Research Article: Precise frequency synchronization detection method based on the group quantization stepping law

Date Published: February 4, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Baoqiang Du, Ran Deng, Xiyan Sun, Baogui Xin.


A precise frequency synchronization detection method is proposed based on the group quantization steeping law. Based on the different-frequency group quantization phase processing, high-precision frequency synchronization can be achieved by measuring phase comparison result quantization. If any repeated phase differences in the quantized phase comparison results are used as the starting and stopping signal of the counter gate, the time interval between identical phase differences is a group period as gate time. By measuring and analyzing the quantized phase comparison results, the ±1−word counting error is overcome in the traditional frequency synchronization detection method, and the system response time is significantly shortened. The experimental results show that the proposed frequency synchronization detection method is advanced and scientific. The measurement resolution is notably stable and the frequency stability better than the E-12/s level can be obtained. The method is superior to the traditional frequency synchronization detection method in many aspects, such as system reliability and stability, detection speed, development cost, power consumption and volume.

Partial Text

The frequency difference between two signals is obtained by measuring the phase difference, and the high-precision frequency synchronization is realized. In recent years, regarding the traditional high-resolution phase-processing problem, to either optimize algorithm or improve the production process, the principle and processing method of phase measurement have not changed, but the measurement accuracy has been improved. K. Klepacki realized the phase difference measurement with 7.5 ps resolution by combining high-frequency pulse filling and fine delay [1], David Vyhlidal et al. improved this method, made the resolution of the phase difference measurement reach 0.17 ps order of magnitude, and obtained the time interval measurement precision with 2.1 ps [2]. The improved work of David Vyhlidal broadened the range of phase difference measurement, improved the linearity of measurement, and reduced the development cost of the measurement system. However, there is a ±1−word counting error in the phase difference measurement. B. Markovic converted the measured phase difference into a digital voltage, and measured the phase difference by measuring the digital voltage [3–4]. This method has the advantages of large dynamic range and easy integration, but the measurement resolution is limited by the conversion rate and digits of digital signals. This method can achieve 1.12 ps measurement resolution. L.Kostyantyna measured the phase difference between two comparison signals by using the phase coincidence detection method [5–6]. The method has high resolution, but the phase processing must be based on two signals of identical frequency. The phase comparison between signals with different frequencies requires complex frequency conversion processes such as mixing and frequency doubling, which normalizes the frequency, increases the development cost, introduces additional noise of the synthetic circuit and limits the universality of its application. This method can measure the phase difference better than the ps-level resolution and obtain the frequency stability with the E-13/s level. It is the most popular and effective ultra-high-resolution phase difference measurement method in the world. The measurement accuracy of this method is limited by the noise of the amplifier and mixer, particularly when the beat frequency is relatively low, the beat signal should be a rectangular wave to facilitate the time interval measurement. The effect of noise causes great difficulties in further improving the measurement accuracy.

The frequency signal is the most accurate physical quantity in nature [18–21]. Various experiments show that the phase difference between signals with two different frequencies repeats with the interval of the least common multiple period. A high-precision measurement of the frequency signal can be achieved by using the physical law [22–23].

According to the measurement principle based on phase quantization processing, the key to improving the measurement accuracy is the acquisition of phase comparison results and phase difference measurement in phase comparison results. The phase comparison results are obtained by detecting the phases of two processed signals. Then, the rising and falling edges of the phase comparison results are extracted, and the high-frequency clock is counted between the rising and falling edges of the phase comparison results. The two same counting results are used as the starting and stopping signals, and the frequency standard signal and measured signal are counted in the gate time. Finally, the counting results are sent to the upper computer for data processing and display. The system design scheme is shown in Fig 2.

According to the scheme in Fig 2, the frequency synchronization system prototype has been developed and tested. The frequency measurement range is 0.1–300 MHz. Frequency synchronization accuracy superior to the E-12/s level can be realized.

The proposed high-precision frequency synchronization detection method based on the group quantization stepping law is no longer to use the traditional phase comparison method to improve the measurement precision by simply relying on the improvement of the line circuit or the development of microelectronic devices. The proposed method applies the inherent relations and changing laws of the periodic signals in nature to the mutual relationship processing among the frequency signals to complete the mutual phase comparison and processing without frequency normalization. According to the phase comparison law between signals with different frequencies, the gate is selected by the phase measurement, which overcomes the difficulty of finding phase coincidence points and the uncertainty and randomness of the gate controlled by the phase coincidence points. Experimental results show that the frequency stability can reach the E-13/s level. Compared with traditional frequency measurement methods such as the analog interpolation method, time Vernier method and phase comparison method [24], this method has the advantages of high measurement accuracy, simple circuit structure, low cost and high system stability. With the development of microelectronics technology and improved FPGA performance, the measurement accuracy of this frequency synchronization detection system may be further improved.




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