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What is oscilloscope jitter spec

Posted: 10 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:jitter specification? noise floor?

In an oscilloscope, the most important jitter specification is the jitter measurement floor. This specification is a combination of the oscilloscope's sample clock jitter and noise floor, and results in random jitter within the oscilloscope that can affect its accuracy. Because oscilloscope vendors specify their instrument's jitter measurement floor in different ways, making an educated purchasing decision requires the engineer to understand what each possible specification means. These specifications include: intrinsic jitter, jitter measurement floor, and long-term jitter.

Jitter can be precisely measured using a common, yet powerful tool like the oscilloscope. While most Windows-based oscilloscopes offer analysis software to help you measure jitter, such instruments are limited by their jitter measurement floor, which can erode crucial design margins and even cause devices to fail tests unnecessarily. If the jitter of the device-under-test (DUT) is lower than the oscilloscope's jitter measurement floor, it cannot be measured. It is incumbent on engineers, therefore, to fully understand an oscilloscope's jitter specifications before making any purchase. Doing so will not only ensure you select the right oscilloscope, but also enable more accurate measurements and faster time-to-market.

View the PDF document for more information.

Originally published by Agilent Technologies Inc. at as "Understanding The Oscilloscope Jitter Specification".

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