Tektronix claims new test category with launch of mixed domain scope

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Tektronix has launched what it claims to be the first device in a new category of test equipment. Called the mixed domain oscilloscope, the devices in the MDO4000 series combine the functionality of oscilloscopes and spectrum analysers in one box.

Roy Siegel, general manager of Tektronix' scopes business, said the mixed domain oscilloscope 'is the biggest development in test technology for 20 years'. He added that, along with analogue and digital signals, 38% of embedded designs now include wireless elements. "This is almost an expectation, rather than a 'nice to have'. The availability of cheap ZigBee controllers is an example of the pervasiveness of rf, but this means that rf measurement is now the number one design challenge." According to Tektronix, the device's functionality goes beyond that of a spectrum analyser by allowing users to capture time correlated analogue, digital and rf signals across one rf, four analogue and 16 digital channels. RF input frequency extends to 6GHz and there is a capture bandwidth of at least 1GHz at all centre frequencies. This, says the company, is 100 times wider than provided by a typical spectrum analyser. The MDO4000 also allows users to see the rf spectrum of a signal at any point within a long acquisition to see how the spectrum changes over time or with device state. Siegel claimed the MDO4000 'allows designers to get the job done quickly'. "It's about providing designers with more test time, rather than them spending time learning to use new equipment. It's the only device that allows the engineer to look at analogue, digital and rf signals." Central to the device's performance is a 10Gsample/s 8bit a/d converter, developed by Tektronix some years ago. "It's amazing what we've done to get the performance from an 8bit a/d," said Gary Waldo, product planner. "The real power is in the correlation between the domains, where customers need to know how their device operates."