Beaverton, Oregon: Tektronix has unveiled the world’s first mixed-domain oscilloscope (MDO), the MDO4000. Based on the company’s popular MSO4000 oscilloscope series, the MDO4000 combines an oscilloscope and a spectrum analyser in one tool (Fig. 1).
The MDO allows the capture of time-correlated analogue, digital, and RF signals across four analogue channels, 16 digital channels, and one RF channel. The data is displayed on the same screen, with the upper half of the screen dedicated to the time-domain display, and the lower half showing the frequency domain.
“Thirty-eight percent of embedded designs are also wireless. Embedded engineers have to include wireless as an expectation rather than a nice-to-have. Their number one challenge is RF,” explained Roy Siegel, general manager of oscilloscopes at Tektronix.
“They use oscilloscopes and spectrum analysers but they are not correlated, and often they spend more time setting it up than they do solving the problem, and even then it doesn’t work as well as it should,” Siegel said.
The MDO4000’s RF input frequency range extends up to 6 GHz and provides a capture bandwidth of ≥1 GHz at all centre frequencies, which is 100 times wider than typical spectrum analysers. Users can see up to four decoded serial and/or parallel buses at one time on the same display (Fig. 2).
Due to this time correlation between domains, engineers can make accurate timing measurements to understand delays and latencies between command/control events in their design and changes in the RF spectrum.
For example, viewing the spectrum as a voltage-controlled oscillator/phase-locked loop (VCO/PLL) turns on or measuring the transition characteristics of a frequency-hopping RF signal are now simple tasks. The MDO4000’s ability to provide a complete time-correlated system view across both domains makes finding the source of intermittent, device-state dependent electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise easy.