Agilent 4288A Capacitance Meter 1 kHz/1 MHz

Agilent 4288A Capacitance Meter 1 kHz/1 MHz
4288A Capacitance Meter
1 kHz/1 MHz
Technical Overview
A new standard
in high-speed measurement solutions
for ceramic capacitor production tests.
Test speed and accuracy advances
for ceramic capacitor production testing
6-digit measurement resolution
Test signal level monitor
64-channel scanner
Back-lit LCD
Four-terminal pair
to achieve accurate
6.5 ms/16.5 ms
1 kHz and 1 MHz
test frequencies
9-bin comparator
Save/recall for
10 instrument setups
4288A capacitance
meter highlights
• 1 kHz and 1 MHz measurement capabilities
comply with standards
• Basic measurement accuracy:
Handler interface
• C accuracy: ±0.07%
Scanner interface
• D accuracy: ±0.0005
GPIB interface
• 6.5 ms/16.5 ms high-speed measurement
• Selectable test levels from 0.1 V to 1 V rms,
in 0.1 V rms steps
• 6-digit resolution for precise measurements
• Four-terminal pair configuration achieves high accuracy
• Open/short/load compensation function
• 9-bin comparator
• Resume function to restore measurement setups
• Accelerate sorting test throughput on production lines
• Save/recall for up to 10 measurement setups
• Upgrade accuracy of measurement data for production
• Standard interfaces for ease of system integration
process control
• Optically-isolated handler interface
• Improve efficiency and reliability of shipping inspection
• GPIB interface (SCPI)
• Enhance efficiency of high-volume capacitor
• Scanner interface
incoming inspection
• 64-channel multi-compensation
• Selectable frequency shift at 2, 1, and -1% avoids
test signal interference
• Compact instrument size
Typical applications
Realize higher accuracy
and 30% higher speeds
with a compact instrument
With the overwhelming growth of the wireless
communications industry, sorting tests in ceramic
capacitor production lines continue to require higher
and higher test throughput and test efficiency. Agilent’s
4288A 1 kHz/1 MHz capacitance meter offers an optimum
measurement solution for high-speed and accuracy in
sorting tests. The 4278A1 set the standard and the
4288A builds on that tradition, offering faster measurement speeds, while attaining excellent measurement
accuracy and stability.
The 4288A has two measurement speeds; short and long
modes. Measurement time is only 6.5 ms in short mode.
Short mode ensures a 30% shorter measurement time,
with better accuracy, than the 4278A previously attained
in its medium mode. Long mode provides the best
accuracy with a measurement time of only 16.5 ms and
improves test throughput in precise sorting tests for
narrow tolerance and low-dissipation factor capacitors.
Key specifications
Display range:
C (1 kHz)
C (1 MHz)
Test voltage
Basic accuracy:
Measurement time
Other functions:
1 kHz and 1 MHz
C, D, Q, G, Rs, Rp
0.00001 pF to 20.0000 µF
0.00001 pF to 1.50000 nF
0.00001 to 9.99999
0.1 V to 1.0 V rms
6.5 ms/16.5 ms
9 bins + aux + out of bins
Handler interface
Scanner interface
Note: Basic accuracy applies to the measurement time long mode.
The 4288A achieves a basic capacitance measurement
accuracy of ±0.07% and dissipation factor measurement
accuracy of ±0.0005 with a 6-digit display resolution
at both 1 kHz and 1 MHz. The 4288A meter specifies
accuracy involving the uncertainty of calibration
standards, while the 4278A specifies accuracy relative
to standards (the uncertainty of calibration standards
is not included in quoted specifications for 4278A.) As
a result, the 4288A’s substantial accuracy is better than
the 4278A’s. Further specification details are provided
in Agilent’s 4288A data sheet, publication number
5980-0362E. The accuracy (±0.085%, ±0.00065 D) in the
short mode delivers highly reliable test results, allowing
a significant improvement in test throughput, without
compromise between the measurement accuracy and
test speed.
