5 & 16 GHz Sampler Extended Real Time Oscilloscope
The PicoScope 9400 Series is a new class of SXRTO oscilloscopes that combine the benefits of real-time sampling, equivalent-time sampling and high analog bandwidth.
SXRTO (sampler-extended real-time oscilloscope)
9404-16: 16 GHz bandwidth, 22 ps transition time and 5 TS/s (0.2 ps resolution) equivalent-time sampling
9404-05: 5 GHz bandwidth, 70 ps transition time and 1 TS/s (1 ps resolution) equivalent-time sampling
Pulse, eye and mask testing down to 45 ps and up to 11 Gb/s
Four 12-bit 500 MS/s ADCs
Intuitive and configurable touch-compatible Windows user interface
Comprehensive built-in measurements, zooms, data masks and histograms
±800 mV full-scale input range into 50 ohms
±10 mV/div to ±0.25 V/div ranges provided by digital gain
Up to 250 kS trace length, shared between channels
The PicoScope 9404 Series SXRTO oscilloscopes have four input channels up to 16 GHz with market-leading ADC, timing and display resolutions for accurately measuring and visualizing high-speed analog and data signals. They are ideal for capturing pulse and step transitions down to 22 ps, impulses down to 45 ps and clocks and data eyes to 11 Gb/s. Most high-bandwidth applications involve repetitive signals or clock-related data streams that can be readily analyzed by equivalent-time sampling (ETS). The SXRTO quickly builds ETS, persistence displays and statistics. It has a built-in full-bandwidth trigger on every channel, with pretrigger ETS capture to well above the Nyquist sampling rate. There are three acquisition modes—real time, ETS and roll—all capturing at 12-bit resolution into a shared memory of 250 kS.
The PicoSample 4 software is derived from our existing PicoSample 3 and PicoScope 9000 products, which together represent over ten years of development, customer feedback and optimization.
The high-resolution display can be resized to fit any window, filling 4k and even larger monitors or arrays of monitors. Four independent zoom channels can show you different views of your data down to a resolution of 1 ps. Most of the controls and status panels can be shown or hidden according to your application, allowing you to make optimal use of the display area.
The oscilloscope has a 2.5 GHz direct trigger that can be driven from any input channel, and a built-in prescaler can extend the trigger bandwidth to 5 GHz.
These compact units are small enough to place on your workbench close to the device under test. Now, instead of using remote probe heads attached to a large benchtop unit, all you need is a short, low-loss coaxial cable. Everything else you need is built into the oscilloscope, with no expensive hardware or software add-ons to worry about, and we don’t charge you for new software features and updates
Telecom and radar test, service and manufacturing
Optical fiber, transceiver and laser testing (optical to electrical conversion not included)
RF, microwave and gigabit digital system measurements
Signal, eye, pulse and impulse characterization
Precision timing and phase analysis
Digital system design and characterization
Eye diagram, mask and limits test to 3 Gb/s
Ethernet, HDMI 1, PCI, SATA, USB 2.0
Signal, data and pulse/impulse integrity and pre-compliance testing
The PicoConnect 900 Serieslow-impedance, high-bandwidth probes are ideal companions for the PicoScope 9404-05, allowing cost- effective fingertip browsing of fast signals. Two series are available:
Gigabit probes for data streams such as USB 2, HDMI 1, Ethernet, PCIe and SATA
Bandwidth limit filters
A selectable analog bandwidth limiter (100 or 450 MHz) on each input channel can be used to reject high frequencies and associated noise. The narrow setting can be used as an anti-alias filter.
A dedicated frequency counter shows signal frequency (or period) at all times, regardless of measurement and timebase settings, with a resolution of 1 ppm.
Clock and data recovery
The PicoScope 9404-16 features clock and data outputs which are available via the rear panel SMA connectors.
The real-time oscilloscope
Real-time oscilloscopes (RTOs) are designed with a high enough sampling rate to capture a transient, non-repetitive signal with the instrument’s specified analog bandwidth. According to Nyquist’s sampling theorem, for accurate capture and display of the signal the scope’s sampling rate must be at least twice the signal bandwidth. Typical high-bandwidth RTOs exceed this sampling rate by perhaps a factor of two, achieving up to four samples per cycle, or three samples in a minimum-width impulse.
For signals close to or above the RTO’s Nyquist limit, many RTOs can switch to a mode called equivalent-time sampling (ETS). In this mode the scope collects as many samples as it can for each of many trigger events, each trigger contributing more and more samples and detail in a reconstructed waveform. Critical to alignment of these samples is a separate and precise measurement of time between each trigger and the next occurring sample clock.
