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History | Spectrum

Milestones on our way to the future


Spectrum was founded by Gisela Hassler and Michael Janz with the business objective of developing custom-built instrumentation. They started developing an own product line and created the first ISA card in 1991. This digitizer card with 50 MHz and 8 bit called "PAD52" was sold for 17 years until 2008! Many other ISA digitizers and the first Arbitrary-Waveform-Generator-cards followed in the next years.


Spectrum created its first 12 bit digitizer card for the new bus standard PCI with a sampling rate of 80 MS/s. Many other PCI based cards followed.

2000 and 2001

Oliver Rovini, who joined the company in 1995 as a software engineer, takes over the position of the Technical Manager after founder Michael Janz left the company. It was Oliver's idea to build modular PCI products, consisting of the same platform card and several different modules. This quickly led to a large range of digitizers, AWGs and digital I/O boards named "MI-series".


Based on the existing MI series and with the benefit of the modular system, a complete range of CompactPCI and PXI cards were launched. Second, Spectrum introduced the M2i series, the successor of the MI cards with a better interface, more memory and more features. From 2000 to 2004, thanks to the modular system, the number of different products grew from 18 to 170! And third, in April the company moved to a much larger building with special areas for the development, production and office.


All 90 cards of the M2i-series became available as PCI Express version – the latest bus standard for PC based systems.


SBench 6 measurement software was introduced. The software is intuitive to use for comfortable and fast data acquisition and analysis of GByte of analog and digital data in addition to its powerful export and report functions. SBench 6 quickly became a very popular tool.


In the year 2009, the M3i series was introduced, starting with a 500 MS/s digitizer and followed by a digitizer card reaching 1 GS/s speed a year later. Meanwhile, the cards of the MI and M2i series were successfully sold around the world, being used in many companies, universities and for many OEM products. All three series formed a range of 320 different products!


Spectrum delivered 140 digitizer cards to CERN. Since then, they are used to control the Beam Dumping System of the LHC, the largest particle accelerator in the world.


To support the growing business in Asia, Spectrum appointed Gregory Tate as Asian Business Manager. Greg has 30 years of experience in electronics and a deep knowledge of digitizer technology, modular instrumentation and their applications in the Asian market.
A totally new product group was launched, the "digitizerNETBOX". This stand-alone unit contains two Spectrum digitizer cards, offering up to 16 fully synchronized data acquisition channels in one small box with full remote control via Ethernet/LXI from any PC or network.


Spectrum released the M4i series with 5 GS/s sampling speed! These very fast cards opened new application areas down into the sub-nanosecond range.


In the beginning of this year, Spectrum opened its own US office caring for the growing US market and the increasing number of manufacturing representatives. In over 30 other countries, Spectrum already announced distributors to enhance the global sales.
The new M4i series was extended with Arbitrary Waveform Generators offering up to 1.25 GS/s of data generation rate.


Spectrum released PXIe version of all its fast M4i-series Digitizers and AWGs. The PXIe cards share the same driver interface and are 100 % software compatible with the PCIe cards.
Also, the larger version of the digitizerNETBOX was introduced: Containing up to 6 Spectrum cards, this stand-alone unit offers up to 48 synchronous channels in one 19" chassis with total remote control via Ethernet/LXI.


Since the beginning, all Spectrum products are completely designed, built and tested in Germany showing an extremely low failure rate, so Spectrum increased the warranty for its products from 2 years to an industry-leading 5 years.
The quality of Spectrum cards can be seen e.g. at DESY in Hamburg, where they control all three particle accelerators for 15 years without problems, or in Antarctica, as the heart of an atmospheric measurement system of the Leibniz-Institute working precisely on its own for weeks and months in ice and snow.
Also, in this year, the "Spectrum Systementwicklung Microelectronic GmbH" changed its name to the internationally much more understandable "Spectrum Instrumentation GmbH".


Spectrum launched a new series called "M2p", with the PCIe platform board being only 168 mm in length, with many different modules forming digitizers in the range of 5 MS/s to 125 MS/s with up to 8 channels on a single card.


With the release of AWGs for the M2p-series, Spectrum finished the replacement of the older product ranges MI, M2i and M3i and now had a modern range of nearly 200 instrumentation products, all designed within the last 5 years. The more than 400 obsolete products were still in production for existing customers to allow a smooth replacement inside the various projects.

6-DEC-2019: 30th Anniversary

In 30 years, Spectrum was able to gain customers all around the world, including many A-brand industry-leaders, as well as 100’s of different universities and research institutes.
Spectrum digitizers and AWGs are used in world-leading R&D projects, like a 256-channel digitizer system which helps the British company FLF to build a fusion reactor within 4 years.


Spectrum presented the hybridNETBOX, a multi-channel AWG and Digitizer in one box. This single instrument simultaneously generates, acquires and analyzes electronic signals. The first series offered six different models.


Carsten Gralla joined Spectrum as new Managing Director, forming a powerful management team with founder and CEO Gisela Hassler, as well as Technical Director Oliver Rovini.
Also, eight more hybridNETBOX models were launched.