The One Million Dollar Scope Teardown

circuits of oscope

The Labmaster 10-100zi Oscilloscope is one of the fastest scopes in the world, coming in at a blistering speed of 100GHz with up to 240 Giga samples per second in real time. The scope is made by Teledyne LeCroy, and uses a frequency interleaving technology perfected by LeCroy, which allows it to provide a single 100GHz channel, or two 33GHz channels and a single 65GHz channel. The price tag? One million dollars.

[Shahriar] takes us inside the Teledyne Lecroy factory in Chestnut Ridge, NY where these scope are manufactured, and gives us the grand tour. First, an engineer describes the interleaving frequency technique that allows the lightning fast sample rates. Then they actually tear the million dollar scope down for our viewing pleasure. And if you still want more, they put it back together and run some tests to push the scope to its far reaching limits. Lastly, [Shahriar] takes us on a tour of the plant where the scopes are built.

It’s a lengthy video, so grab your favorite beverage and tuck in! It’s shocking how fast technology progresses. Just about 18 months ago [Shahriar] took us through the then reigning champion of scopes the Agilent DSA-X 96204Q which capturered 160GS/s at 62GHz.

39 thoughts on “The One Million Dollar Scope Teardown

    1. Meh, Shahriar has proven in all of his videos and the amp hour podcast that he really know what he is doing. If he happens to touch something inside that million dollar scope, I assume he know that it is ok to do so. That the other guy didnt touched it, is no sign that it cant be touched; More like he is a bit of a helicopter dad over his scope. In fact, If you watch the video to the end you will see the assembly line and there is a lot of touching going on.

      1. Hem, his attempts to show that he understood the intricacies of the front end failed each time and the engineer kept asking him to wait till the diagram was finished. I have had students like that. They want me and the rest of the class to know that they already know or are ahead of the presentation. The time-wasting BS’ers. This isn’t a job interview, is it?

        1. Did you see his YT videos? He speaks fast and thinks fast. Often he says on video “oh this is probably a XXX” to just say seconds later state “in fact, THIS is the XXX and that is the YYY”. So this behaviour and being a technical manager at Bell Labs is for me sufficient enough that he is not a show off. But your mileage may vary.

        2. I’ve had instructors that can’t handle it when someone else knows more than they do. Given his credentials, I’d wager that Shahriar understands how that scope works better than the engineer.

        3. Yes, that’s Shahriar for you. He also tries to sell his LeCroy tour and the 100 GHz scope experiments as “world exclusive” where I have released similar videos on my video blog about a month ago ( He seems quite conceited and snooty. Yes, he knows a lot but does he have to be arrogant because of that? Nonetheless, I like his channel despite not liking him as person very much.

      1. Clearly, yet still embarrassing. Sweat, oils from the face, and who knows what else on their display sample. Keep your fingers out of the works and imitate the owner. That isn’t hard. I would be thinking “What is he going to try when we get to the assembly area?”. Try that with the finish on a classic car at a show! (BTW, you think there are no blue-wires in production gear?)

  1. Although I’m a complete idiot in this area I’m still going to say that if I were them (or should I say if I were the chinese?) I’d consider turning it into a modulated light signal early on and then manipulate that to make it manageable in the later stages. Because I think filtering/multiplexing/separating light is easier done at such speeds probably. And might be cheaper to do because of that. I just have a suspicion it would be easier.
    But of course if a company did all the R&D from 1 GHz on to go higher and higher it makes sense to use existing stuff.

    1. ” I’d consider turning it into a modulated light signal early on and then manipulate that to make it manageable in the later stages… I just have a suspicion it would be easier.” Your suspicion is wrong. Learn some RF engineering, or continue to post ignorant comments like this.

      1. Instead of just bashing the guy and moving on, would you care to explain why you disagree Steve? It might help not only him and but the rest of us reading this, and you wouldn’t come off as rude as you did here.

        1. He’s a Ham since 14 with a RF engineering background, it all makes sense to him. Everyone else without such knowledge is ignorant to him, even after reading the user might not be very knowledgeable in such areas. Sadly in this situation it makes him look just as ignorant, and doesn’t reflect on the ham community very well. Grumpy hams! :)

          1. The whole point of my comment was that at the frequencies involved you are running towards limits of semiconductors and design, and it’s especially a guy familiar with RF who should be able to admit that.
            There is a reason why there are so few 100g oscilloscopes and why this costs a million. If it was so simple and easy, and logical, that would not be the state of affairs.

            And no, just because you work with 144MHz does not mean you are a renowned expert on 100+GHz frequency circuitry and waveguides.

    2. RF Photonics is a thing. It’s sort of bleeding edge, but still has been around a while. There’s all sorts of stuff going on with it.

      As for grumpy hams, there are quite a few old guys who discount anything that isn’t mentioned in relation to their precious past time playing with CW HF@ 0.0000005 Watts.

      I’d say 100 GHz is getting well outside the ham bands and this makes grandpa very cranky.

      But if we’re ever going to cure cancer and have hovering cars, petaflop/S interwebs and shit, we’d better well press on with the high technology stuff and grandpa can put a sock in it.

  2. An oscilloscope should not need to run anti-virus software. The Teledyne LeCroy website makes malware prevention a prominent feature of their products. Virus scanners running on an oscilloscope? On a million dollar device I would expect an embedded, read only, real time operating system, not Windows 7.

    1. This is the case with most modern high end scopes and other test equipment. At the end of the day it makes usage somewhat easier, seeing as you probably want to fiddle about with the data outside of the scope as well as on it. Also it enables you to play Quake or similar on a several million dollar machine.

    2. Remember the virus in Iranian high end factories, which affected the PAL chips and was developed by Israel? PAL CHIPS! So, a 1 million dollars oscilloscope, is mostly used in critical factories, army, etc. And when they can write viruses for PAL chips, we should think about protecting our precious oscilloscope, no matter what OS it has!

      1. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, the famous one (Stuxnet), it infected Windows PCs that were connected to Siemens industrial hardware that controlled centrifuges. The centrifuges were suspected, by the virus-writing nations, of refining fissile uranium. The virus caused the centrifuges to run beyond their proper limits, and break. As far as I remember, that is.

        But the virus was a standard PC type, just the payload involved abusing industrial control systems. It infected millions of PCs all over the world on it’s way to Iran, most of which weren’t connected to any centrifuges. Thanks, USA and Israel!

        In this case, I wouldn’t pay a million dollars for something running Windows. There’s ways to integrate measuring data with Windows PCs, without having to BE a Windows PC. It’s just sloppy, shabby, not good enough. Cheaping out on designing their own computer or OS, or at least customising one. Even sticking Linux on it would be a start. Just bunging on Windows is lazy, negligent. I’d be pissed off if I were a customer.

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