The Evolution Of Picosecond Pulse Labs

Picosecond Pulse Laboratories (Boulder, CO) was founded 25 years ago by Jim Andrews, after he left the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Science and Technology or NISTP). At first working in his basement, he created high-speed pulse generators and a reputation for providing practical, time-domain test sources.

Of course, since high-speed pulse generators require broadband components, the company also found itself supplying customers with some of its own component designs, with explosive growth for Picosecond Pulse Labs occurring during the telecom boom of the late 1990s. In 1999, Jim passed his duties of chairman of the board and chief executive officer (CEO) to his son, Scott. Two years later, the company raised $25 million in funding to help fuel growth in the broadband components, develop high-speed sampler technologies, and build a specialized GaAs fabrication facility in Beaverton, OR. A team was assembled in Oregon, including former senior research engineers from local companies Tektronix and TriQuint Semiconductor, to pursue the development of devices capable of operating past 100 GHz.

The research on samplers soon bore fruit as, in early 2005, test-equipment supplier LeCroy Corp. (Chestnut Ridge, NY) introduced a line of digital sampling oscilloscopes, including a 100-GHz model made possible by the Picosecond Pulse Labs sampling modules. Although still proud of its high-performance pulse generators, Picosecond Pulse Labs has expanded into a wide range of products including components, sampling modules, comb generators, and instruments for a wide range of applications and markets.

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