Active Differential Probes for RF, Microwave Instruments

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today introduced two active differential probes for RF and Microwave instruments — the U1818A/B — that feature high differential input impedance from 100 kHz to 7 or 12 GHz. The new probes are designed to be directly compatible with Agilent’s network, spectrum and signal source analyzers. The U1818A/B probes provide a high-frequency probing solution for R&D and quality assurance engineers performing RF/Microwave and high-speed digital design and validation in the wireline, wireless communications and aerospace/defense industries.

Existing RF probes only allow measurement up to 3 GHz. No commercial products yet exist for high-frequency probing. Instead, this task is accomplished using rudimentary makeshift and often times, unreliable solutions. In contrast, Agilent’s U1818A and U1818B active device probes allow measurement up to 7 GHz and 12 GHz, respectively and, using Agilent instruments, are designed specifically for precise in-circuit measurements.

Agilent’s U1818A/B active differential probes feature:

  • broad bandwidth with flat frequency response, +/- 1.5 dB, which ensures excellent measurement accuracy and helps users achieve the best product specifications;
  • low noise floor, less than -130 dBm/Hz at 10 MHz to 12 GHz, which allows measurements to be made at a low signal amplitude; and
  • convenient biasing from Agilent’s RF and microwave instruments probe power port or bench top power supply for user flexibility.

“Our new active differential probes are designed to enable convenient usage with our network, spectrum and signal source analyzers,” said Tan Boon Khim, operations manager of Agilent’s Test Accessories Organization. “Together, this complete solution allows engineers and technicians to perform troubleshooting and design validation down to the component level, greatly enhancing their ability to quickly find and fix defects.”

Agilent’s U1818A/B active differential probes are available with a variety of probe head options. Additional probe accessories include extreme temperature extension cables, an inline attenuator kit, minimum loss attenuator pad and probe positioners for the most accurate measurements.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

Agilent’s U1818A and U1818B active differential probes are available now and are priced at $5,500 and $9,500, respectively.

For information about the active differential probes, go to Photos of the U1818A and U1818B probes are available at