Tek’s IsoVu 1-GHz b/w, optically isolated probing system now shipping

August 17, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Tektronix’ IsoVu optically isolated measurement system has been “soft launched” with demonstrations at various trade shows in 2016; now, Tek has announced it is delivering the systems which provides 1 GHz bandwidth, wide common mode range, and very high common mode rejection to make previously hidden signals visible.

We first covered the IsoVu system in March 2016 and reported its appearance at the PCIM show, 2016 . Tek is now shipping the system, with pricing that starts at $12,000. [article edited to include;] EDN Europe asked Tek for some more insight into pricing; the base cost gets you a 200 MHz bandwidth TIVMO2 probe with CMRR of over 120 dB at DC, 120 dB at 100 MHz and 110 dB at 200MHz. A complete "typical setup" might comprise a single probe to look at a half-bridge circuit, or two for a full-bridge; plus, you'll need a Tektronix scope with a VPI (probe) interface, if you don't already own one; say €30-40k for the assembly. This, Tek re-afirms, gets you a measurement CMRR some 100,000-times better than any other alternative. Pricing scales towards the headline performance point of GHz signal capture.


The IsoVu platform uses an electro-optic sensor to convert input signals to optical modulation, electrically isolating the device-under-test from a Tektronix oscilloscope. The system incorporates four separate lasers, an optical sensor, five optical fibres, and sophisticated feedback and control techniques. The sensor head, which connects to the test point, has complete electrical isolation and is powered over one of the optical fibres. Tek has filed ten patent applications for the technology embedded in IsoVu.



A critical advantage this technology offers for designers, such as those working on power devices involving GaN and SiC technologies, is superior common mode rejection that makes signals previously buried in common mode noise visible for the first time. IsoVu offers 1 million:1 (120 dB) common mode rejection (CMRR) up to 100 MHz and 10,000:1 (80 dB) CMRR at 1 GHz. By comparison, competitive solutions at 100 MHz offer approximately 20 dB CMRR at 100 MHz, making IsoVu 100,000 times better.


"The feedback we received from designers at [the US trade show] APEC was overwhelmingly positive, with many of them