Oscilloscope News

Pico SXRTO28 February 2019 - Pico Technology introduced the PicoScope 9404 SXRTO (Sampler eXtended Real Time Oscilloscope). The 9404 features four 5 GHz 12-bit channels, each supported by real-time sampling to 500 MS/s per channel and up to 1 TS/s (1 ps) equivalent-time sampling. Both the voltage and timing resolution specifications are characteristics of the highest performance broadband oscilloscopes.

The wide-band inputs, and fine timing and voltage resolutions, display and accurately measure transitions as fast as 70 ps, clock performance and eye diagram analysis of gigabit signals. Less than 2 ps RMS trigger jitter and 5-GHz internal trigger supports margin analysis and characterization of today’s high-speed serial data systems. Whilst real time broadband sampling can support simultaneous display of baseband modulation, carrier envelope and envelope track control signals around amplify, route and transmit paths; including major wireless communication frequency bands such as 900MHz and 2.4GHz.

Pico’s SXRTO instrument architecture vastly reduces the cost of broadband time domain sampling for repetitive signal or clock related applications. Mark Ashcroft, RF Business Development Manager at Pico, observes that the principal cost driver within the traditional real-time oscilloscope (RTO) is that of data and memory bandwidth. High speed real-time sampling requires data bandwidth far in excess of the analogue system bandwidth, which drives up the cost of those instruments. Nearly all RTO’s use ETS (random Equivalent Time Sampling) to extend sampling density when repetitive signals are available. Pico’s SXRTO architecture samples at a more cost-effective lower rate of 500 MS/s and instead develops the ETS technique to achieve market leading sample rate multiplication of x 2000 to 1 TS/s. Many high bandwidth signals are repetitive so the expensive high sampling rate is not needed.

In contrast to “Sampling Oscilloscopes” the ETS technique supports trigger and pre-trigger capture and the familiarity, convenience and ease of real-time oscilloscope operation. Pico’s SXRTO technology seamlessly transitions to single event waveform capture at sampling rates at and below 500 MS/s into capture memory of 250,000 samples (single channel); particularly valuable for the capture of slower system signals and modulation envelopes for example.

This USB controlled instrument is supplied with PicoSample 4 software. The touch compatible GUI supports set up of the instrument and presents waveforms, measurements and statistics on the user preferred size and format of display. This includes full support for Hi Resolution monitors and projection, for example 4k. Up to four independent zoomed trace views can be used to examine the waveform details.

A wide range of automated and user-configurable signal integrity measurements, mathematics, statistical views and limits test facilities are included for validation and trending of pulse and timing performance, jitter, RZ & NRZ eye diagrams. Industry-standard communications mask tests such as PCIe, GB Ethernet and Serial ATA are included as standard.

While most users will use the PicoSample 4 software in their workplace, for OEM and custom applications the PicoScope 9404 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.

PicoConnect 900 Series gigabit and microwave passive test probes are recommended for use with the 9404, offering a range of bandwidths, coupling types and division ratios for diverse applications. The PicoScope 9404 has an active SMA interface to support future configurations and accessories on this new product architecture.


The 9404 is priced at $14,995 / €11,995 / £10,995 and comes with a comprehensive five-year warranty.


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