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The Tektronix 7J20, which only appears in the 1975 catalog, is a "rapid scan" optical spectrometer for the 250 nm to 1100 nm region. Rapid scan means that it can capture the spectrum quickly enough to show spectral changes at temporal resolution of a few milliseconds.

The spectrometer is packaged in two enclosures linked by an umbilical cable. The 7J20 is a 2-wide plug-in for 7000-series scopes containing the sweep timing and mainframe interface circuits. The external enclosure is labeled "J20". It has controls for the optical components (grating, filters etc.) on one side and an input aperture on the other.

The 7J20 is very rare. According to Dennis Tillman, Best estimate is ~40 were actually built.

Key Specifications

Spectral range 250 nm to 1100 nm
  • Grating A: ≤4 nm in a 400 nm span (selectable 300-700, 400-800, 500-900, 600-1000, or 700-1100 nm
  • Grating B: ≤0.4 nm in a 40 nm span continuously variable through the spectral range
Slit 10 to 5000 μm wide (1-2-5 sequence), 10 mm high
Filters ND1, ND 2, 500 nm monopass, 800 nm monopass, UV block (≤400 nm), UV pass (250-330 nm), open (no filter)
Scan 10 or 20 ms base sweep, 50 to 1000 ms (1–2–5) settings run successive 20 ms sweeps up to the selected integration time
Display span Grating A, 40, 20, 10 or 4 nm/Div ; Grating B, 4, 2, 1 or 0.4 nm/Div


$12,000 in 1975 (~$68,000 in 2023 dollars)




The instrument is based on a Czerny-Turner Monochromator, in essence a narrow slit followed by a diffraction grating. A vidicon tube scans the optical spectrum and produces a periodic electric signal which is then displayed by the scope mainframe.

Operating principle (click to enlarge)

The internal vidicon horizontal scan voltage corresponds to wavelength, but not in a linear way. To provide a linear nm/div horizontal display on the 7000-series mainframe, the vidicon horizontal scan signal is passed through a function generator IC, the 155-0106-00 (U1550 and U1590), which implements an interpolated lookup table. Inside the J20, there are 40 trimmer potentiometers that allow the lookup function to be tweaked so that the horizontal scale of the system is accurate.

Normalizer (click to enlarge)



Some Parts Used in the 7J20

Part Part Number(s) Class Description Used in
155-0014-01 155-0014-00 155-0014-01 Monolithic integrated circuit A/D converter 7000 series readout system 7854 7934 7J20 7L5 P7001
155-0090-00 155-0090-00 155-0090-01 155-0090-02 Monolithic integrated circuit four-decade counter 7B85 7D01 7D12 7D15 7J20
155-0104-00 155-0104-00 Monolithic integrated circuit custom legend generator 7J20
155-0105-00 155-0105-00 Monolithic integrated circuit custom legend generator 7J20
155-0171-00 155-0171-00 Monolithic integrated circuit 4-decade counter, latch and D/A converter 7B85 7D01 7D12 7D15 7J20
M092 155-0086-00 155-0087-00 155-0088-00 155-0104-00 155-0105-00 Monolithic integrated circuit legend generator 7D15 7J20

Some Parts Used in the J20

Part Part Number(s) Class Description Used in
155-0106-00 155-0106-00 Monolithic integrated circuit normalizer J20 492 492A 492AP 492P 494 494P