. Each instrument can be set with different options and in different modes.

 

Chronogram

High power devices require measurements in pulsed mode to mitigate thermal effects. Pulsed options often add complexity to settings. Therefore, IQSTAR provides a simple user interface for full control of the pulse generators, the receivers, and the trigger signals. Different instruments in the setup can be set with appropriate timings for the pulse setting and pulse measurements.
To simplify the task for the end-user, IQSTAR embeds a Chronogram that describes, on a time axis, the pulse mode settings, and a configuration panel where all the timing specifications can be set at once. All instruments in pulsed mode are automatically showing up in the appropriate section of the chronogram: generators (RF signal Generators, DC supplies) and receivers (VNA, Multimeters, Power-Meters)
The measurement windows can be configured for each receiver, and once the chronogram is closed, all the settings are configured automatically in the appropriate instruments.

DC supplies

Power amplifier measurements can be particularly challenging when dealing with multi-stages circuits. IQSTAR allows the control of up to 20 Power supplies with associated IV measurements either from the power supplies or using DC multimeters and oscilloscopes.
The flexibility of the DC power supply settings allows custom labeling of each instrument and its associated IV parameters to simplify the biasing procedure of multi-stage circuits. A resistive network can also be configured to de-embed the measurements and the voltage settings to the DUT reference plane, in case of current or voltage drop, through serial or parallel resistances. Customized formulas can be defined to calculate power consumption.

Calibration

IQSTAR provides corrected data at the DUT reference plane. The correction terms are calculated during the calibration process using a step-by-step wizard. Depending on the setup configuration, different calibrations can be performed. In the case of a scalar setup, the calibration procedure is based on power measurements using power meters and signal generators. For vector setups, the calibration of the Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) is necessary to extract the error terms. Furthermore, depending on the VNA configuration, which can be set to use three (3) or four (4) receivers, the vector calibration and power calibration can be different. Therefore, and to minimize the source of errors, IQSTAR provides a state-of-the-art calibration wizard that relies on the schematic setup to identify the type calibration that is possible to perform and guides the end-user through all the steps including the validation process to verify and assess the expected accuracy.

Sweep Plan

Automated measurement is an easy task with IQSTAR. Sequencing measurements with minimum human intervention is key to an optimal testing efficiency. One person can run multiple benches at the same time to speed up testing capabilities. Through drag and drop actions, it is possible to define several tasks to be performed and run the complete measurement scenario automatically.
The “Sweep Plan” takes benefit of all the GUI tools already available in the bench definition interface or from the measurement interface. This way, defining a complete measurement task is possible, without requiring any programming skills, and without any loss of flexibility.
IQSTAR automation capabilities using the “Sweep Plan” allow:

  • Single setup and multi-setup configurations
  • Measurement sequencing with loop and stop conditions
  • Nested measurements sweep
  • DUT bias control & optimization
  • Probe station control
  • Chuck temperature control
  • SCPI commands for specific instrument control during the automation
  • Possibility to save sweep plans with all parameters for future use
Visualization

IQSTAR is provided with a visualization tool for each measurement module. Different displays are made available, allowing single or multiple graphs. Depending on the performed measurements, an extensive list of graph types is pre-defined, including:

  • XY Graphs
  • Smith Charts
  • Polar
  • Tables
  • Spectrum
  • CCDF traces
  • EVM constellation
  • ACPR Mask
  • And many others

Different controls allowing the display of different parameters at a specific frequency or power level make the performance evaluation of the device easier to analyze. User-defined templates can be saved and recalled. Measurement data can be exported to standard formats like CSV and MDIF.

IQSTAR Measurement modules

IQSTAR is composed of different modules allowing the flexibility to choose the right configuration for the right measurement setup. Each module includes the capabilities described in the sections above:
- Schematic Editor
- Chronogram
- DC supplies
- Calibration
- Sweep Plan
- Visualization

IQS100B-1
Bench Control

IQS100B-1 Main Bench Control & Sweep Plan

Bench Control : The flexibility of the schematic editor allows to define a workspace which corresponds to target applications and available instruments. Calibration wizard takes into account the setup architecture and propose only calibration methods possible with such configuration. Instrument control is done through VISA commands and allows different measurement configurations.

