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Testing Pulse Timing Devices Using Arbitrary Function Generators


Arbitrary function generators in the mode of generating time intervals are used to test pulse timing devices (PTDs). It is shown that the generators have a specific amplitude-dependent error when variations of the amplitude of pulses that specify the time intervals cause distortions in the duration of the generated intervals. At the same time, the results of the PTD testing have a characteristic step component, which allows one to reduce the mathematical processing of the test results to the separation into the components: smooth (actually the PTD characteristic) and step (determined by the amplitude-dependent error of the generator). To identify the break points of the derivative corresponding to the transitions between the amplitude subbands, a discrete differentiation is performed based on the calculation of finite differences of the first or second order. The step function is formed in the process of discrete integration of finite differences. The efficiency of accounting for the amplitude-dependent error of generators of special form is demonstrated by the example of testing the PTD with constant and tracking thresholds. It is shown that a picosecond testing accuracy is achievable.

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The paper was supported by the European Regional Development Fund, project no. Nr. “High precision synchronous timing in widely distributed scientific instrumentation.”

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Corresponding authors

Correspondence to V. A. Bespal’ko or A. S. Rybakov.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Translated by N. Semenova

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Bespal’ko, V.A., Burak, I. & Rybakov, A.S. Testing Pulse Timing Devices Using Arbitrary Function Generators. Aut. Control Comp. Sci. 54, 466–473 (2020).

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  • pulse timing device
  • leading edge discriminator
  • constant fraction discriminator
  • time walk
  • arbitrary function generator
  • time interval generation