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Title: Ensuring The Traceabilitv Of Oscilloscope Calibration
Author: Mark V. Ashcroft
Source: 1998 Measurement Science Conference
Year Published: 1998
Abstract: Oscilloscope calibration used to be a costly process, calling for substantial investment in time, equipment and operator training. Traceability to National Standards was also expensive and difficult to achieve, with the limited accuracy of analog oscilloscopes in particular making it difficult to justify the time and expense. A new breed of oscilloscope calibrator has emerged that dramatically reduces calibration costs by allowing the process to be automated. However, the traceability problem remains and can only be overcome if traceability is considered an integral part of the calibrator design. Design for traceability in the calibrator not only reduces cost of ownership, it can also reduce calibration uncertainties in line with the requirements of the latest digital-storage oscilloscopes and active scope probes. In this paper the generation of fast edges and leveled sinewaves, which are used for transient response testing, gain flatness and bandwidth testing of oscilloscopes, are used as examples to illustrate how careful calibrator design can ease traceability problems and improve accuracy. The availability of higher order standards via which oscilloscope calibrators can be traceably calibrated to National Standards is also discussed. Relatively few calibration laboratories can support the high frequency parameters required, resulting in significant calibration costs, shipping costs and equipment downtime. A novel calibrator architecture is described that eases these problems by confining high frequency parameter calibration to active heads that can be detached from the calibrator mainframe unit and sent to a calibration laboratory via normal mail services

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