The 4288A is the smallest and lightest capacitance meter
available, which provides the most efficient use of space
inside parts-handler systems. The instrument requires
only a three-quarter rack space versus the full-rack
space required by the 4278A, weighs only 3 kg (6.6 lb.),
versus 15 kg (33 lb.) for its predecessor, and consumes
typically half the power.
The 4288A is designed to offer increased speed, higher
accuracy, and a space-saving instrument size to solve
the needs of today’s and future production testing
1. The 4278A is an obsolete product.
Frequency shift avoids
test signal interference
6.5 ms/16.5 ms high speed measurement
The measurement time of 6.5 ms in the short mode
and 16.5 ms in the long mode enable new breakthroughs
in test throughput of ceramic capacitors. The 4288A
simultaneously measures capacitance and dissipation
factor, while able to achieve a 30% faster measurement
speed. (Figure 1). The display is capable of showing
results with 6-digit resolution. Users can select display
resolution of 6, 5 or 4 digits and hold it, as desired.
In the default mode setting, the 4288A always displays
a full 6 digits. The analog measurement time, when
the device must be in contact, is as short as 4.5 ms
(short mode) and 14.5 ms (long mode). This allows
optimization of the handler’s operating speed. The
delay function makes it easy to adjust the measurement
timing appropriately to avoid chattering (unstable
contact) time of the handler’s contact probes. Delay
time, from trigger to the start of the measurement,
can be set from 0 to 1000 ms in 1 ms steps.
4288A: Absolute accuracy, 4278A: Accuracy relative to standards
When two or more 4288A units need to be integrated
into a system such as the array-type capacitor test
system, using the test frequency shift function at 1 MHz
prevents possible interference of test signals between
adjacent measurement terminals. To avoid overlapping
test frequencies, the frequency shift can be selected
from –1%, +1% and +2%.
0.07% C accuracy and 0.0005 D accuracy
Basic measurement accuracy is ±0.07% for capacitance
and ±0.0005 for dissipation factor at both 1 kHz and
1 MHz in long measurement mode. Since the 4288A’s
accuracy is specified for absolute accuracy that
includes the uncertainty of calibration standard values,
the guaranteed accuracy substantially surpasses the
4278A (specified with accuracy relative to standards).
The short mode also provides incomparable accuracy
of ±0.085% (C) and ±0.00065 (D) at the fastest
measurement speed, enabling reliable sorting
tests with high throughput.
Higher capacity
Accuracy (%)
Medium 1 MHz
Medium 1 kHz
When the 4288A is integrated into a component
handler or combined with a component scanner,
measurement accuracy can be easily optimized because
the compensation functions eliminate measurement
errors due to test leads and fixtures. Since the accuracy
does not vary depending on the test cables used (0 m
or standard 1 m or 2 m test cables), you can effectively
utilize the 4288As advanced measurement performance.
Higher measurement speed
Measurement time (ms)
Figure 1. Comparison of the 4288A to 4278A (measurement time
and accuracy)
1 kHz/1 MHz measurements
comply with standards
The 4288A covers both 1 MHz measurement for lowvalue capacitors and 1 kHz measurement for medium to
high-value capacitors. Test signal levels can be selected
ranging from 0.1 V to 1 V rms, in 0.1 V steps to meet
the desired test conditions. The level monitor function
allows the confirmation of the actual test voltage across
the device. Since test signal level accuracy is ±5% over
the entire capacitance measurement range up to 20 µF,
sorting tests in compliance with the IEC 60384 and
JIS C5101 standards can be performed.
Figure 2. Measurement time and accuracy
The advanced measurement circuit design of the 4288A
ensures the same mean values of measured parameters
for a device compared between short and long modes.
This feature contributes to the small difference in
specified accuracy between the short and long modes.
