Test & measurement (T&M) instruments allow engineers to see and understand what is happening in different electronic and mechanical processes or systems. These devices obtain, analyze, and display data, thus allowing engineers to monitor and control machinery and make any necessary corrections.
The current difficult situation due to Covid-19 has disrupted/destroyed the market, and many companies, such as Tektronix, are now offering different types of remote support.
“During this Covid-19 period, Tektronix supported their customers with webinars, online demo facilities and tutorials to provide help 24/7, trying to leave nothing behind, in addition to offering 0% financial and rental solution packages,” said Andrea Vinci, technical marketing manager EMEA at Tektronix.
Testing teams need to continue to test the capabilities of the products so as to ensure the quality, reliability, and security of new features. The test must respond to different types of requirements due to the need for increasingly complex systems capable of handling different types of measurement and, at the same time, the exponential growth of the data that is collected.
The oscilloscope is the instrument that has probably evolved to its greatest extent in recent years, thus becoming the most used and appreciated instrument. Considerable progress has also been made in the user interface, where keys and functions have been grouped more rationally and intuitively on the display and the microelectronic technology.
A challenge for modern instrumentation is to acquire a large number of signals by efficiently and quickly extracting the information encoded in these signals, avoiding losses. Higher measurement speeds require sufficient memory space to accumulate the data collected. One of the essential specifications is the sample rate related to the speed at which ADCs (Analog Digital Converters) capture signal samples from a sensor with environmental measurement capabilities such as temperature, humidity, and pressure.
One of the emerging trends in the instruments market is the miniaturization of devices. More and more capabilities are featured in new-generation devices with reduced dimensions that, at the same time, can maintain equivalent performance in terms of measurement accuracy.
Power supply is a problem for IoT developers, and communication links are among the most “energy-demanding” elements. While sensors and other peripherals can be turned off for long periods, communications, particularly in receivers, often have to be kept in listening mode for transmissions.
Operational requirements need instruments that are able to work in environments with possible noise, vibration, and physical trauma. Such challenges are trivial for designers. System reliability is of particular importance, as is the cost of downtime due to equipment failure, which can have a strong impact — higher resolution and adequate bandwidth complete the features. Accuracy is defined as the ability of an instrument to accurately indicate the value of a measured signal. Bandwidth describes the frequency range in which the input signal can pass through the front of the analog signal with minimal amplitude loss.
Embedded design has reached very high levels of complexity, also due to the adoption of ultra-sophisticated sensors, which are able to produce and manage a huge amount of data.
Tektronix’s new 6 Series B mixed signal oscilloscope (MSO) is claimed to extend the instrumentation performance up to 10 GHz bandwidth and up to 50 GS/sec sampling, thanks to a very low noise front end based on a sophisticated ASIC embedding a 12-bit ADC. The instrument consists of 8 simultaneous channels in FlexChannel technology with an intuitive interface that greatly facilitates its use.
Tektronix’s 6 Series B Mixed Signal Oscilloscope
“The quality of the components in the front-end chain is crucial to define the quality of a product. Every small piece of the chain leading to the oscilloscope input is important. You don’t just need a good amplifier, you also need a good ADC to get good noise response and maintain resolution at different scales,” said Andrea Vinci.
The Series 6 Version B MSOs are also aimed at the semiconductor market, power integrity applications, and in general high-speed applications in the automotive, aerospace and defense, advanced research fields and much more.
The instrument offers a noise level of 51.1 μV at 1 mV/div and 1 GHz band, which remains below 1.39mV even at 50 mV/div and 10 GHz. The Series 6 Version B oscilloscopes provide numerous protocol decoding options for high speed serial buses as well as solutions for testing their compliance to each standard, jitter analysis, and analysis of typical power electronics measurements.
In addition, DDCs (digital down converters) integrated in each channel enable multi-channel spectral analysis functions, so that measurements on the frequency spectrum are temporally synchronized to the time domain display. This also allows the correlation of events between time domain and RF domain to be verified.
In addition to the capability of high-speed converters, multicore processors, GPUs, FPGAs, distributed locally or in the cloud, support the development of T&M technology.
>> This article was originally published on our sister site, EE Times Europe.