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Electronic Design

Scope Sports 60-GHz Real-Time Bandwidth And Four Channels

The new year has started with a bang for LeCroy as it launches its LabMaster 10Zi oscilloscope, which, with 60-GHz real-time bandwidth (using digital bandwidth interleaving, or DBI), has jumped into the lead in terms of high-end scope bandwidth. That, according to LeCroy, represents nearly twice the bandwidth of competitive high-end scopes from rivals Agilent and Tektronix.

But if that isn’t enough, the LabMaster 10Zi delivers four channels with silicon-based 36-GHz bandwidth in a single acquisition module (see the figure). Sampling rate is 160 Gsamples/s on each channel, and users can precisely synchronize up to twenty 36-GHz channels or ten 60-GHz channels in DBI mode.

Other performance firsts include a 30-GHz trigger bandwidth, which improves on the 15-GHz trigger bandwidth in earlier LabMaster scopes; a 100-fsrms jitter noise floor, which LeCroy calls a new industry low; and a 5.5-ps rise time from 20% to 80%. Additionally, the company says the scope’s 14.1-Gbit/s serial trigger is the fastest in the industry.

Of course, some impressive technology developments lie behind this powerhouse of a scope. At the top of the list is LeCroy’s deployment of an IBM 8HP silicon-germanium (SiGe) chipset, which is the source of the 36-GHz native bandwidth. The chipset also brings extremely low noise to the table. According to LeCroy, the signal-to-noise ratio is as good as existing 20-GHz scopes, including its own, but with a nearly doubled bandwidth. LeCroy’s seventh implementation of its DBI technology extends that silicon-based 36 GHz to 60 GHz.

The ChannelSync architecture uses a single, distributed 10-GHz clock to sync up to five acquisition modules, which is a thousand times faster than typical 10-MHz reference clocks. Furthermore, a single trigger signal trips all modules, which eliminates multiple trigger circuits and additive trigger jitter. A single-shot acquisition incurs zero trigger jitter. With up to five four-channel modules, a LabMaster 10Zi system can comprise 20 channels operating as a single scope with less than 200 fsrms of jitter between channels.

The scope’s 8HP SiGe front end includes a track-and-hold amplifier that drives the analog-to-digital converter (ADC); the front end uses two ADCs instead of one. The ADCs are the same as those found in the earlier LabMaster 9Zi and feature very low noise.

With the modularity inherent in the LabMaster system architecture, LeCroy touts investment protection as an advantage. Users can start with a bandwidth as low as 25 GHz and have an upgrade path to 60 GHz. Users can also start with a single four-channel acquisition module and expand as requirements demand up to five modules and 20 channels. Also, 10Zi acquisition modules can be mixed and matched with 9Zi modules.

As you might imagine, these scopes do carry a hefty price tag. The required master control module goes for $96,900. Acquisition modules start at $156,000 for a 25-GHz version and top out at $315,000 for a full 60-GHz version. The ultra-high-speed pattern trigger costs around $10,000, and memory options range from 32 Mpoints/channel (64 Mpoints/channel with DBI) for $5202 to $42,137 for the maximum 512 Mpoints/channel (doubled with DBI). Scopes will ship in the spring of 2012.

LeCroy Corp.

TAGS: LeCroy
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