Test & Measurement

Ultra-Fast Real-time Oscilloscope

5th May 2006
ES Admin
LeCroy has introduced the SDA 18000 which the company claims to deliver the industry’s highest bandwidth – 18 GHz – as well as the highest sampling rate (60 GS/s) and longest memory (up to 150 million points) combination available in a high-bandwidth real-time test instrument
The SDA 18000 has sufficient bandwidth to allow real-time measurements of the fastest serial data standards entering active development today, including 10 Gb/s Ethernet, and FibreChannel 8.5. Previously, serial data measurements and jitter analysis of these signals could only be made with a sampling oscilloscope, a technique with has several limitations. Capturing the data stream in real time with multiple points per transition edge allows the SDA 18000 to recover the embedded clock and phase lock to it, for precise jitter measurements. Complete breakdown of jitter composition is possible, even with non-repeating or “live” data. Sampling at 60 GS/s assures excellent waveform capture fidelity and the 150 million point memory allows the capture of long serial data patterns, which is necessary to locate the sources of low frequency jitter modulation or spread spectrum clocked data.

LeCroy has also developed another new feature in the SDA 18000 – the Q-Scale analysis and plot view, an innovation that provides much more insight into jitter than any other method. First, Q-Scale analysis uses an alternative method of breaking down jitter components that identifies components accurately instead of as random jitter, which is how it is shown using traditional methods. It also incorporates improvements in the method used in extrapolating the jitter histogram tails, improving the accuracy, stability, and convergence time. The Q-Scale plot provides a visual representation of jitter breakdown, which is a much more intuitive presentation of the nature of the jitter components than a traditional bathtub curve. Q-scale allows engineers to locate the source of jitter in their circuit faster than the tools that have been used in the past. Q-Scale will be added to all of LeCroy’s serial data analyzers.
In addition to Q-Scale, the SDA 18000 contains all of measurement and analysis capability found in all of LeCroy’s award-winning SDA family of analyzers. The SDA 18000 contains the extra capability provided in the Advanced Serial Data Analysis and Jitter software package. This package adds power features such as the Jitter Wizard for set up, ISI plots of data dependent jitter measurement without repeating patterns, and multiple methods for determining total jitter. The latter feature is particularly useful when it is necessary to correlate with jitter measurements made with other types of instruments.

The SDA 18000 waveform acquisition, measurement and analysis all run in LeCroy’s proprietary X-Stream software architecture. This system dissects large waveform data records into smaller pieces that can be completely processed within the processor’s cache memory without constant memory fetches, and streamlines processing and analysis. Another benefit is that it allows users to insert custom waveform processing within the live data stream. For example, engineers working with serial data systems which use pre-emphasis and de-emphasis can write a filter script in MatLab to emulate the receiver de-emphasis. They can then view eye patterns to represent equalized data in real time. The entire suite of the SDA 18000’s jitter measurements can also used with the equalized data – something users can not do when performing this processing offline with captured waveform data.

All of the SDA 18000’s set up, acquisition processing, measurements and analysis execute within X-Stream – which enables a single application running on the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. In some other instruments, the oscilloscope acquisition, serial data eye pattern generation, and jitter measurement routines each run as a separate Windows application, which is less efficient than the streamlined method used in X-Stream.

LeCroy has also introduced the DA18000AC, an 18 GHz differential amplifier, with the SDA 18000. The DA18000AC provides high quality processing of differential signals, and eliminates the need to use long length cables in two inputs of the oscilloscope. As a result, there is no need to deskew the differences in the electrical length of cables and precisely adjust the gain balance of two channels to acquire differential signals.

LeCroy has also announced the introduction of the SDA 9000, which offers many of the same performance benefits of the SDA 18000 for applications requiring only 9 GHz bandwidth.

Also introduced in conjunction with the SDA 18000 is a new comprehensive bandwidth trade in program. A major user concern with serial data analyzers is product obsolesces. The constant push to increase the data rates in serial data systems requires upgrading test instrumentation used for product development. This often happens at a pace which reduces the useful life of the capital assets. LeCroy is addressing this with a new BW trade-in program that encompasses the entire SDA product line and offers generous trade-in value to be applied to the purchase of a higher bandwidth serial data analyzer.

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