Test & Measurement

Active differential 'scope probes provide 13 and 16 GHz Bandwidth

5th February 2007
ES Admin
Tektronix has announced what it says are the the world’s fastest active differential probes to complement its new four-channel real-time oscilloscopes featured elsewhere in electronicspecifier. The new P7500 probing family sets industry benchmarks for bandwidth, provides superior signal fidelity with fast risetime and low circuit loading, introduces unique patent-pending TriMode measurement switching, and a new “needle nose” form factor. The new probes and oscilloscopes are part of a next generation serial data workbench (see separate release) that enables R&D engineers to debug and validate high-speed serial data circuits up to 10Gbit/s.
Customers in the consumer, communications, computer, and semiconductor areas are increasingly tasked with designing for rapidly evolving standards and having to use more exacting measurement techniques. Moving from a signal environment with moderate consideration for RF effects to one that is dominated by them, they now need to connect to and acquire multiple, fast, complex, signals simultaneously. To do this, they need fast, accurate, and easy-to-use test instruments, beginning with the probe that provides the connection to the device under test (DUT). To meet these needs, Tektronix is introducing two new probes: the 13 GHz P7513 and 16 GHz P7516. This speed allows customers to debug and validate the 3rd harmonic of 10 Gbit/s signals and do compliance testing to the 5th harmonic on signals up to 6.4 Gbit/s including PCI-Express 2, SATA III and HDMI 1.3. The new probes provide the fastest probing solution in the marketplace for solder and handheld probing.

“Engineers defining, developing and testing state of the art computing and communication equipment need high bandwidth test equipment to efficiently and accurately design, debug, and test their high-speed serial devices,” said Mike Fitzgerald, General Manager, Measurement Accessories Product Line, Tektronix. “With breakthrough capabilities, excellent signal fidelity, new connectivity features enabling easy access to test signals, and with the highest bandwidth in the market, the new P7513 and P7516 probes set the standard for performance, efficiency and ease-of-use. When used with Tektronix’ real-time oscilloscopes, customers will have the highest performing, most efficient measurement system enabling engineers to do more in less time.”

As much as the speed, engineers need instruments that work well together to form complete solutions. When used with Tektronix’ ultra high performance oscilloscopes such as the DSA70000 and DPO70000 Series, the Tektronix P7513 and P7516 probes provide the highest signal fidelity and acquisition performance in the industry. The result is a superior test bench to speed design and test of the most advanced products with the fastest and most complex signals.

Each new Tektronix P7500 series probe provides patent-pending TriMode measurements providing greater efficiency and ease-of-use. TriMode probing addresses an unmet need in the market by enabling engineers to switch between differential, single-ended, and common mode measurements without moving the probe connections. This allows the engineer to work more efficiently through an ability to probe three points simultaneously and make three different kinds of measurements with one probe and one setup rather than the multiple probes and multiple setups that are currently necessary.

With less chip real estate available for connecting probes, engineers often have difficulty attaching a probe to the DUT. The probe body of the P7513 and P7516 is streamlined so that several probes are able to fit into confined spaces.

Significant new additions improve upon the Z-Active™ probing architecture. Interchangeable probe tip modules provide miniature solder-in tips, interchangeable extension cables assist with reaching difficult to probe areas, and a new needle-nose handheld style probe module can be used for both fixtured and handheld applications. With the needle-nose module, the P7513 and P7516 are the only high impedance active probes that offer handheld or fixtured probing up to 16 GHz and also the only high bandwidth probes with easily adjustable spacing. For example, the new module enables engineers to simultaneously probe several adjacent ball grid array (BGA) points with multiple fixtured probes. The needle-nose module also provides a solder-in option that provides ground and signal connections with replaceable tips. The new form factor is long in reach and small enough to fit into the tight spaces that engineers increasingly need to probe, making it possible to probe difficult to reach locations.

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