An oscilloscope, previously called an oscillograph, and informally known as a scope, CRO (for cathode-ray oscilloscope), or DSO (for the more modern digital storage oscilloscope), is a type of electronic test instrument that allows observation of constantly varying signal voltages, usually as a two-dimensional graph of one or more electrical potential differences using the vertical or y‑axis, plotted as a function of time (horizontal or x‑axis). This way, many types of signals can be converted to voltages and displayed.

Oscilloscopes are used to observe the change of an electrical signal over time, such that voltage and time describe a shape which is continuously graphed against a calibrated scale. This shape is commonly referred to as a waveform, and makes it easy to view voltage changes over time, allows measurement of peak-to-peak voltage, the frequency of periodic signals, the time between pulses, the time taken for a signal to rise to full amplitude (rise time), and relative timing of several related signals

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