Sweep Plan Automated measurements is a simple task with IQSTAR. Sequencing measurements with minimum human intervention is a key to an optimal testing efficiency. One person can run multiple benches without sacrificing testing capabilities or speed. User-defined measurement sequences with one-tone, tow-tones, pulsed, and modulated signals have never been so easy.

  • Bench architecture versatility
  • Vector and Power calibration or Cost effective scalar measurements
  • Single setup and multi-setup configuration
  • Measurement sequencing with loop and stop conditions
  • Nested loops menu leverage measurement capabilities through drag & drop actions to customize the complete sequence
  • Possibility to save sweep plans with all parameters for future use

 

Continuous or Pulsed Wave Measurements. IQSTAR is an intuitive single connection circuit measurement software. It offers fast and accurate compression data at multiple frequencies. Live data plotting during measurement enables a clear pass/fail decision with an eye glimpse. Tuning targets allows the user to determine whether the circuit achieves expected results before the end of measurement sequence. Adjust and save the live data template to compare results in an efficient way.

  • Comprehensive Circuit characterization method with Smart Sweep or 2D sweeps (Freq. per Power or Power per Freq.)
  • Different gain compression settings, from Linear gain, Maximum gain, relative compression
  • Fast and easy input power level control at DUT reference plan independently of the RF source and driver amplifier drift or bias voltage drop
  • Extensive list of predefined parameters: harmonic power, OIP, return loss over frequencies & powers
  • Easy definition of different timings with the Chronogram view
  • Connect the bench with AMCAD Pulsed IV Generators to accelerate pulsed IV and PAE measurements
  • Control average and peak power sensors for scalar pulsed measurements
  • Use built-in pulse capabilities of RF generators or drive external RF modulators connected to CW sources
  • VNA-based pulsed measurements in asynchronous or synchronous mode are possible using cost effective hardware
IQS100B-2
IMD Control

IQS100B-2 IMD Control. Consideration of intermodulation distortion (IMD) is very important for RF and MW circuit characterization. IQSTAR allows a fast analysis of IMD by enabling frequency, tones spacing and power sweeps. Establish the Video Bandwidth (VBW) of your amplifier with a single sweep.

  • Insure real-time 2-tone balance at the DUT reference plan independently of RF sources or driver amplifiers drifts
  • Measure intermodulation products using Vector Network Analyzers or Spectrum Analyzers
  • Nested sweeps of IM3 measurements versus power levels and tone spacings
  • Optimize PA’s Video Bandwidth on the fly with real time measurements and trace history function.
IQS100B-3
Modulated Signal Control

IQS100B-3 Modulated Signal Control. The growing complexity of wireless systems, imposes a thorough and detailed characterization of RF power amplifiers using wideband signals. IQSTAR enables the measurements of high speed signal quality to evaluate the performances of the amplifier in terms of (EVM, ACPR, BER...)

  • Single setup connection to perform CW, Pulsed, 2-Tones and Modulated Signal analysis
  • Dynamic AM-AM and AM-PM measurements
  • Signal Spectrum, ACPR and EVM available
  • CCDF and PAPR live visualization
  • Instrument built-in and third-party DPD algorithm supported
  • Real time measurement with and without DPD
  • Support of different instruments and vendors
  • Nested measurement sweeps capabilities

Benefits of IQSTAR

  • Re-use of existing hardware in the lab
    • A cost-effective testing solution
    • Quicker development time and faster time to Market
    • Less downtime and reduced maintenance costs
  • Faster test times
    • Automatize your tests
    • Combine multiple measurements types
    • Single calibration, multiple measurements
  • High Accuracy
    • Proven calibration process
    • Vector and scalar calibration available
    • Embedded validation and verification procedures
  • Flexible setups
    • Great adaptability to future test requirements
    • Instrument driver wizard for new hardware
    • Multi-brand instruments setups supported.
Schematic Editor

IQSTAR is a turnkey software with a versatile and customizable schematic editor for building a test bench with available laboratory instruments. Depending on the measurements required, multiple test configurations are possible: scalar, vector, or a combination of scalar and vector. Devices and circuits can be coaxial, waveguide, fixtured or on-wafer.

