2021-06-24

UK made: two-channel PC scopes at 5GHz and 12GHz


UK made: two-channel PC scopes at 5GHz and 12GHz

Pico Technology has introduced two-channel versions of its 5GHz and 16GHz ‘sampling-extended real-time oscilloscopes’, branded SXRTOs.

UK made: two-channel PC scopes at 5GHz and 12GHz

Called PicoScope 9402-05 and 9402-16, they are suited to repetitive or clock-derived signals.

All models have 12bit channels, each supported by real-time sampling to 500Msample/s/channel and up to 2.5Tsample/s (0.4ps) random equivalent-time sampling. “These are voltage and timing resolutions that match or more typically exceed the best available amongst broadband real-time oscilloscopes today,” according to the company. They “Display and measure transitions as fast as 22ps and pulses and impulses down to 45ps wide, and allow clock performance and eye diagram analysis of up to 10Gbit/s signals – to third harmonic”.

Less than 2ps RMS trigger jitter and 5GHz trigger bandwidth are claimed, supporting margin analysis and characterisation of high-speed serial data systems. Optional integrated clock and data recovery go to 8Gbit/s, and an external pre-scaled trigger input operates to full bandwidth in 16GHz models.


“Real-time broadband sampling modes can support, for example, capture of carrier envelope, baseband modulation and other envelope tracking signals across major wireless communication frequency bands such as 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.5GHz,” said the company.

UK made: two-channel PC scopes at 5GHz and 12GHzPico Technology has introduced two-channel versions of its four channel 5GHz and 16GHz sampling-extended real-time oscilloscopes

Its SXRTO architecture, claims Pico, reduces the cost of broadband time-domain sampling for repetitive signal or clock-related applications.

According to its business development manager Mark Ashcroft, the principal cost drivers within traditional real-time oscilloscopes are high data and memory bandwidths – high-speed real-time sampling requires data bandwidth in excess of the analogue system bandwidth, increasing cost.  He said cost constraints mean that existing real-time oscilloscopes use random ‘equivalent time sampling’ to extend sampling density when repetitive signals are available. Pico’s SXRTO architecture samples at lower (less costly) rate of 500Msample/s, and instead develops equivalent time sampling to achieve sample rate multiplication of 5,000x to its 2.5Tsample/s.

He also compares SXRTO with sequential sampling oscilloscopes, claiming that the SXRTO’s randomised equivalent time sampling supports trigger and pre-trigger capture and has the familiarity of real-time oscilloscope operation. It transitions to single-event waveform capture at sampling rates at and below 500Msampe/s, and both sampling modes can capture 250,000 samples (single channel).

Pico Tech’s architecture comparison table from its own range:

Real-time scope SXRTO (4 channel) Sampling scope
Model PicoScope 6407 9404-05 9404-16 PicoScope 9341-25
Analogue bandwidth 1GHz* 5GHz 16GHz 25GHz
Real-time sampling? 5Gsam/s 500Msam/s 1Msam/s
Sequential equivalent-time sampling? No No 15Tsam/s
Random equivalent-time sampling? 200Gsam/s 1Tsam/s 2.5Tsam/s 250Msam/s
Trigger on input channel? Yes Yes Yes
Only to 100MHz bandwidth
Requires external trigger or
internal clock recovery option
Pre-trigger capture? Yes Yes No
Vertical resolution 8bit 12bit 16bit
Cost (2021 prices) $10k $15k $19.5k $26.5k

*Higher-bandwidth real-time oscilloscopes are available from other manufacturers. Example according to Pico Tech: 16GHz analogue bandwidth, 80Gsample/s, 8bit sampling starting as $119,500.

The new instruments work over USB with the company’s PicoSample 4 software, which has touch-compatible controls for the instrument and presents waveforms, measurements and statistics on multiple display sizes and formats – Microsoft Windows display resolutions are supported on HD to UHD monitors and projectors, are are multiple monitors. Up to four independent zoomed trace views can be used to examine 12bit, 250ksample waveform detail.

Automated and user-configurable signal integrity measurements, mathematics, statistical views and limits test facilities are included for validation and trending of pulse timing, jitter, RZ and NRZ eye diagrams. Industry-standard communications mask tests include PCIe, Gbit Ethernet and Serial ATA.

For OEM and custom applications, PicoScope 9400 instruments can operate under ActiveX remote control. Programming examples are provided in Visual Basic (VB.NET), MATLAB and LabVIEW, “but any programming language or standard that supports the Windows COM interface standard, including JavaScript and C, can be used”, said Pico.

PicoConnect 900 Series Gigabit and microwave passive test probes are recommended for use with the scopes. “With typical residual tip capacitance of only 0.25pF, these come with a range of bandwidths, division ratios and coupling types – ac and dc – out to 9GHz.

The 9402-05 and 9402-16 product page is here

US distributor Saelig is stocking 9402-05 and 9402-16 scopes