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Innovation at Tek: New optically isolated probe overcomes difficult measurement challenges

The first-of-its-kind Tektronix IsoVu Measurement System, previewed earlier this year at the APEC 2016, is now shipping and available for worldwide delivery to customers.

The IsoVu platform uses an electro-optic sensor to convert input signals to optical modulation, electrically isolating the device-under-test from a Tektronix oscilloscope. The system incorporates four separate lasers, an optical sensor, five optical fibers, and sophisticated feedback and control techniques. The sensor head, which connects to the test point, has complete electrical isolation and is powered over one of the optical fibers. Ten patent applications have been filed for this ground breaking technology.  


As has been widely reported in the media such as this report in Electronic Design, the use of an optical connection solves a number of challenges that arise anytime there is an electrical connection between the scope and the probe. These challenges can include the following measurement conditions:

  • Differential measurements involving high common mode voltage and/or high frequency common mode interference
  • Measurements in high EMI environments
  • ESD testing
  • Remote measurements (up to 10 meters) away from the device under test


Of these, one of the biggest challenges – and a key driver behind IsoVu – has been the need for improved common mode rejection ratio or CMRR performance. For a deeper dive on why this is so important and how IsoVu dramatically improves CMRR compared to the best-in-class electrical probes, download the Tektronix IsoVu white paper here.

For anyone developing power conversion technologies involving GaN or SiC, Tektronix engineer Tom Neville offers a thorough write-up on using IsoVu to optimize half-bridge circuit designs through accurate VGS measurements. The article, published in the June issue of the How2Power newsletter, details how IsoVu makes previously hidden signal visible for the first time, allowing designers to accurately optimize their designs by looking at actual waveforms (rather than simulations as they did in the past).

IsoVu technology is available in 6 models of the TIVM Series Isolated Measurement Systems with 200 MHz, 500 MHz and 1 GHz bandwidth configurations with either 3-meter or 10-meter fiber optic cable lengths. The 10-meter cable option offers the same performance specifications as the 3-meter option and allows users to move their test system away from the interference and radiated emissions of the device under test. With this option, IsoVu is well-suited for such applications as remote testing and EMC validation.

 To learn more or to order an IsoVu system today, go to: