Oscilloscope Guide.com: Oscilloscope Glossary Terms and Definitions

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Oscilloscope Glossary P-S

Period – The amount of time it takes a wave to complete one cycle. The period equals 1/frequency.

Phase – The amount of time that passes from the beginning of a cycle to the beginning of the next cycle, measured in degrees.

Phase Shift – The difference in timing between two otherwise similar signals.

Pre-trigger Viewing – The ability of a digital oscilloscope to capture what a signal did before a trigger event. Determines the length of viewable signal both preceding and following a trigger point.

Probe – An oscilloscope input device, usually having a pointed metal tip for making electrical contact with a circuit element, a lead to connect to the circuit’s ground reference, and a flexible cable for transmitting the signal and ground to the oscilloscope.

Pulse – A common waveform shape that has a fast rising edge, a width, and a fast falling edge.

Pulse Width – The amount of time the pulse takes to go from low to high and back to low again, conventionally measured at 50% of full voltage.

Ramp – Transition between voltage levels of sine waves that change at a constant rate.

Real-time Sampling – A sampling mode in which the oscilloscope collects as many samples as possible from one triggered acquisition. Ideal for signals whose frequency range is less than half the oscilloscope’s maximum sample rate.

Record Length – The number of waveform points used to create a record of a signal.

Rise Time – The time taken for the leading edge of a pulse to rise from its low to its high values, typically measured from 10% to 90%.

Sampling – The conversion of a portion of an input signal into a number of discrete electrical values for the purpose of storage, processing and/or display by an oscilloscope. Two types: real-time sampling and equivalenttime sampling.

Sample Point – The raw data from an ADC used to calculate waveform points.

Sample Rate – Refers to how frequently a digital oscilloscope takes a sample of the signal, specified in samples per second (S/s).

Signal Integrity – The accurate reconstruction of a signal, determined by the systems and performance considerations of an oscilloscope, in addition to the probe used to acquire the signal.

Signal Source – A test device used to inject a signal into a circuit input; the circuit’s output is then read by an oscilloscope. Also known as a signal generator.

Sine Wave – A common curved wave shape that is mathematically defined.

Single Shot – A signal measured by an oscilloscope that only occurs once (also called a transient event).

Single Sweep – A trigger mode to display one triggered screen of a signal and then stop.

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