Tek will use IBM 9HP SiGe technology to take scopes to 70GHz

June 26, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Tektronix has confirmed that its next generation of high performance real-time oscilloscopes will incorporate IBM's latest 9HP silicon-germanium (SiGe) chip-making process. This fifth generation of IBM's semiconductor technology along with other advances such as the Asynchronous Time Interleaving that Tek announced previously will result in oscilloscopes with bandwidth capability of 70 GHz and improvements in signal fidelity.

Operating at speeds up to 350 GHz, 9HP is the first SiGe technology in the industry featuring the density of 90nm BiCMOS and delivers higher performance, lower power and higher levels of integration than current 180nm or 130nm SiGe offerings.

Tek previously previewed its next series of high-performance oscilloscopes, promising a 2014 release for units with real-time bandwidth of 70 GHz, for applications such as 400 Gbps and 1 Tbps optical communications and fourth generation serial data communications.

"By extending our long-standing relationship with technology leader IBM, Tektronix is continuing to push the envelope on what can be achieved in high-fidelity, high-speed data acquisition systems. Early adoption of 9HP has allowed our engineers to explore innovative architectures and performance thresholds once thought unattainable," said Kevin Ilcisin, chief technology officer, Tektronix. "The advanced 9HP SiGe BiCMOS technology provides the faster switching speeds, high integration levels, and low noise our next generation of performance instrumentation requires to meet customer requirements."

In addition to exploiting the advances made possible by 9HP, Tektronix' forthcoming oscilloscopes will benefit from the use of Asynchronous Time Interleaving technology to improve signal-to-noise ratio beyond the frequency interleaving approach in use by some vendors today. In traditional frequency interleaving, each analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) in the signal acquisition system only sees part of the input spectrum. With Asynchronous Time Interleaving, all ADCs see the full spectrum with full signal path symmetry. This offers the performance gains available from interleaved architectures but without the same impact to signal fidelity. There's more in a paper for download, "Techniques for Extending Real-Time Oscilloscope Bandwidth."

Test for USB 3.0

Tek has also announced a test solution for 10 Gbps SuperSpeed USB. A series of enhancements to its USB 3.0 test solutions includes an industry first transmitter test solution for the SuperSpeedPlus 10 Gbit/sec specification. Other enhancements include a new USB 3.0 oscilloscope-based layered decode capability and an enhanced automated solution for SuperSpeed USB transmitter