9GHz modular probe analyses data rates up to 5Gbps

Article By : Rohde & Schwarz

The R&S RT-ZM probe offers 9GHz bandwidth, DC offset range of ±16V and MultiMode function to switch between test modes without recontacting.

Measuring fast data signals, e.g. on SuperSpeed USB or PCIe-2.0 interfaces, requires an oscilloscope that can acquire and analyse data rates up to 5Gbit/s and suitable probes like Rohde & Schwarz’ R&S RT-ZM. The modular broadband probe system from Rohde & Schwarz ensures that optimum contact is made with the DUT.

Tip modules for specific applications

A variety of tip modules can be attached to the R&S RT-ZM modular probe system to make contact with the DUT for specific uses: modules with solder-in tips or pin connectors, spring-loaded tips and an SMA module. The R&S RT-ZMA11, with a temperature range of –55 °C to 125 °C, is ideal for measurements in a climatic chamber.

The R&S RT-ZM provides a high dynamic range and, depending on the tip and test mode, an extremely low input capacitance of 32fF to 521fF up into the GHz range. As a result, the test signal is exposed to minimal load and distortion from the probe tip.

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Figure 1: The Rohde & Schwarz RT-ZM modular probe.

Amplifier modules

The R&S RT-ZM system consists of the R&S RT ZM15/30/60/90 amplifier modules with 1.5GHz to 9GHz bandwidth. As the core of the system, the R&S RT-ZM amplifier module is connected to a Rohde & Schwarz oscilloscope via the R&S probe interface. It is suitable for bandwidths in the range of 1.5GHz to 9GHz. The attenuation factor can be set to 2:1 or 10:1 with a dynamic range of ±0.5V or ±2.5V. It also offers a large DC offset range of –16V to 16V, making it possible to analyse small signal details with maximum resolution, even at high voltages. The mixed signal ASICs developed by Rohde & Schwarz offer outstanding RF characteristics and a unique DC characteristic with an exceedingly low temperature drift.

Another feature of the amplifier module is the R&S ProbeButton. Users can configure the function assigned to this button directly on the oscilloscope. They can, for example, configure it to switch between test modes, to start and stop measurements or to document measurements.

R&S ProbeMeter sans the oscilloscope

The amplifier module's integrated R&S ProbeMeter delivers precision voltage measurements independently of the oscilloscope. The DC components of a test signal can be determined in parallel to the oscilloscope measurement. The R&S ProbeMeter has an accuracy of 0.05%t with a dynamic range of ±7V.

Multimode without recontacting

The modular broadband probes features a Multimode function wherein users can switch among four test modes without recontacting the DUT: differential, common mode, single-ended P and single-ended N. Test time and risk of improper contacting are reduced, providing consistent test results.
The R&S RT-ZM is designed for use with R&S RTE and R&S RTO oscilloscopes.

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