Digital-to-analog converters (DACs)

Funded by Fraunhofer Gesellschaft

Duration: April 2015 - December 2018

Many applications require fast digital-to-analog converters (DACs). Especially in optical communications, DACs are preferably used in order to both generate higher-order modulation formats and to apply digital signal processing. Furthermore, the modulation format can be adaptively matched to the channel properties by using DACs. However, the usage is not limited to transmission systems: DACs are also used in laboratory instruments, especially arbitrary waveform generators. The performance of DACs is determined by three central parameters: sampling rate, bandwidth and resolution. Current DACs already operate at sampling rates of up to 100 GS/s, but have rarely bandwidths greater than 20 GHz. This project investigates new techniques to overcome the limitations of DACs and to improve the performance beyond the current state of the art.