The oscilloscope market, already a competitive field with Agilent Technologies, LeCroy, and Tektronix, just got a little more crowded with the entrance of Rohde & Schwarz. Long known for its focus on the wireless and aerospace/defense arenas, the company has launched two oscilloscope families that span bandwidths from 500 MHz to 2 GHz.
At the lower end is the RTM family (Fig. 1) of universal oscilloscopes intended for everyday measurement task. These instruments offer a 500-MHz bandwidth, a sampling rate of 5 Gsamples/s, and a memory depth of up to 8 Msamples.
Available in two-channel and four-channel models, the RTM scopes provide accurate signal display, excellent time resolution even for long sequences, and tools for fast signal analysis. Maximum input sensitivity is 1 mV/div with no bandwidth limitation or software-based zooming, which translates to excellent vertical resolution.
As the RTM scopes are meant for quick benchtop measurements, ease of use was a prime goal for their design. To this end, they offer color-coded control elements, flat menu structures, and keys dedicated to frequently used functions, making them quick and easy to operate. A sharp, high-resolution 8.4-in. display makes even miniscule signal details visible.
Further, analysis tools are available at the push of a button. For example, the QuickMeas function displays the key measurement values for a currently active signal on the waveform, including positive and negative peak voltages, rise and fall times, and mean voltage.
At the higher end of Rohde & Schwarz’s oscilloscope range, the RTO digital family includes two-channel and four-channel models with bandwidths of 1 GHz and 2 GHz and a maximum sampling rate of 10 Gsamples/s. The RTO scopes can continuously capture and analyze 1 million waveforms/s, which makes even rare glitches readily viewable. Moreover, this acquisition rate is accessible without having to place the scope into a special fast-acquisition mode.
Perhaps most important in the RTO family’s battery of features is a digital trigger system, which the company claims as the first of its kind in a digital scope. “We digitize first and then triggering is done on the same data that’s part of the acquisition,” says Chris Eriksen, marketing manager for the oscilloscopes.
With a purely digital triggering architecture, the trigger and captured data share a common signal path and common time base. This results in exceptionally low triggering jitter and exact assignment of the trigger to the signal. Additionally, the digital trigger rearms immediately after a trigger event. Thus, the trigger-rearming delay typical of analog trigger is eliminated, which means that subsequent signal faults won’t be missed.
To ensure high accuracy, the RTO scopes are built around a single-core analog-to-digital converter (ADC) sitting behind each channel. In achieving operation at 10 Gsamples/s, the converters perform no interleaving, so there’s no interleaving byproducts or noise associated with the interleaving process.
Finally, the scopes’ user interface has been built from the ground up. Features such as semitransparent dialog boxes, movable measurement windows, configurable toolbars, and preview icons with live waveforms make the scopes easy to use and well balanced between usability and portability (Fig. 2).
Pricing for the RTM family of 500-MHz scopes starts at $10,220 for a four-channel model. The RTO family 1-GHz instruments start at $20,550, also for four channels.