PSPL App Notes


I founded Picosecond Pulse Labs (PSPL) in 1980 in Boulder, Colorado, USA.   The company made ultra-fast risetime (5ps) pulse & 40Gbs pattern generators, 100GHz sampling oscilloscopes, and ultra-broadband ( flat responses from kHz to 60GHz) microwave components, including amplifiers.  PSPL was sold to Tektronix in 2014.   Tek laid off most of the staff and moved production from Boulder, Colorado to Beaverton, Oregon.  A small handful of engineers remained in Boulder.  Eventually, by 2019, Tek closed the Boulder office and discontinued the entire product line.   Today, you can only find PSPL products on the used equipment markets, such as E-Bay.

HL logo 5867AMP labeled

PSPL is rising again, like the Phoenix bird.   A small handful of former PSPL and Tek employees are once again making products similar to what PSPL used to make.   Dr. Agostan Agosan and Dr. Jason Yaho are aided by Madrone Coopwood, Bob Burks and Juan Becerra.   The new company’s name is HYPERLABS.   HL was a one man company of Agostan’s for many years, but is now starting to really grow.   If you are looking for PSPL type products, definitely check out HL’s web site:

PICOSECOND PULSE LABS — Application Notes & MatLab Programs — by Jim Andrews

While at PSPL, I wrote a lot of general purpose application notes relating to pulse generators, oscilloscopes and pulse measurement techniques.   I also wrote several MATLAB programs for use with digital oscilloscopes for spectrum analysis, deconvolution, and network measurements.  These were originally published in PSPL catalogs and later with the advent of the internet, they were made available to the general public on PSPL’s web site, ( )    Many of them have been used and referenced by other authors in the scientific literature.   In 2014, PSPL was sold to Tektronix.   As a result of the integration of PSPL into Tektronix,  the PSPL web site along with these  historical application notes and  MatLab programs have disappeared from the web.   I am now publishing them here on this web site as a service to the scientific and technical community.    To obtain a .pdf copy of an application note, click on the blue high-lighted links.


AN-26 “Gold Standard, 4.8ps, Sampling Oscilloscope Traceable to International Standards Labs”, Dec. 2010   AN-26 Gold std scope

AN-24 “Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Making Pulse Measurements in the Picosecond Domain” Nov. 2010   AN-24 Pulse Meas

AN-23 “Removing Jitter From Picosecond Pulse Measurements” Sept. 2009   AN-23 Remove Jitter

AN-22 “Generation of 10 ps Risetime, Differential, Test Signals” Dec. 2008   AN-22 Diff Pulse Gen

AN-21 “Differential VNA Measurements Using Single-Ended, Two-Port Instruments and BALUNs” Dec. 2008   AN-21 VNA BALUN

AN-20a “Generation of Novel Waveforms Using PSPL Pulse Generators” Dec. 2008   AN-20a Novel Waveforms

AN-19 “Picosecond Pulse Generation Techniques & Pulser Capabilities” Nov. 2008   AN-19 Pulse Gen techniques

AN-18 “Deconvolution of System Impulse Responses and Time Domain Waveforms” Nov. 2004   AN-18 Deconvolution

AN-17 “75 Ohm, 26 GHz Vector Network Analyzer and 30 ps TDR – TDT”
Nov. 2004   AN-17 75ohm

AN-16a “Time Domain Spectrum Analyzer and “S” Parameter Vector Network Analyzer” Nov. 2004   AN-16a TDSA TDVNA

AN-15 “Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) and Time Domain Transmission (TDT) Measurement Fundamentals” Nov. 2004   AN-15 TDR TDT

AN-14a “UWB Signal Sources, Antennas & Propagation” Aug. 2003   AN-14a Ants&Prop

AN-13 “Driving and Biasing PSPL Edge Compressor Components” Oct. 2002   AN-13 Edge Compressor

AN-12 “RZ vs. NRZ” Sept. 2001   AN-12 RZ NRZ

AN-11 “SPICE Models for PSPL Coaxial and SMD Components” Aug. 2001   AN-11 SPICE models       PSPL SPICE models

AN-10 “Eye Diagrams of PSPL Coaxial Components” Dec. 2000   AN-10 Eye Diagrams

AN-9 “Picosecond Pulse Generators for UWB Radars” May 2000   AN-09 UWB sources

AN-8 “Ultra-Wideband Differential Measurements Using PSPL BALUNs” Nov 1999   AN-08 Diff Meas

