News | November 6, 2014

High Definition Oscilloscopes From Rohde & Schwarz: Signal Analysis With 16-Bit Vertical Resolution

Source: Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG
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The high definition (HD) mode increases the vertical resolution of the R&S RTO and R&S RTE oscilloscopes to up to 16 bits – a 256-fold improvement over 8-bit resolution. Waveforms are sharper and show signal details that would otherwise be masked by noise. Users benefit from even more precise analysis results.

High definition describes the capability of R&S RTO and R&S RTE oscilloscopes to work with applications for which a high vertical resolution is essential. This is especially the case when low-voltage components on a signal that also exhibits high-voltage components need to be analyzed in detail. One example is the characterization of switch mode power supplies. The voltages across the switching device must be determined during the off and on times within the same acquisition. Because the voltage variations during these switching cycles can be several hundred volts, a high resolution is essential for the precise measurement of small voltage components.

The high definition mode increases the vertical resolution of Rohde & Schwarz oscilloscopes to up to 16 bits – a 256-fold improvement over 8-bit resolution. To achieve this higher resolution, the signal is low-pass filtered directly after the A/D converter. The filter reduces the noise, thereby increasing the signal-to-noise ratio. Users can adjust the bandwidth of the low pass filter from 10 kHz to 500 MHz as needed to match the characteristics of the applied signal. The lower the filter bandwidth, the higher the resolution.

The higher resolution leads to a sharper waveform display, showing signal details that would otherwise be masked by noise. To be able to analyze these waveforms in detail, the input sensitivity of the oscilloscopes has been increased to 500 µV/div. Thanks to the low-noise front end and the highly accurate single-core A/D converter, the R&S RTO and R&S RTE oscilloscopes have an excellent dynamic range and measurement accuracy. Switching on high definition mode allows users to benefit from even more precise measurement results.

The unique digital trigger system from Rohde & Schwarz is sensitive enough to trigger on the highest-resolution signal. Each of the up to 16-bit samples is checked against the trigger conditions and can initiate a trigger. This means that Rohde & Schwarz oscilloscopes are capable of isolating even the smallest signal events for detailed analysis.

Switching on the high definition mode does not compromise measurement speed or functions. Since the digital filtering, which improves resolution and noise suppression, is implemented in real time in the oscilloscope’s ASIC, the acquisition and processing rates remain high. The oscilloscope enables smooth operation and measurement results are available quickly. Furthermore all analysis tools, such as automatic measurements, FFT and the history mode, can also be used in high definition mode.

The R&S RTO-K17 and R&S RTE-K17 high definition software options are now available from Rohde & Schwarz. They will be demonstrated for the first time publicly at electronica in hall A1, booth 307. Moreover, visit for more information about sales promotions from Rohde & Schwarz.

About Rohde & Schwarz
The Rohde & Schwarz electronics group is a leading supplier of solutions in the following business fields: test and measurement, broadcast and media, secure communications, radio monitoring and radio location. Founded more than 80 years ago, this independent company has an extensive sales and service network and is present in more than 70 countries. On June 30, 2014, Rohde & Schwarz had approximately 9800 employees. It achieved a net revenue of EUR 1.75 billion in the 2013/2014 fiscal year (July to June). The company is headquartered in Munich, Germany. It also has regional headquarters in Singapore and Columbia, Maryland, USA, to manage its operations in these regions.

SOURCE: Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG