RF Engines, a small design house on the Isle of Wight, has developed a digital signal processing architecture that can handle up to 1024 realtime signals at rates well over 100MHz, with higher quality than fourier transforms.
This is attracting interest not only from the military and instrumentation worlds, but also from telecoms companies for active basestation antenna systems and even ultrasound.
The pipeline frequency transform (PFT) can also be implemented in field programmable devices. At the moment, an eight-channel decoder is implemented using three functional blocks, but this is easily extended to 10 stages and 1024 channels decoded in realtime. A 16K transform requires 14 stages compared with 16384 modules for a conventional FFT.
The company is developing an evaluation board with a Virtex-II part and quad-clocked SRAM.
John Lillington, chief technology officer of RF Engines and the inventor of the architecture, said: "The new Virtex board will be one of the fastest in the world.
"PFT is a solution to high-end problems that was not practical before, due to the cost and size of silicon needed for conventional methods.
"In this implementation, it is not a transform in the true mathematical sense; it is more of a filter bank with a downconverter for each channel. There is a version that is more like a transform in that it can perform the inverse operation.
"The reason we are economical in hardware terms is because we avoid the use of complex multipliers. We use adds, subtracts and delays plus some memory."