FPGA and digital design
With over 15 years experience our FPGA based designs utilise an array of devices from Altera, developed using their Quartus software. Our designs encompass the majority of the device families available from Altera, small MAX3000 CPLD devices up through the range of low power Cyclone devices to the high performance Stratix IV devices delivering PCI express Gen 2 high speed bus interfaces.
These devices along with a support micro controller tend to feature as the heart of a large proportion of the hardware that we develop for our customers in the fibre optic measurement industry where high speed signal generation or acquisition is required. The support micro controller allows for system configuration and robust remote upgrades along with performing some housekeeping tasks.
Using the Altera Quartus software along with Model Sim allows both graphical and VHDL designs to be created and simulated, ensuring that a robust FPGA design is created that will perform over temperature and time without performance degredation due to timing violations.
With the advancement in hard IP blocks now present in the latest devices, high speed DDR3 memory has easily been implemented on Cyclone V and Stratix IV devices along with a multi-lane PCI express bus implemented on a Stratix IV FPGA. This has eliminated the need for costly VHDL cores and more expensive FPGA devices as the majority of the hardware required is now implemented on chip but external to the core logic meaning all the device logic is available for the design rather than having to utilise a chunk of it to create the controllers and interfaces. This also delivers higher performance in items like the DDR memory controller as the layout within the chip has been optimised.
The laser pulse driver is an example of a design based around the Cyclone 3 FPGA with a Microchip PIC providing the support functionality.
The multi channel optical interrogator with USB output is an example of a design based around the a Cyclone 1 FPGA with an Atmel ARM processor providing the support functionality.
The multi channel waveform generator is an example of a design utilising the power of the Stratix III FPGA with a Microchip PIC processor providing the support functionality.