With IMS 2010 in Anaheim just around the corner, this month’s TestBench takes a look at the test equipment news hitting the wire in the weeks leading up to the symposium.

One of the more notable product launches has been Agilent Technologies Inc. introduction of the Infiniium 90000 X-Series oscilloscope family with industry-leading, real-time bandwidth of 32 GHz. The company is offering ten new models which range from 16 to 32 GHz and are bandwidth upgradable. These new scopes deliver the lowest noise and jitter measurement floor in the industry for excellent measurement accuracy.

The scopes should be of particular interest to engineers working with high-energy physics, emerging wireline communication standards, and high-speed serial data links, such as USB, SAS, or PCI Express®, where the need to capture fast, single-shot events is required and to make critical measurements like jitter while ensuring compliance to industry standards for interoperability. The oscilloscopes promise to track with engineer’s need for higher-bandwidth measurements as data rates extend beyond 10 Gbps in the next few years.

Rohde & Schwarz has expanded its range of power sensors by adding two new models which support thermal power measurements from DC up to 50 GHz and 67 GHz. They are also the only thermal power sensors that can be used even without a base unit. Connection to a PC takes place via USB. The sensors offer outstanding performance for calibration labs as well as for manufacturers of microwave transmission systems and RF/microwave components. A standing wave ratio (SWR) of 1.35 is achieved from 50 to 67 GHz. This is so far unparalleled and results in exceptionally high precision. Linearity surpasses that of commercial products by a factor of ten across the entire frequency range and allows accurate relative power measurements.

Sensitivity has been improved by minimizing zero drift and noise. The resulting increase in dynamic range (55 dB) enables thermal power measurements for powers as low as -35 dBm. In addition, measurement speed exceeds that of conventional instruments by a factor of three. This is especially beneficial in production applications, where short cycle times are just as important as maximum precision. Measurement uncertainty in power measurements is largely attributable to mismatching. This effect is aggravated if the sensor is improperly connected to the DUT. To solve this problem, Rohde & Schwarz has developed a new type of connector that incorporates a ball bearing, which greatly simplifies correct attachment of the sensor to the DUT.

RF Industries now offers a line of 18 GHz precision test cables in standard or custom lengths, suitable for production or lab environments. Featuring high-grade, passivated, stainless steel SMA males with PTFE insulators, this unique cable is configured for low loss and low VSWR. With triple shielding for optimum EMI protection, they are very phase-stable during mechanical and environmental stresses. The cable is also manufactured in accordance with MIL-DTL-17, type IX specification. Other features include high velocity of propagation, wide operating temperature and blue FEP jacket. Armored versions for rugged field applications are also available. RF Industries created these test cables to meet a growing need for test grade cable assemblies.

Delta Electronics Manufacturing announced that they were offering a broad range of coaxial cable assemblies and other connector-related, value-added component subassemblies through a tool on the company’s website. Customers may now visually build cable assembly drawings, specify markers, testing and other requirements, and send the drawing and specs to Delta via e-mail for quotation. The customer receives an e-mail confirmation including the drawing and specifications as well. The Cable Assembly Designer works completely within the visitor’s browser, with no plug-ins or other special software required.

Delta’s cable assemblies, incorporating flexible, semi-rigid and hand-formable cables, range in size from micro-miniature to large, high-power types. They are tailored to meet the requirements of many applications, such as Telecom & Networking; Test & Measurement; Medical; Automotive; Military (using Delta’s MIL-PRF-39012 QPL connectors); Radar & Communications; Consumer Electronics, and many others.