16-bit, high-resolution oscilloscopes from Rohde & Schwarz

November 07, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
A 16-bit, high definition (HD) mode increases the vertical resolution of the R&S RTO and R&S RTE oscilloscopes to up to 16 bits, for waveforms are sharper and show signal details that would otherwise be masked by noise. Users benefit from even more precise analysis results.

To be able to analyse waveforms in detail, the input sensitivity of the oscilloscopes has been increased to 500 µV/div. Thanks to the low-noise frontend and the highly accurate single-core A/D converter, the R&S RTO and R&S RTE oscilloscopes have an excellent dynamic range and measurement accuracy. Switching on high definition mode allows users to benefit from even more precise measurement results. To achieve this higher resolution, the signal is low-pass filtered directly after the A/D converter. The filter reduces the noise, thereby increasing the signal-to-noise ratio. Users can adjust the bandwidth of the lowpass filter from 10 kHz to 500 MHz as needed to match the characteristics of the applied signal.

Typical applications include examining in detail low-voltage components on a signal that also exhibits high-voltage components; one example is the characterisation of switch mode power supplies. The voltages across the switching device must be determined during the off and on times within the same acquisition. Because the voltage variations during these switching cycles can be several hundred volts, a high resolution is essential for the precise measurement of small voltage components.

The instruments' digital trigger system is sensitive enough to trigger on the highest-resolution signal. Each of the up to 16-bit samples is checked against the trigger conditions and can initiate a trigger. This means that Rohde & Schwarz oscilloscopes are capable of isolating even the smallest signal events for detailed analysis.

Switching on the high definition mode does not compromise measurement speed or functions. Since the digital filtering, which improves resolution and noise suppression, is implemented in realtime in the oscilloscope’s ASIC, the acquisition and processing rates remain high. The oscilloscope enables smooth operation and measurement results are available quickly. Furthermore all analysis tools, such as automatic measurements, FFT and the history mode, can also be used in high definition mode.

The R&S RTO-K17 and R&S RTE-K17 high definition software options are now available.

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