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Suppliers Raise the Bar on Oscilloscope Performance

Tue, 02/26/2008 - 5:25am
Tim Studt

High precision, easy-to-use, leading edge signal integrity, long memory depth, and deep analysis capabilities are becoming the watchwords in this industry.

Manufacturers of high-performance DSO/DSA (digital storage oscilloscope/digital signal analyzer) instruments continue to push the envelope, making the most accurate, repeatable, and precise high-speed digital and RF electronic measurements. Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, Calif., for example, recently announced that its Infiniium 90000A Series of oscilloscopes broke the one-billion acquisition samples (1 Gpt) barrier for the first time in a high-performance oscilloscope.

The new Agilent Infiniium 90000A Series oscilloscopes provide superior signal integrity, deep application analysis, and better insight.

The Infiniium 90000A offers not only the world’s deepest acquisition memory depth, but it also offers the world’s first hardware/software integrated triggering system—InfiniScan Plus, which enables 150 psec hardware-event identification and 785 psec software-event identification.

The 90000A is able to capture 25 msec of time at 40 GS/sec (giga-samples/sec) on all four of its channels simultaneously—a six times improvement over competing instruments. Both the DSO and DSA models of the 90000A are capable of more than 150,000 measurements/sec with modes supporting more than 300,000 triggers/sec. The 90000A series oscilloscope features:

  • Industry-leading noise floor on all models: 147 µm-V rms noise floor at 5 mV/division setting for 2.5 GHz model
  • Deep application analysis—the new three-level hardware/software-based trigger system provides virtually infinite trigger combinations for any debug situation
  • Robust applications—with more than 29 applications, the 90000A offers the perfect amount of memory to verify application compliance and debug the most difficult electronic designs.Agilent engineers simultaneously announced the introduction of a precision waveform analyzer designed for engineers involved in the verification and validation of high-speed communication systems.

The Agilent 86108A precision waveform analyzer features:

  • Lowest intrinsic jitter for accurate measurement waveforms
  • Internal high-gain clock recover for easy measurement setups and accurate signal analyses with spread-spectrum clocking
  • New triggering architecture allowing simple connection schemes, eliminating sampling delays
  • An internal phase detector enabling accurate measurements of PLL bandwidth, jitter transfer, and jitter/phase noise spectrum.

Enhanced signal fidelity

The 86108A allows precision analysis of high-speed single-ended or differential waveforms with a ‘one connection’ configuration that does not require a separate trigger for synchronization. Images: Agilent Technologies

Last fall, Tektronix, Beaverton, Ore., also announced several new features and enhancements for its DPO7000 series and the DPO/DSA70000 series high-performance oscilloscopes. The instruments provide as standard a series of user-selectable bandwidth limit filters that preserve the basic roll-off characteristics, flatness, and phase linearity of the instruments.

DSP filtering has also been added to these instruments and complements the acquisition engine providing reliable timing and amplitude resolution and accuracy down to the probe tip. This feature is available at sample rates above the maximum real-time sample rate and is selectable independently on all four channels.

An added phase-lock feature of these instruments adds a new dimension to pattern triggering at data rates up to 6.25 Gb/sec NRZ or 8b/10b with internal clock recovery by enabling the oscilloscope to take samples at specific locations in the data pattern with outstanding time base accuracy.

An added event search and mark capability enables the design engineer to search through a long acquisition and automatically mark all occurrences of a specific event. A basic event search and mark is provided standard with nine more advanced event types supported through an advanced event and search and mark (ASM) option.

Rounding out the major oscilloscope manufacturers, LeCroy, Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., last summer introduced the first sampling oscilloscope to virtually probe second generation PCI Express, Serial ATA, XAUI and 10 Gb Ethernet. The WaveExpert 100H has a modular architecture that supports up to four optical or electrical channels with bandwidths up to 100 GHz as well as clock recovery and serial pattern generation up to 13.5 Gb/sec. It also comes standard with TDR analysis software including reference plane calibration and full differential 2-ports-parameter measurements.

Resources

Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, Calif., 970-679-5397,
www.agilent.com

LeCroy, Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., 800-553-2769,
www.lecroy.com

Tektronix, Beaverton, Ore., 800-833-9200,
www.tek.com
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