R&S updates scope families with 16bit resolution

February 28, 2019 //By Nick Flaherty
R&S updates scope families with 16bit resolution
Rohde & Schwarz is upgrading all its RTO and RTP oscilloscopes with a high definition mode featuring 16-bit vertical resolution. This is already standard with the R&S RTE oscilloscopes.

In power electronics, it is frequently the smallest details of a signal that are of interest, also for high-amplitude signals, such as when characterizing switching power supplies. A high vertical resolution is necessary to measure small details of a signal with an amplitude up to several hundred volts.

The scopes accomplish this with a hardware lowpass filter that filters the signal after the A/D converter. The filter reduces the noise power, effectively increasing the signal-to-noise ratio and increases the resolution up to 16 bit. The bandwidth of the lowpass filter can be variably adjusted from 10 kHz to a maximum of 2 GHz to match the characteristics of the applied signal. The lower the filter bandwidth, the more the signal-to-noise ratio is improved. Waveforms are displayed in a higher resolution, showing signal details that would otherwise be hidden by noise. The low-noise frontend and highly accurate single-core A/D converter provides a higher dynamic range and measurement accuracy.

As the hardware lowpass filtering takes place in real time, acquisition and processing rates remain high and the measurement results are available quickly. All analysis tools, including automatic measurements, FFT and the history mode, can be used in high definition mode.

The higher resolution means there are no unexpected aliasing effects in high definition mode. As the high definition mode is not based on decimation, the increase in resolution is not accompanied by a reduction in the sampling rate. When high definition mode is switched on, the full sampling rate can be used, ensuring the best possible time resolution. 

High definition mode makes even the smallest signal details visible. The highly sensitive digital trigger system allows users to easily isolate these details and investigate them in greater detail. Each of the up to 16-bit samples is checked against the trigger conditions and can initiate a trigger. This means the oscilloscopes are able to trigger on even the smallest signal amplitudes. 

The 16bit RTE, RTO


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