Microwave Journal
www.microwavejournal.com/articles/25449-pico-technology-launches-new-pulse-generators

Pico Technology launches new pulse generators

November 9, 2015

The new PicoSource® PG900 Series pulse generators from Pico Technology are high-speed, low-cost instruments for use in single-ended and differential pulsed measurement applications. The fast-transition pulse can stimulate a transmission path, device or network with a broad-spectrum signal in a single instant. Such a pulse is essential for many high-speed broadband measurements; for instance in time domain reflectometry, semiconductor test, gigabit interconnect and port test, and in radar system test.

The generators are typically used to drive broad spectral content into a 50 Ω cable, connector, RF semiconductor or other device under test. The reflected or transmitted pulse can then be monitored and displayed by a broadband or sampling oscilloscope. Known as Time Domain Reflection or Transmission analysis, these techniques offer an alternative to vector and scalar network analysis. They are widely used to speed the development, evaluation and testing of high-speed data paths such as Ethernet, USB, HDMI and SATA, and RF, radar and microwave devices, cables, networks and equipment.

Unlike traditional, bulky and expensive benchtop instruments, the PicoSource PG900 generators are compact USB devices that connect to a PC running Microsoft Windows. This gives the advantages of leading microwave performance in a compact and portable instrument, a high-resolution graphical display, and easy setup by means of keyboard, mouse or touchscreen. The low cost and portability of these instruments can bring RF and microwave test out of the lab and into the world of on-site measurement.

“Unusually and yet vital to the modern differential measurement challenge, the PicoSource PG900 pulse generators have deskewable differential outputs adjustable to 1 ps resolution,” explained Business Development Manager Mark Ashcroft. “This allows timing inequalities in test connections and fixtures to be nulled out; or the deliberate introduction of timing skew to stress-test your system.” Each of the outputs can also operate in single-ended mode.

The PicoSource PG900 Series offers two triggered step-generation technologies to suit different applications. The PG911, with integral step-recovery diode outputs, offers a transition time of < 60 ps with a large and adjustable output swing of 2.5  to 6 V on each output. These pulses can support high dynamic range and long-distance measurements and can exercise all signal amplitudes in most transmission systems and devices. The PG912 uses external tunnel diode pulse heads to deliver a faster transition time of < 40 ps with fixed 200 mV amplitude right at the interface plane. A third model, the PG914, combines both technologies in one space-saving, economical unit.

All models feature low-jitter external trigger input and output and an internal trigger clock with comprehensive width, period and hold-off adjustments. Pulse edge jitter with respect to the trigger input and output is less than 3 ps RMS. Pico Technology also offers a complete range of TDR and TDT accessories to partner these differential pulse generators with its PicoScope 9000 12 GHz and 20 GHz sampling oscilloscopes.