After a large number of trigger events the scope has enough samples to display the waveform with the desired time resolution. This is called the effective sampling resolution (the inverse of the effective sampling rate), which is many times higher than is possible in real-time (non-ETS) mode.
As this technique relies on a random relationship between trigger events and the sampling clock, it is more correctly called random equivalent-time sampling (or sometimes random interleaved sampling, RIS). It can only be used for repetitive signals – those that vary little from one trigger event to the next. The sampler-extended real-time oscilloscope (SXRTO)
The PicoScope 9404-16 maximum effective sampling rate in ETS is 5 TS/s, with a timing resolution of 0.2 ps, which is 10 000 times higher than the scope's actual sampling rate.
The PicoScope 9404-05 has a maximum effective sampling rate of 1 TS/s; a resolution of 1 ps and 2000 times faster than actual sampling rate.
With an analog bandwidth of up to 16 GHz, the PicoScope 9404 SXRTO would require a sampling rate exceeeding 32 GS/s to meet Nyquist's criterion and somewhat more than this (perhaps 80 GS/s) to reveal wave and pulse shapes. Using ETS, the 9404 gives us 312 sample points in a single cycle or a generous 110 samples between 10% and 90% of its fastest transition time. So is the SXRTO a sampling scope?
All this talk of sampling rates and sampling modes may suggest that the SXRTO is a type of sampling scope, but this is not the case. The name sampling scope, by convention, refers to a different kind of instrument. A sampling scope uses a programmable delay generator to take samples at regular intervals after each trigger event. The technique is called sequential equivalent-time sampling and is the principle behind the PicoScope 9300 Series sampling scopes. These scopes can achieve very high effective sampling rates but have two main drawbacks: they cannot capture data before the trigger event, and they require a separate clock signal – either from an external source or from a built-in clock-recovery module.
We've compiled a table to show the differences between the types of scopes mentioned on this page. The example products are all compact, 4-channel, USB PicoScopes.
*Higher-bandwidth real-time oscilloscopes are available from other manufacturers. For example, a 16 GHz analog bandwidth, 80 GS/s, 8 bit sampling model is available
PicoScope 9400 Series - Software
Designed for ease of use
The PicoSample 4 workspace takes full advantage of your screen or array of screens, allowing you to resize the window to fit any display resolution supported by Windows.
On very high-resolution displays, PicoSample 4 plots more samples to give you an even more detailed view of your data.
You decide how much space to give to the trace display and the measurements display, and whether to open or hide the control menus. The user interface is fully touch- or mouse-operable, with grabbing and dragging of traces, cursors, regions and parameters. In touchscreen mode, an enlarged parameter control is displayed to assist adjustments on smaller touchscreen displays.
To zoom, either draw a zoom window or use the numerical zoom and offset controls. You can display up to four different zoomed views of the displayed waveforms.
“Hidden trace” icons show a live view of any channels that are not visible on the main display.
The interaction of timebase, sampling rate and capture size is normally handled automatically, but there is also an option to override this and specify the relative priorities of these three parameters.
A choice of screen formats
When working with multiple traces, you can display them all on one grid or separate them into two or four grids. You can also plot signals in XY mode with or without additional voltage-time grids. The persistence display modes use color-contouring or shading to show statistical variations in the signal. Trace display can be in either dots-only or vector format and display settings can be independent, trace by trace. Custom trace labelling is also available.
Measurements Waveform measurements with statistics
The PicoScope 9404-05 quickly measures over 40 standard waveforms and over 40 eye parameters, either for the whole waveform or gated between markers. The markers can also make on-screen ruler measurements, so you don’t need to count graticules or estimate the waveforms position. Up to ten simultaneous measurements are possible. The measurements conform to IEEE standard definitions, but you can edit them for non-standard thresholds and reference levels using the advanced menu or by dragging the on-screen thresholds and levels. You can apply limit tests to up to four measured parameters.
Eye diagram measurements
The PicoScope 9400 Series scopes quickly measure more than 70 fundamental parameters used to characterize nonâ€‘returnâ€‘toâ€‘zero (NRZ) signals and return-to-zero (RZ)
Up to ten parameters can be measured simultaneously, with comprehensive statistics also shown. The parameters include X-axis measurements such as bit rate and jitter, and Y-axis measurements such as eye height and noise.
PicoSample 4 has a built-in library of over 130 masks for testing data eyes. It can count or capture mask hits or route them to an alarm or acquisition control. You can stress-test against a mask using a specified margin, and locally compile or edit masks.
