With prices from under $17,000, these scopes can perform analysis and signal integrity validation of high-performance RF components and high-speed serial designs at a fraction of the cost of conventional real-time or sampling oscilloscopes.
Growing demand for high-performance RF, microwave and serial communication devices (SERDES) has highlighted the need for improved signal integrity (SI) in modern designs. Engineers need to accurately characterise timing, jitter and noise performance to determine the operating envelope of their designs and guarantee reliable operation.
PicoScope 9300 Series oscilloscopes use sequential sampling technology to measure fast repetitive signals without the need for expensive real-time sampling hardware. With 20 GHz bandwidth they can acquire signals with rise times down to 17.5 ps. Precise time-base stability and accuracy combined with timing resolution as low as 64 fs allows these instruments to characterise clock timing and jitter in demanding applications. The 16-bit ADC provides resolution down to 40 µV, giving insight into the effects of noise and crosstalk on the device under test.
The scopes come with PicoSample 3 software for Windows, which provides over 100 predefined waveform measurements with statistics, and can quickly measure more than 30 fundamental parameters to characterise non-return-to zero (NRZ) and return-to-zero (RZ) signals. Eye diagram analysis can be made even more powerful with the addition of mask testing.
Vertical and horizontal histograms can be used to "slice" a waveform to look beyond peak-to-peak or RMS values of noise and jitter. Histograms help to separate the individual components of noise or jitter, which give important clues to help find the source.
In an industry first, all PicoScope 9300 Series models include a versatile signal generator that can be programmed to output a fixed clock, pulse, or NRZ / RZ PRBS patterns with up to 32k pattern length, enabling in-line testing of components, cables and connectors right out of the box.
The PicoScope 9302 model includes Clock Data Recovery (CDR) to 11.3 Gb/s, plus pattern sync triggering derived from bit rate, pattern length, and trigger divide ratio, that can build an eye pattern from any specified group of bits in a sequence. The innovative "Eye Line mode" uses the pattern sync trigger to isolate one of the eight possible paths, called eye lines, which the signal can take through the eye diagram, revealing specific data sequences that are stressing the design or causing problems.
Price of the PicoScope 9301 is under $17,000 including PicoSample 3 software and accessories. Price of the PicoScope 9302, which adds Clock Data Recovery and Pattern Sync Trigger, is under $20,000. The functionality of the PicoScope 9300 sampling scopes, combined with the measurement analysis and visualisation tools in the PicoSample 3 software, make them ideal for device characterisation and signal integrity investigations. Their value for money appeals to small and medium enterprises who wouldn't have previously been able to afford the tools needed to efficiently validate designs.