Browse Definitions:
Definition

oscilloscope

An oscilloscope is a laboratory instrument commonly used to display and analyze the waveform of electronic signals. In effect, the device draws a graph of the instantaneous signal voltage as a function of time.

A typical oscilloscope can display alternating current (AC) or pulsating direct current (DC) waveforms having a frequency as low as approximately 1 hertz (Hz) or as high as several megahertz (MHz). High-end oscilloscopes can display signals having frequencies up to several hundred gigahertz (GHz). The display is broken up into so-called horizontal divisions (hor div) and vertical divisions (vert div). Time is displayed from left to right on the horizontal scale. Instantaneous voltage appears on the vertical scale, with positive values going upward and negative values going downward.

The oldest form of oscilloscope, still used in some labs today, is known as the cathode-ray oscilloscope. It produces an image by causing a focused electron beam to travel, or sweep, in patterns across the face of a cathode ray tube (CRT). More modern oscilloscopes electronically replicate the action of the CRT using a liquid crystal display (liquid crystal display) similar to those found on notebook computers. The most sophisticated oscilloscopes employ computers to process and display waveforms. These computers can use any type of display, including CRT, LCD, and gas plasma.

In any oscilloscope, the horizontal sweep is measured in seconds per division (s/div), milliseconds per division (ms/div), microseconds per division (s/div), or nanoseconds per division (ns/div). The vertical deflection is measured in volts per division (V/div), millivolts per division (mV/div), or microvolts per division (?V/div). Virtually all oscilloscopes have adjustable horizontal sweep and vertical deflection settings.

oscillos.gif (4843 bytes)

The illustration shows two common waveforms as they might appear when displayed on an oscilloscope screen. The signal on the top is a sine wave; the signal on the bottom is a ramp wave. It is apparent from this display that both signals have the same, or nearly the same, frequency. They also have approximately the same peak-to-peak amplitude. Suppose the horizontal sweep rate in this instance is 1 µs/div. Then these waves both complete a full cycle every 2 µs, so their frequencies are both approximately 0.5 MHz or 500 kilohertz (kHz). If the vertical deflection is set for, say, 0.5 mV/div, then these waves both have peak-to-peak amplitudes of approximately 2 mV.

These days, typical high-end oscilloscopes are digital devices. They connect to personal computers and use their displays. Although these machines no longer employ scanning electron beams to generate images of waveforms in the manner of the old cathode-ray "scope," the basic principle is the same. Software controls the sweep rate, vertical deflection, and a host of other features which can include:

  • Storage of waveforms for future reference and comparison
  • Display of several waveforms simultaneously
  • Spectral analysis
  • Portability
  • Battery power option
  • Usability with all popular operating platforms
  • Zoom-in and zoom-out
  • Multi-color displays
This was last updated in September 2005

Continue Reading About oscilloscope

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

there is good effort for sharing your knowledge. very easy and useful for help.... may Allah bless u...
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • population health management (PHM)

    Population health management (PHM) is a discipline within the healthcare industry that studies and facilitates care delivery ...

  • ICD-10-PCS

    The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS) is a U.S. cataloging system for...

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

    The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the largest biomedical library in the world.

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • open source storage

    Open source storage is data storage software developed in a public, collaborative manner that permits the free use, distribution ...

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close