Bandwidth and Rise Time

Question:  How is bandwidth related to rise time for oscilloscopes?

Answer:  Historically, oscilloscope frequency response tended to approximately follow the rule: Bandwidth x risetime = 0.35. This corresponds to a 1- or 2-pole filter roll-off in the frequency domain. Today, at the high end, most real-time digital oscilloscopes more closely follow this rule:

Bandwidth x rise time = 0.45.

This corresponds to a much steeper frequency roll-off above the specified bandwidth. The steeper roll-off is more desirable in digital oscilloscopes that oversample by 4x, 3x, or even less because it prevents aliasing by eliminating any signal above the Nyquist frequency (1/2 the sample rate – the minimum sample rate required for accurate signal representation).

For more information on the topic of bandwidth vs. rise time check out this white paper.

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