Enhanced Oscilloscopes

Organization: Agilent Technologies
Co-Developer(s): Ned Brush, Principal Developer, Jae-Yong Chang, Principal Developer, Tim Figge, Principal Developer, Kenny Johnson, Principal Developer
Year: 2014

2014 R&D 100 Winner Designers of low-power products are challenged with squeezing more performance from their new designs while using less energy than the preceding products. To do this, designers require more sophisticated measurement and analysis tools so they can create more sophisticated energy saving schemes.

The tool of choice for many product designers is an oscilloscope, but for low-power applications this instrument has not been ideal. Equipped with the traditional clamp-on magnetic field sensing current probe, oscilloscopes lack the sensitivity to measure low-level sleep current and the dynamic range to measure peak current in the presence of sleep current. Additionally, these probes are susceptible to repeatability errors induced by thermal drift and residual magnetization.

The recent introduction of Agilent Technologies' N2820A Series High-Sensitivity, High Dynamic Range Oscilloscope Current Probe changes this dynamic. Though labeled as a current probe, the N2820A is actually a highly sensitive oscilloscope voltage probe. By measuring voltages as small as 5 uV, across a current sense resistor, the probe can determine the current flowing through the resistor. By connecting N2820A’s two probe outputs (one for high sensitivity, small current and one for nominal sensitivity, high current) to two channels of the oscilloscope the user can observe both small current and large peak current simultaneously. Resident software helps user manage these outputs.

Technology Oscilloscope current probe

DevelopersAgilent Technologies

Development Team

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Agilent Technologies' N2820A Series High-Sensitivity, High Dynamic Range Current Probes development team (l-r): Jae-Yong Chang, Kenny Johnson, Tim Figge and Ned Brush.
















The N2820A Series High-Sensitivity, High Dynamic Range Oscilloscope Current Probe Development Team from Agilent TechnologiesNed Brush, Principal DeveloperJae-Yong Chang, Principal DeveloperTim Figge, Principal DeveloperKenny Johnson, Principal Developer