High-performance scope boasts ultra-fast acquisition rate

Posted By : Mick Elliott
High-performance scope boasts ultra-fast acquisition rate

Taking its first step into high-performance oscilloscopes Rohde & Schwarz announced today (June 12) the first instrument in its RTP range which covers bandwidths of 4GH, 6GHz and 8GHz. Citing the need to test products for what he described as “a data hungry generation”, Jithu Abraham, UK Product Manager, Oscilloscopes for Rohde & Schwarz listed some of the challenges.

 

“There are more and more serial standards on motherboards and they are getting faster with each data hungry generation,” he explained. That data has to be stored so we also have faster and faster memory devices where power consumption is important.”

“We all want smaller devices, thinner devices so the complexity of debugging them gets really complicated when there are more layers on the printed circuit board,” he added.

Abraham indicates RF applications are another driver. “Aerospace and defence radars are getting higher in bandwidth, where 10MHz used to be the norm now 2GHz is normal for radar applications.”

He also mentions drones where encrypted data needs to be exchanged at high speed, autonomous cars and the coming closer launch of 5G where high performance oscilloscopes will be required.

Enter the RTP, a product “packed with innovation,” proclaims Abraham.

With all this data flying around the RTP offers a deep memory of 50 MSa/channel as standard with an option of 2GSa/s, and Abraham indicates, “it has the fastest upgrade rates of any scope in this class at one million waveforms a second.

He picks three key features of the instrument – real-time signal integrity, multiple instruments in one box and compactness and configurability

“The front end is where the oscilloscope gets its data,” Abraham explains. “And we have worked hard to build that front end in-house.”

The company has developed a front end ASIC (application specific IC) on a high performance, low temperature ceramic. This brings the benefits of low noise, high measurement dynamic range and extremely temperature-stable results.

In addition single core analogue to digital converters were developed in-house.

“Other scopes use multi-core components which clock at lower speeds,” says Abraham. “Our single core devices can deliver 10GSa/s and the user does not see any harmonics or artefacts.”

Rohde & Schwarz also claims a unique approach to problems that can arise in the connection between the oscilloscope and a probe or cable.

It can compensate transmission losses from the signal source to the oscilloscope (deembedding) in real-time using the in-house designed ASIC. The advantage is that the oscilloscope is still extremely fast even with signal correction activated, eliminating lengthy delays and accelerating time to market. And the digital trigger architecture means it can precisely trigger on compensated signals.

A further feature of the R&S RTP oscilloscope that saves developers a lot of time is hardware acceleration for a range of analysis functions. Mask tests, histograms and frequency domain analyses can be performed at high speed for fast results with high statistical reliability.

Multiple instruments have been designed into the RTP oscilloscope. 16 logic channels, four voltage channels and four current measurement channels are available in addition to the analog oscilloscope channels. The oscilloscope supports protocol analysis of serial bus interfaces and offers powerful spectrum and signal analysis functions. Thanks to its wide range of tools, users can test many different types of signals from complex circuits time-correlated with each other with just one T&M instrument, and find related errors faster.

The footprint of the instrument is claimed to be 40% less than that of the competition.

Enhancements to the RTP range are already in train. More hardware options including a generator module with two analogue and eight digital channels and a 16GHz differential pulse source, are planned for 2018.

Further R&S RTP models with a higher bandwidth will follow in 2019. Current models will be upgradeable.

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