Analog Angle Article

Fasten your seatbelt: go for a 32-GHz real-time, analog-bandwidth, oscilloscope ride

When you are doing “leading-edge” design and development, there's one big problem: you need test equipment that is even more “leading edge” to find out what you've got. The ten models of the Agilent Infiniium 90000 X-Series meets some of this need by providing true analog bandwidth between 16 and 32 GHz, along with extremely low noise floor of 2 mV at 50 mV/division (32 GHz), oscilloscope noise floor of ~180 femtoseconds, and memory of up to 2 Gpoints (Gpts), all of which the vendor maintains are well ahead of competitive offerings.

Figure 1: Agilent Infiniium 90000 X-Series oscilloscope family, with 32-GHz analog bandwidth for its top-end model, can show a 13-psec falling edge with accuracy and fidelity

(Click on image to enlarge)

The instrument is more than just a high-performance, analog-centric box. It also includes sophisticated probes and probing system–without which the oscilloscope can't reach its potential–and a broad set of jitter, triggering, analysis, and display tools along with compliance-testing software and suites, and support for high-speed serial buses.

This analog bandwidth allows users to measure, for example, the fall time on a 13.5 psec edge. Agilent says the all-analog front-end approach is superior to alternatives such as DSP boosting or digital bandwidth interleaving, which increase noise density, cause measurement inaccuracies, and causes non-flatness in frequency response). The vendor also claims that this unit has 46% less jitter at equal bandwidth than closest competitive units on the market.

Probes and probing system : A high-performance scope without commensurate probes is like a high-end, custom-crafted bicycle frame without wheels: nice, but it won't get you far. The 30-GHz probing system includes connectors, cables, both zero-insertion-force (ZIF) and solderable probe heads, probe tips, adapters for various impedances. Since calibration is critical at these bandwidths and accuracies, the system includes AC calibration via a precision probe (claimed to be an industry first), which encompasses the entire probing system including the probe tips, and provides individual S-parameter files for every probe amplifier.

Analysis tools : Since many of the measurements made with such an oscilloscope involve specific tests and masks as well as more-general investigation, Agilent offers over forty software tools and packages for jitter analysis, clock recovery, basic- and advanced-signal de-embedding, and protocol analysis supporting PCI, I2C/SPI, CAN/Flexray, USB, PCI-Express, SATA/SAS, MIPI D-PHY, among others.

All this does not come cheap or easy (we'll detail the “not cheap” part later). Key to the oscilloscope is a front-end set of five proprietary indium phosphide (InP) ASICs, optimized for RF and low noise, and engineered and fabricated internally by Agilent. These ASICs comprise gold-plated coax to ensure shielding, 32-GHz preamplifiers, an edge-trigger chip operating at higher than 20 GHz, and a 32 GHz sampler.

Figure 2: This multichip module at the heart of the Agilent Infiniium 90000 X-Series oscilloscopes combines five InP ASICs in custom aluminum-nitride packaging.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Pricing and availability : the DSOX91604A model, with 4-channels, 16-GHz bandwidth, 80/40 Gsamples/sec sample rate (2/4 channel), and 2 Gpts memory is $131,000. The high-end DSAX93204A 32/16 GHz unit, with 80/40 Gsamples/sec sample rate (2/4 channel) and 2 Gpts memory, is $286,000.
Probe systems range from $14,400 (16 GHz probe amp)to $29,000 (30 GHz).
Shipments of the Infiniium 90000 X-series begin in July; the unit is being demonstrated now.

For more information : contact Agilent Technologies Inc., and Schweber

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