31 October 2016 - Pico Technology launched a new family of high-performance microwave and gigabit test probes. The PicoConnect passive probes allow cost-effective fingertip browsing of broadband signals or data streams out to 9 GHz or 18 Gb/s. These include the now ubiquitous USB 2 & 3, HDMI 1 & 2, Ethernet, PCIe, SATA and LVDS standards.
Broadband interconnect, analog and particularly digital, continue to proliferate in just about every electronics sector and at every price point, right down to that of personal technology. Cost-effective test and measurement solutions have struggled to keep up, particularly in the field of low-invasive transmission line probing solutions.
With less than 0.4 pF tip capacitance and ground-referred loading of 220 Ω to 910 Ω, overall the PicoConnect probes are less invasive than the majority of existing and more costly probing solutions. To achieve measurement accuracies down to a few percent they are ratio-compensated for their typical application: the probing of transmission lines and ports between 40 Ω and 100 Ω (80 Ω to 200 Ω differential).
Suited to interfacing with any measuring instrument with 50 Ω inputs, PicoConnect probes allow broadband oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer users to browse circuitry, backplanes, interconnect and systems, typically without interrupting their function, and to do so across multiple channels without breaking a budget. Despite their attractive specification they are cost‑effective in applications from as little as 500 MHz or 1 Gb/s.
Pico offers probe division ratios of ÷5, ÷10 and ÷20 in twelve probe models. Each is provided in two probe impedances to suit either low-voltage, highest-speed, typically digital applications or higher-voltage analog and pulse applications. In every case, there is a DC or AC coupled option, the latter important when DC bias must not be disturbed (as with HDMI, ECL, PECL and LVDS). The whole family is realized as a set of interchangeable SMA(f) probe heads that can be used with any appropriate 50 Ω cable, or accessories such as filters, dividers, amplifiers and further attenuation.
PicoConnect probes are specified and characterized with a supplied 085 high-performance flexible coaxial cable, with which they achieve market-leading flatness and pulse response. The innovative in-PCB coplanar construction (patent pending) guarantees underlying microwave integrity along with mechanical precision, strength and electromagnetic immunity. The passive design is inherently resistant to static discharge and demonstrates no significant overload recovery latency or error. The PicoConnect probes and multi-head probe kits are provided with solder-in accessories in a convenient carry and storage case. Prices start from $699.