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Industry News / Software & CAD

Agilent Technologies Revolutionizes Oscilloscope Probing with Automatic Characterization and Correction

June 24, 2011
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Agilent Technologies Inc. announced PrecisionProbe software for its award-winning Infiniium 90000 X-Series and 90000A Series oscilloscopes. The software, which works in conjunction with built-in hardware in the Infiniium scopes, lets engineers automatically characterize and correct the response of any path to a scope input using no external equipment. The analysis provided by PrecisionProbe software improves measurement margins so engineers can make the most accurate measurements possible. The added margins are especially valuable in situations where the probe setups consume measurement margins without it being apparent to the user.

While great care is taken to minimize channel loss in a best-in-class probing system such as Agilent’s Infiniimax III, cables and probes are inherently lossy. Depending on the configuration, the loss can be substantial at times. At other times it can be just enough to cause variation in measurements, making results inconsistent. Plus, frequency response and phase characteristics can vary from probe to probe, so each probe and cable must be characterized and accounted for to ensure the truest representation of the signal.

Agilent’s N2809A PrecisionProbe software helps engineers overcome these challenges by:

• Quickly correcting for cable and channel insertion loss.

•Correcting probing issues such as phase linearity and magnitude flatness.

•Matching frequency response and phase of every cable or probe on a circuit.

•Characterizing and compensating for loss on channel paths such as switches without adding additional equipment.

•Characterizing probe impedance profiles.

PrecisionProbe is the first software on a real-time oscilloscope to provide full AC calibration for probes, not just DC calibration and skew correction. PrecisionProbe is not dependent on externally generated s-parameter characterization files. These files, commonly generated from other instruments such as time-domain reflectometers or vector network analyzers, can be time-consuming to set up and require expertise to generate accurate and consistent results. Instead, PrecisionProbe uses a built-in signal source on the oscilloscope to automatically generate the files. A software setup wizard quickly moves engineers through the setup and characterizing of channel elements such as probes, cables and switches using PrecisionProbe.

“The PrecisionProbe software demonstrates our continued investment in the oscilloscope market,” said Jay Alexander, Vice President of Agilent’s oscilloscope business. “Just as Agilent revolutionized probing with the original InfiniiMax probing system in 2002, this breakthrough will raise the bar on expectations for system measurement accuracy. This is the type of product that has made Agilent the leader in high-performance measurements and the fastest-growing major oscilloscope vendor in the market.”

Agilent’s PrecisionProbe software complements other Infiniium 90000A and 90000 X-Series software such as the E2681A EZJIT and N5400A EZJIT Plus jitter packages, N5461A equalization software, and E2688A serial data analysis software. The software can be ordered with the purchase of 90000A and 90000 X-Series oscilloscopes. It is also available as a server-based license as N5435A-026 (basic) or N5435A-027 (advanced).


Recent Articles by Agilent Technologies Inc., Santa Clara, CA

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