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To minimize loading, attenuator probes (e.g., 10× probes) are used. A typical probe uses a 9 megohm series resistor shunted by a low-value capacitor to make an RC compensated divider with the cable capacitance and scope input. The RC time constants are adjusted to match. For example, the 9 megohm series resistor is shunted by a 12.2 pF capacitor for a time constant of 110 microseconds. The cable capacitance of 90 pF in parallel with the scope input of 20 pF and 1 megohm (total capacitance 110 pF) also gives a time constant of 110 microseconds. In practice, there will be an adjustment so the operator can precisely match the low frequency time constant (called compensating the probe). Matching the time constants makes the attenuation independent of frequency. At low frequencies (where the resistance of R is much less than the reactance of C), the circuit looks like a resistive divider; at high frequencies (resistance much greater than reactance), the circuit looks like a capacitive divider.

~Wikipedia

For more information on Passive Probes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_probe#Passive_probes

 

 

Teledyne LeCroy is a leading provider of oscilloscopes, protocol analyzers and related test and measurement solutions that enable companies across a wide range of industries to design and test electronic devices of all types. Since our founding in 1964, we have focused on creating products that improve productivity by helping engineers resolve design issues faster and more effectively.

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