AN-7a “Low-Pass Risetime Filters for Time Domain Applications” March 1999   AN-07a Risetime Filters

AN-6b “PSPL Calibrations and International Standards Traceability” Dec. 2010   AN-06b Calib&traceability

AN-5c “10 ps Risetime Network TDT and TDR Measurements using the PSPL 15 ps Pulse Generator and HP 50 GHz Oscilloscope” Aug. 1998   AN-05c 10ps TDR

AN-4 “TDR, Step Response and “S” Parameter Measurements in the Time Domain” May 1989   AN-04 S parameters

AN-3a “Pulse Measurments in the Picosecond Domain” Oct. 1998   AN-03a Pulse Meas

AN-2e “Comparison of Ultra-Fast Risetime Sampling Oscilloscopes (2011)”
March 2011   AN-02e O’scopes

AN-2d “Comparison of Ultra-Fast Risetime 18 to 50 GHz Digital Sampling Oscilloscopes (updated to include new intruments introduced in 2000)”
April 2001   AN-02d O’scopes

AN-2c “Comparison of Ultra-Fast Risetime, 18 to 50 GHz Digital Sampling Oscilloscopes” April 1998   AN-02c O’scopes

AN-2b “Comparison of Ultra-Fast Rise Sampling Oscilloscopes (Update to Include New 50 GHz Scopes)” June 1994   AN-02b O’scopes

AN-2a “Comparison of Ultra-Fast Rise Sampling Oscilloscopes” Feb. 1989   AN-02a O’scopes

AN-1f “Broadband Coaxial Bias Tees” July 2008   AN-01f Bias T

MATLAB  PROGRAMS:    Note — I was only able to post these as .pdf files.   .pdf files contain extra buried characters which corrupt the files for actual useage in MatLab.   To obtain the original .m files — send an email request to me at

J.R.Andrews,KH6HTV, PSPL, 7 Sept. 2009
NOTES for MatLab programs distributed to requests Each program contains a lot of explanatory notes on how to use it. Some programs also include technical references.   wwwPSPLMatLab2009

PulseMeasV31.m (8/31/09)
Performs Pulse Parameter Analysis of a pulse waveform. Plots waveform and gives a table of results. Measures either step-like or impulsive waveforms or measures all pulses in a multiple pulse train. Uses histogram method to determine 0% baseline and 100% topline levels.   PulseMeasv31

SpecAnalysisV21.m (9/7/09)
Spectrum Analyzer program for periodic or transient waveforms measured by a digital oscilloscope. For details see PSPL app.note AN-16a — minor mod from 2004 version 2.0   SpecAnalysisV21

TDVNAv21.m (9/7/09)
Time Domain Vector Network Analyzer program to determine S11 & S21 parameters from digital oscilloscope TDR & TDT measurements. For details, see PSPL app. note, AN-16a — minor mod from 2004 version 2.0   TDVNAv21

HdeconV3.m (9/7/09)
Deconvolution program. Determines system impulse response, h(t), from input & output TDT waveforms measured by a digital oscilloscope. See PSPL app.note, AN-18. Includes a selection of decon filters, plus a NEW Noise Floor filter.   HdeconV3

VinDeconV31.m (9/6/09)
Deconvolution program. Determines input waveform, vin(t) from output waveform, vout(t), and system impulse response, h(t). General purpose program for most waveforms. h(t) must have a time window of 2*Tw and have 2*N data points For details, see PSPL app.note, AN-18 Includes a selection of decon filters, plus a NEW Noise Floor filter.   VinDeconV31

JitterDeconV1.m (8/28/09)
Jitter Deconvolution program. Deconvolution of vin(t) from vout(t) & jitter Gaussian impulse response, hj(t). Uses NEW Noise Floor Filter technique. See PSPL app. note, AN-23   JitterDeconV1

Plot4Waveforms.m (9/7/09)
Waveform plotting program for 1 to 4 waveforms. All must be for same time window and have same # of data points.   Plot4Waveforms

WaveModifyV1.m (11/8/04)
Program allows user to modify a waveform array, by reducing # of data points, time shifting and zero padding.   WaveModifyV1

WaveModifyV2.m (11/10/04)
Program allows user to modify a waveform array, by time shifting, and selecting a smaller time window and altering the # of data points (more or less) using interpolation.   WaveModifyV2

Rev:  4 May 2022