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Oscilloscopes: Why Deep Memory Matters

2018-04-23  |  App Notes

App Note

Oscilloscopes: Why deep memory matters

Capturing a longer period of time

One obvious benefit of deep acquisition memory is the capture of a longer period of time. Deep memory helps in instances where the cause and effect may be separated by a significant time period, and plays a key role in viewing events that simply take longer to transpire. At the fastest sample rate, how much time will your oscilloscope cap-ture? You can determine this using the following equation:

Acquisition time window = Memory depth
Sample rate

Retaining maximum bandwidth while capturing more time

The second benefit is often overlooked. Remember:

Sample rate = Memory depth
Acquisition time window

As your oscilloscope acquires more time, more memory will be used to retain the maximum sample rate possible. As the amount of time captured increases, your oscillo-scope will run out of additional memory. As a result, the oscilloscope begins reducing sample rate. Capturing twice as much time reduces the sample rate by a factor of two. Oscilloscopes are typically designed with a maximum sample rate to match the maximum analog bandwidth needed. When the sample rate is reduced, an undesirable consequence is that the sample rate may not be sufficient to accurately reconstruct the signals. Aliasing may occur.


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