Each instrument selected in the setup can be controlled using specific drivers allowing full automation of the measurements. With 15 years of device characterization software development, AMCAD masters instrument controls and provides drivers that optimize the measurement speed without sacrificing the accuracy. Each instrument can be set with different options and in different modes.

 

Chronogram

High power devices require measurements in pulsed mode to mitigate thermal effects. Pulsed options often add complexity to settings. Therefore, IQSTAR provides a simple user interface for full control of the pulse generators, the receivers, and the trigger signals. Different instruments in the setup can be set with appropriate timings for the pulse setting and pulse measurements.
To simplify the task for the end-user, IQSTAR embeds a Chronogram that describes, on a time axis, the pulse mode settings, and a configuration panel where all the timing specifications can be set at once. All instruments in pulsed mode are automatically showing up in the appropriate section of the chronogram: generators (RF signal Generators, DC supplies) and receivers (VNA, Multimeters, Power-Meters)
The measurement windows can be configured for each receiver, and once the chronogram is closed, all the settings are configured automatically in the appropriate instruments.

DC supplies

Power amplifier measurements can be particularly challenging when dealing with multi-stages circuits. IQSTAR allows the control of up to 20 Power supplies with associated IV measurements either from the power supplies or using DC multimeters and oscilloscopes.
The flexibility of the DC power supply settings allows custom labeling of each instrument and its associated IV parameters to simplify the biasing procedure of multi-stage circuits. A resistive network can also be configured to de-embed the measurements and the voltage settings to the DUT reference plane, in case of current or voltage drop, through serial or parallel resistances. Customized formulas can be defined to calculate power consumption.

Calibration

IQSTAR provides corrected data at the DUT reference plane. The correction terms are calculated during the calibration process using a step-by-step wizard. Depending on the setup configuration, different calibrations can be performed. In the case of a scalar setup, the calibration procedure is based on power measurements using power meters and signal generators. For vector setups, the calibration of the Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) is necessary to extract the error terms. Furthermore, depending on the VNA configuration, which can be set to use three (3) or four (4) receivers, the vector calibration and power calibration can be different. Therefore, and to minimize the source of errors, IQSTAR provides a state-of-the-art calibration wizard that relies on the schematic setup to identify the type calibration that is possible to perform and guides the end-user through all the steps including the validation process to verify and assess the expected accuracy.

Sweep Plan

Automated measurement is an easy task with IQSTAR. Sequencing measurements with minimum human intervention is key to an optimal testing efficiency. One person can run multiple benches at the same time to speed up testing capabilities. Through drag and drop actions, it is possible to define several tasks to be performed and run the complete measurement scenario automatically.
The “Sweep Plan” takes benefit of all the GUI tools already available in the bench definition interface or from the measurement interface. This way, defining a complete measurement task is possible, without requiring any programming skills, and without any loss of flexibility.
IQSTAR automation capabilities using the “Sweep Plan” allow:

  • Single setup and multi-setup configurations
  • Measurement sequencing with loop and stop conditions
  • Nested measurements sweep
  • DUT bias control & optimization
  • Probe station control
  • Chuck temperature control
  • SCPI commands for specific instrument control during the automation
  • Possibility to save sweep plans with all parameters for future use
Visualization

IQSTAR is provided with a visualization tool for each measurement module. Different displays are made available, allowing single or multiple graphs. Depending on the performed measurements, an extensive list of graph types is pre-defined, including:

  • XY Graphs
  • Smith Charts
  • Polar
  • Tables
  • Spectrum
  • CCDF traces
  • EVM constellation
  • ACPR Mask
  • And many others

Different controls allowing the display of different parameters at a specific frequency or power level make the performance evaluation of the device easier to analyze. User-defined templates can be saved and recalled. Measurement data can be exported to standard formats like CSV and MDIF.

