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Industry News / Test and Measurement Channel

PulseCore Semiconductor Taps Tektronix

September 23, 2008
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Tektronix Inc., a worldwide provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, announced that PulseCore Semiconductor has successfully used a full suite of Tektronix test instrumentation to test and validate its recently announced USB 2.0 integrated circuit (IC). The new PulseCore IC is the first in the industry to use spread spectrum clocking (SSC) to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI) while achieving USB 2.0 industry compliance.

For measuring USB 2.0 compliance and signal integrity, PulseCore combined a DPO7104 oscilloscope with the TDSUSB2 software option, a TDSUSBF test fixture and a P7350A 6 GHz differential active probe. For measuring on-cable and radiated USB 2.0 EMI power reduction, PulseCore also used a RSA6114A Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer (RTSA) with DPX™ Live RF display. DPX waveform image-processing technology provides a live RF view of the spectrum that reveals previously unseen RF signals and signal anomalies.

“Tektronix is a leader in USB design and compliance testing,” said Dan Hariton, director of engineering at PulseCore. “We faced an especially difficult test challenge to prove USB 2.0 compliance and EMI reduction so we turned to the experts. The test package saved us time by automating characterization measurements and report collection while eliminating time-consuming manual setups.”

Using this test suite, PulseCore was able to prove the effectiveness of its SSC technology to provide an average of 4 dB EMI attenuation and achieve USB 2.0 compliance. The RTSA provided real-time analyses of the SSC on/off transitions to ensure that critical SSC parameters remained within specification at all times while the oscilloscope was used to verify, debug and test the design.

The speed, repeatability and flexibility of the instruments and software provided the additional benefit of helping PulseCore find the limits of its new IC, ultimately giving PulseCore customers more design options. Armed with the information discovered through PuseCore’s detailed testing, system designers using the new IC can either optimize for maximum performance or for maximum EMI reduction with insight where the limits are for both.

“The Tektronix equipment and the software for automating set up and compliance testing saved us considerable time during design and validation phases of this effort. Without this, we would not have been able to push our silicon to the limit,” Hariton added.

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