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HD oscilloscopes analyse with 16bit vertical resolution

10 Nov 2014

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Rohde & Schwarz has unveiled the R&S RTO and R&S RTE oscilloscopes aimed at applications that necessitate a high vertical resolution. The devices feature a high definition mode that increases the vertical resolution of Rohde & Schwarz oscilloscopes to up to 16bits, a 256-fold improvement from an 8bit resolution, stated the company.

The oscilloscopes show their prowess especially in cases when low-voltage components on a signal that also exhibits high-voltage components need to be analysed in detail. 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.

To achieve higher resolution, the signal is low-pass filtered directly after the ADC. The filter reduces the noise, thereby increasing the signal-to-noise ratio. Users can adjust the bandwidth of the low-pass filter from 10kHz to 500MHz as needed to match the characteristics of the applied signal. The lower the filter bandwidth, the higher the resolution.

The higher resolution leads to a sharper waveform display, showing signal details that would otherwise be masked by noise. To be able to analyse these waveforms in detail, the input sensitivity of the oscilloscopes has been increased to 500uV/div. Thanks to the low-noise frontend and the highly accurate single-core ADC, the R&S RTO and R&S RTE oscilloscopes have an excellent dynamic range and measurement accuracy, noted the company. Switching on high definition mode allows users to benefit from even more precise measurement results.

The unique digital trigger system from Rohde & Schwarz is sensitive enough to trigger on the highest-resolution signal. Each of the up to 16bit 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 real-time in the oscilloscopes' 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 available.

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