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You need to test, we're here to help.

25 July 2022

Signal and Power Integrity Tutorial: How PDN Design Affects Board-level Noise

 Figure 1. Oscilloscope traces resulting from measuring a 3.3. V power rail with a 10x probe versus a coaxial connection, with an adjacent 10x probe acting as an RF antenna.
By Prof. Eric Bogatin,
Teledyne LeCroy Fellow

Excerpted by permission from the Signal Integrity Journal article, Measuring Only Board-level Power Rail Noise May Be Misleading

In our blog, we’ve presented a lot about the impact of the interconnect on oscilloscope measurements, and how where you probe can be as important as how you probe. This article is an excellent demonstration of those very principles.

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Power rail measurements are important because they can identify potential sources of noise before they become a problem. However, measuring only the power rail noise at the board-level may be a misleading indication of the noise the die actually sees.

Best Practices for Power Integrity Measurements

Measuring a power rail on a board seems like a simple task. Like all measurements, it is easy to get a waveform on the oscilloscope’s screen, but it is difficult to have confidence you have eliminated the measurement artifacts and have a realistic measure of the actual signal present.

18 July 2022

Six Principles of FFT Analysis Using Real-time Oscilloscopes

 Figure 1. A 100 MHz sine wave in the time domain and its spectrum in the frequency domain showing the one peak at 100 MHz. Click on any image to enlarge.
By Prof. Eric Bogatin,
Teledyne LeCroy Fellow

The following piece was published in Signal Integrity Journal and is excerpted here by permission of Signal Integrity Journal.

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We live in the time domain. This is where we measure all digital performance. But sometimes, we can get to an answer faster by taking a detour through the frequency domain. With these six principles, we can understand how an oscilloscope transforms time domain measurements into a frequency domain view. All six principles are applied “under the hood” by oscilloscopes with a built-in FFT function. (Our note: Also by software packages designed for spectral analysis, such as the SPECTRUM-1 and SPECTRUM-PRO-2R options.)

1. The spectrum is a combination of sine wave components

In the frequency domain, the only waveforms we are allowed to consider are sine waves. There are other special waveforms combinations of which can describe any time-domain waveform, such as Legendre polynomials, Hermite polynomials or even wavelets. The reason we single out sine waves for a frequency domain description, is that sine waves are solutions to second order, linear, differential equations—the equations found so often in electrical circuits involving resistor, capacitor and inductor elements. This means signals that arise or have interacted with RLC circuits are described more simply when using combinations of sine waves than any other function because sine waves naturally occur.

05 July 2022

A Tale of Two Calibrations: Vector Network Analyzer vs. WavePulser 40iX

 Figure 1: This sequence diagram of the classic SOLT 2-path calibration shows the order of connections required.
It was the best of S-parameter measurements, it was the worst of S-parameter measurements…and the difference was in the calibration.  Calibrating a vector network analyzer (VNA) before making any measurements is required in order to reduce errors from imperfect channel matching, less than optimal directivity in the directional couplers and cable response issues. While VNAs are precisely calibrated at the factory, that calibration only extends to the front panel measurement ports. There will inevitably be drift on the internal paths over time. Also, any cables, adaptors or fixtures connected to the measurement ports must be characterized and de-embedded in order to make exact measurements of the device under test (DUT).

There are many possible calibration methods depending on the number of ports and paths being measured.  For simplicity, let’s consider the common 2-port, 2-path calibration.  This calibration method will yield a full set of S-parameters for the two ports: S11, S12, S21 and S22.  It requires the use of a short, open, load and through (SOLT) calibration reference standard, along with the cables used in the test setup, as shown in Figure 1.