Tektronix mixes domains
Rick Nelson- August 30, 2011
Engineers are increasingly working in both the time and frequency domains as the products they are designing increasingly incorporate wireless functionality. To help them out, Tektronix has introduced what it calls a mixed-domain oscilloscope (MDO), which combines the functionality of an oscilloscope and a spectrum analyzer in a single instrument. The combination saves bench space, obviously, but the key benefit is that the combined instrument lets engineers capture time-correlated analog, digital, and RF signals.
Speaking at the prelaunch briefing, Ward Ramsdell, principal at Prototype Engineering LLC, discussed his application of the new instrument to academic, RF semiconductor, mixed-signal semiconductor, and consumer electronics product-development efforts. Ramsdell, a beta-site evaluator of the new scope, dubbed the MDO4000, maintains a diverse lab with tools and equipment to support all stages of the design process as he provide electrical design consulting services to customers with a broad range of backgrounds: those companies with no internal engineering resources, those with over-tasked design teams that need to outsource design functions, or those needing specific expertise on some aspect of their product design (often with respect to RF design and FCC compliance).
He said the MDO4000 is a valuable complement to his lab bench, minimizing the time from power-on to useful data. He added that the integration of domains eases visualization of system-level issues and allows him to focus on the product, not the test.
Ramsdell provided specific demonstrations of the MDO4000, including exploration of digital RF modulation in an academic setting, mixed-domain analysis of a cellular power amplifier, the analysis and debug of a wireless audio IC, and debug of a 900-MHz low-data-rate radio. Test & Measurement World subsequently visited Ramsdell’s lab and will report in more detail in the October issue.