Interview: Andreas Pauly
What is your background and how did you get to work for Rohde & Schwarz?
After studying electrical engineering and communication technology at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in Germany, I joined Rohde & Schwarz in April 1996. I started as a software development engineer and designed solutions for 2G to 3G in signal generators. In July 2003, I took over my first management position as the Director of Baseband R&D for Signal Generators. After successfully leading several core developments such as the R&S®SMW Vector Signal Generator, I took over the role of Vice President Signal Generators and Power Meters in July 2015. In this position, I focused on expanding the product portfolio of Rohde & Schwarz in the microwave domain and on getting prepared for 5G. Since July 2017 I have been leading the Test and Measurement Division, and I serve as Executive Vice President and Member of the Executive Board of Rohde & Schwarz.
What are some of the most memorable moments in your career at Rohde & Schwarz up to now?
For me, it is always important to start with the understanding of the customer's application and measurement tasks. Without a clear picture of the requirements, there is a limited chance to develop the right solution for the problem.
An example that comes to my mind is that of customers who build radiofrequency (RF) amplifiers and want to measure the frequency response of their amplifier. In ideal circumstances, the signal generator that serves as a source for the amplifier has an extremely flat frequency response. In this ideal scenario, the customer would only see the influence of the amplifier in the output frequency response. However, customers previously had to correct for the influence of the signal generator in the measured frequency response of the amplifier by measuring the frequency response of the signal generator itself for each considered frequency and power level. This procedure was cumbersome and time-consuming. When we developed the R&S®SMW Vector Signal Generator, we were aware of this challenge with RF amplifiers. We came up with a solution where the frequency response of the generator is measured in real time and is automatically compensated for. With this functionality, customers get a very clean signal from the generator even when varying the frequency or the power level. Consequently, they save a lot of time as they characterize their amplifier. I remember the time when we had a demo tour for important customers working on the design and manufacturing of such RF components – it was maybe a year before the official product launch. When we showed this new functionality, I saw the interest in our customers' eyes. In fact, many customers said, "Please leave the device here right away so I can start working with it – it doesn't matter if it's just a prototype." Receiving this kind of enthusiastic customer feedback is incredibly motivating.
What are you most excited about now that Zurich Instruments is a Rohde & Schwarz company?
Zurich Instruments and Rohde & Schwarz are both centered on innovation. The engineers at Zurich instruments and Rohde & Schwarz who have already met immediately came up with ideas on how to work together and combine the brains and expertise of the two companies.
At Rohde & Schwarz we focus on growth markets and on challenging customer problems that we can tackle with unique and innovative solutions. One of these growth markets is quantum computing. Along with its lock-in amplifiers and impedance analyzers, Zurich Instruments offers brilliant solutions for controlling and measuring quantum processors and is a strong node in the network of actors leading this field. This type of complex quantum computing setup has to be characterized and calibrated to achieve optimal performance. That's where you need highly precise test and measurement equipment such as signal generators, vector network analyzers and oscilloscopes. And this is a stronghold of Rohde & Schwarz. Bringing the two companies together, we will provide excellent solutions for our customers.
What is an example of a recent Rohde & Schwarz solution that is especially powerful in your view?
Higher bandwidths become more and more important. In this context, we are in a leading technical position thanks to the very large bandwidth of the R&S®FSW Signal and Spectrum Analyzer.
The R&S®FSW is able to cover an 8.3 GHz internal analysis bandwidth at a frequency of up to 85 GHz and beyond. This is needed for wide-band satellites such as those used for New Space projects as well as for 6G, for example.
What is an important aspect that will shape the test and measurement market in the upcoming years?
Understanding what customers need at an early stage and what functionalities they will require is going to be key. To identify successful solutions for challenges that are often at the cutting edge of what is physically possible, it will be crucial to develop our own integrated components (e.g., ASICs or RF components). Rohde & Schwarz already has this capability.
Can you provide a couple of examples where Rohde & Schwarz technology impacts every-day life?
Our mission statement is "to ensure a safer and connected world". We drive innovation for mobile communications, to the point that every mobile phone has a close encounter with R&S test and measurement equipment during its development, production or service. Another example is that of our security scanner QPS: thanks to our microwave imaging technology, we help guarantee safe and comfortable airport security checks.
How do you like to spend your time when you don't work?
I like travelling and exploring the world – both culturally and culinarily. As travelling is pretty restricted at the moment, I have been experimenting with cooking international dishes to bring at least a part of the world back home.