USB 'scope range grows with 20-GHz electrical, 9.5 GHz optical sampling units

October 07, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Pico Technology, designers of USB modular scopes that use PCs or laptops for display and control functions, has expanded its range with the PicoScope 9300 Series TDR/TDT sampling oscilloscopes, for use with repetitive signals.

The 9300s can perform time-domain reflectometry and transmission mismatch and network analysis on high-frequency cables, PCBs, backplanes and interconnections. Their built-in differential fast edge generators have a rise time of 65 psec at up to 6V (PicoScope 9311) or 40 psec at over 250 mV (PicoScope 9312, via plug-in pulse heads), providing a typical distance-to-fault resolution down to 10 mm.


“The PicoScope 9300 Series are the only compact, full-featured PC-based sampling oscilloscopes on the market,” claims Alan Tong, Managing Director, Pico Technology. “Their specifications and features are a match for traditional full-sized bench top instruments but at a fraction of the cost.” The TDR/TDT models are full-featured sampling oscilloscopes, so can be used for pre-compliance tests, fault-finding and margin testing on serial data signals such as 10 Gb Ethernet, SONET/SDH STM64 and FEC1071, 10x Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and PCI Express. The scopes also have LAN and USB interfaces, and advanced large-screen display features such as colour and density profiling, multiple trace windows, histograms, multiple measurements and statistics. With a sampling rate of 1 Msample/sec, they can build waveforms and persistence displays faster than other sampling oscilloscopes.

The small footprint of the PicoScope 9300 scopes allows them to be positioned close to the device or port under test, on the bench or in the field, without pull-out sampling modules or lossy extension cables. Specification highlights include: 17.5 psec input rise time, dual 16-bit, 60 dB dynamic range ADCs, 5 psec/div dual timebase, 14 GHz trigger bandwidth, built-in clock recovery up to 11.3 Gb/sec, and time interval resolution of 64 fsec. Typical input noise is 1.5 mV RMS at full bandwidth, with trigger jitter of 1.8 psec RMS and recovered clock jitter of 1 psec RMS.

The company's PicoSample software has been updated for the new oscilloscopes, extending the range of controls with intuitive graphics, click-and-drag operations and measurement labels to simplify and speed up operation. The flexible layout displays only