There’s a choice of gray-scale and color-graded display modes, and a histogramming feature, all of which aid in analyzing noise and jitter in eye diagrams. There is also a statistical display showing a failure count for both the original mask and the margin.
The extensive menu of built-in test waveforms is invaluable for checking your mask test setup before using it on live signals.
Powerful mathematical analysis
The PicoScope 9400 Series scopes support up to four simultaneous mathematical combinations or functional transformations of acquired waveforms.
You can select any of the mathematical functions to operate on either one or two sources. All functions can operate on live waveforms, waveform memories or even other functions. There is also a comprehensive equation editor for creating custom functions of any combination of source waveforms.
The Trend function displays the evolution of timing parameters as line graphs whose vertical axes are the value of the parameter, and horizontal axes the order in which the values were acquired. The information obtained from applying timing parameters can then be analyzed using Trend.
The following trend parameters can be used: Period, Frequency, Positive Width, Negative Width, Rise Time, Fall Time, Positive Duty Cycle, Negative Duty Cycle.
Trend effectively measures parameters such as oscilloscope timebase linearity.
All PicoScope 9400 Series oscilloscopes can calculate real, imaginary and complex Fast Fourier and Inverse Fast Fourier Transforms of input signals using a range of windowing functions. The results can be further processed using the math functions. FFTs are useful for finding crosstalk and distortion problems, adjusting filter circuits, testing system impulse responses and identifying and locating noise and interference sources.
Behind the powerful measurement and display capabilities of the 9400 Series lies a fast, efficient data histogram capability. A powerful visualization and analysis tool in its own right, the histogram is a probability graph that shows the distribution of acquired data from a source within a user-definable window.
Histograms can be constructed on waveforms on either the vertical or horizontal axes. The most common use for a vertical histogram is measuring and characterizing noise and pulse parameters. A horizontal histogram is typically used to measure and characterize jitter.
Pulsed RF carriers lie at the heart of our modern communications infrastructures, yet the shape, aberrations and timings of the final carrier pulse (at an antenna, for example) can be challenging to measure. If we choose demodulation, we are subject to the limitations of the demodulator; its bandwidth and distortions.
Envelope acquisition mode allows waveform acquisition and display showing the peak values of repeated acquisitions over a period of time.
Shown here on a PicoScope 9404 SXRTO is a real time capture of pulsed amplitude 2.4 GHz carrier.
The yellow trace is an alias of the 2.4 GHz carrier displayed at a timebase of 100 μs/div. The blue trace, offset slightly for clarity, is a Max Envelope capture of the yellow trace.
The enveloped waveform shows the maximum excursions of the carrier envelope and its pulse parameters can then be measured (bottom left of the image).
This measurement is limited by the maximum real time sampling rate of the SXRTO (500 MS/s) and so has a Nyquist demodulation bandwidth of 250 MHz. Three other channels on the oscilloscope remain available to monitor, for example, modulating data and power supply voltages or currents feeding to the sourcing RF power amplifier.
Segmented acquisition mode
Segmented acquisition mode in the Acquire menu partitions the available trace memory length into multiple trace lengths (segments or buffers). Up to 1024 traces can then be captured and either layered or individually selected to display on screen. This is helpful to the capture and view of rarely occurring events.
Having captured an anomalous event, you can scroll through, or close gates around an ever smaller block of overlaid traces until the anomalous trace or traces are found. There is also a segment finder, which uses a binary search method to address larger numbers of trace segments:
Software Development Kit
We supply a comprehensive programmer’s guide that details every function of the ActiveX control. The SDK can control the oscilloscope over the USB or the LAN port.
High bandwidth / low impedance
Our ergonomically designed passive oscilloscope probes are suitable for use with all major brands of oscilloscopes as well as the PicoScope range of USB Oscilloscopes. Passive probes don't require a power supply or batteries so are lightweight and easily portable.
* Specifications marked with (*) are checked in the Performance Verification chapter of the User's Guide.
 These specifications are valid after a 30-minute warm-up period and ±2 °C from firmware calibration temperature.
Order your PicoScope 9404-05 Here:
Order your PicoScope 9404-16 Here:
Address: 1480 Gulf Road, Suite 837,
PO Box 1280
Point Roberts, WA 98281
Western Canada - Vancouver BC
Tel:1.800.663.6001 or 1.604.925.6150
Address: 2454 Haywood Ave
West Vancouver, BC V7V 1Y1
Eastern Canada - Markham, Ontario
Address: 3075 14th Ave, Unit 219,
Markham, Ontario L3R 0G9