IQSTAR is composed of different modules allowing the flexibility to choose the right configuration for the right measurement setup. Each module includes the capabilities described in the sections above:
- Schematic Editor
- Chronogram
- DC supplies
- Calibration
- Sweep Plan
- Visualization

IQS100B-1
Bench Control

IQS100B-1 Main Bench Control & Sweep Plan

Bench Control : The flexibility of the schematic editor allows to define a workspace which corresponds to target applications and available instruments. Calibration wizard takes into account the setup architecture and propose only calibration methods possible with such configuration. Instrument control is done through VISA commands and allows different measurement configurations.

Sweep Plan Automated measurements is a simple task with IQSTAR. Sequencing measurements with minimum human intervention is a key to an optimal testing efficiency. One person can run multiple benches without sacrificing testing capabilities or speed. User-defined measurement sequences with one-tone, tow-tones, pulsed, and modulated signals have never been so easy.

  • Bench architecture versatility
  • Vector and Power calibration or Cost effective scalar measurements
  • Single setup and multi-setup configuration
  • Measurement sequencing with loop and stop conditions
  • Nested loops menu leverage measurement capabilities through drag & drop actions to customize the complete sequence
  • Possibility to save sweep plans with all parameters for future use

 

Continuous or Pulsed Wave Measurements. IQSTAR is an intuitive single connection circuit measurement software. It offers fast and accurate compression data at multiple frequencies. Live data plotting during measurement enables a clear pass/fail decision with an eye glimpse. Tuning targets allows the user to determine whether the circuit achieves expected results before the end of measurement sequence. Adjust and save the live data template to compare results in an efficient way.

  • Comprehensive Circuit characterization method with Smart Sweep or 2D sweeps (Freq. per Power or Power per Freq.)
  • Different gain compression settings, from Linear gain, Maximum gain, relative compression
  • Fast and easy input power level control at DUT reference plan independently of the RF source and driver amplifier drift or bias voltage drop
  • Extensive list of predefined parameters: harmonic power, OIP, return loss over frequencies & powers
  • Easy definition of different timings with the Chronogram view
  • Connect the bench with AMCAD Pulsed IV Generators to accelerate pulsed IV and PAE measurements
  • Control average and peak power sensors for scalar pulsed measurements
  • Use built-in pulse capabilities of RF generators or drive external RF modulators connected to CW sources
  • VNA-based pulsed measurements in asynchronous or synchronous mode are possible using cost effective hardware
IQS100B-2
IMD Control

IQS100B-2 IMD Control. Consideration of intermodulation distortion (IMD) is very important for RF and MW circuit characterization. IQSTAR allows a fast analysis of IMD by enabling frequency, tones spacing and power sweeps. Establish the Video Bandwidth (VBW) of your amplifier with a single sweep.

  • Insure real-time 2-tone balance at the DUT reference plan independently of RF sources or driver amplifiers drifts
  • Measure intermodulation products using Vector Network Analyzers or Spectrum Analyzers
  • Nested sweeps of IM3 measurements versus power levels and tone spacings
  • Optimize PA’s Video Bandwidth on the fly with real time measurements and trace history function.
IQS100B-3
Modulated Signal Control

IQS100B-3 Modulated Signal Control. The growing complexity of wireless systems, imposes a thorough and detailed characterization of RF power amplifiers using wideband signals. IQSTAR enables the measurements of high speed signal quality to evaluate the performances of the amplifier in terms of (EVM, ACPR, BER...)

  • Single setup connection to perform CW, Pulsed, 2-Tones and Modulated Signal analysis
  • Dynamic AM-AM and AM-PM measurements
  • Signal Spectrum, ACPR and EVM available
  • CCDF and PAPR live visualization
  • Instrument built-in and third-party DPD algorithm supported
  • Real time measurement with and without DPD
  • Support of different instruments and vendors
  • Nested measurement sweeps capabilities


Videos

IQSTAR AMCAD Live Demo at IMS 2018
IQSTAR Wideband DPD at NI-Week 2019
IQSTAR 1.1 Release 2020