Ranging method for achieving
high accuracy over the entire range
The 1 MHz measurement covers the 1 pF to 1 nF range
(measurement values are effective up to 1.5 nF) and
the 1 kHz measurement covers the 100 pF to 10 µF
range (measurement values are effective up to 20 µF).
Capacitance ranges are selectable in 1, 2.2, 4.7 and
10 steps and have 3 ranges per decade. (See measurement accuracy Table 1 on page 7.) This ranging method
allows most capacitors to be measured in the region
near the full-scale value (above 50% of range value) of
the appropriate range. Using this method, accurate measurements are achieved over the entire range including
capacitance regions where accuracy often became
insufficient using the generic decade ranging method.1
9-bin comparator
The built-in comparator sorts capacitance measurement
results into one of a maximum of 9-bins, an “Out of
Bins”, and can perform pass/fail decisions for D, Q, G,
Rs or Rp at the same time (Figure 3). The limit values
can be entered in either of three modes; absolute value,
deviation and percent deviation. Comparison results can
be output on the handler and GPIB interfaces as well as
the instrument display. If the device is sorted to “out
of bins”, a status signal is displayed representing the
status of the capacitance as being too low or too high,
dissipation factor being out of limits, or other appropriate
status signals allowing users to statistically analyze the
defects of devices. Bin count and low-C-reject functions
are also equipped. The comparator function can perform
the same bin-sort decisions as the 4278A.
System interfaces
The standard 4288A is equipped with GPIB, handler
and scanner interfaces that facilitate integration into
handler systems and applications requiring a component
scanner. GPIB programming commands comply with
standard commands for programmable instruments
(SCPI). Handler and scanner interfaces have basic
compatibility with current instruments to ease integration of the 4288A into systems. The 4288A is equipped
with an optically-isolated handler interface. Since this
interface is basically compatible2 with the 4278A, the
4288A can be easily integrated into the handler systems
(Figure 4). The GPIB incorporates generic SCPI3. The
GPIB data buffer can store and output a maximum of
1000 sets of measurement data. The 64-channel scanner
interface is also standard4. A multi-channel scanner
system can be easily configured for inspection of arraytype capacitors and for improving the efficiency of
sampling tests for quality assurance. For the scanning
measurement, the multi-compensation function enables
open/short/load compensations to be performed
independently for each scanner channel (Figure 5). This
minimizes inconsistency in measured values between
channels and enables accurate measurements on the
scanner system.
Figure 4. Handler interface
Figure 3. Comparator decisions
1. At 1 kHz measurement, the accuracy is superior to the 4278A
when decade ranges are used to maintain compatibility with
the 4278A’s ranging method.
2. The comparator and handler interface functions are compatible
with the Option 4278A-201 and involve expanded capabilities.
Option 4278A-201 is obsolete.
3. The 4288A employs similar GPIB commands to the 4268A
120 Hz/1 kHz capacitance meter which was developed for
testing high-value ceramic capacitors.
4. The scanner interface is compatible with the Option 4278A-301.
Option 4278A-301 is obsolete.
Figure 5. Scanner interface and multi-compensation
Compact size for saving installation
Continuous expansion in large-scale ceramic capacitor
production, requires instrumentation aimed at resolving
new problems, such as the installation space for the
increasing test systems, running costs of equipment,
increasing throughput and more. To support development of a highly efficient and space-saving test system,
the 4288A offers uncompromising high performance
with a compact footprint. The 4288A, which is 10 cm
(3.9 inches) high and 32 cm (12.6 inches) wide, saves
handler integration space because it is 1/4 the size of
previous instruments, allowing the downsizing of the
systems and the retrenchment of system installation
areas. Component manufacturers can save space, time
and money with the integration benefits provided by
this new meter.
4268A 120 Hz/1 kHz capacitance meter
Agilent 4268A front view
The 4268A, which is the family product of the 4288A,
is designed for sorting tests of high-value ceramic
Resume and save/recall functions
The 4288A is equipped with convenient back-up
functions to quickly re-start systems. These functions
include: the resume function, which automatically
restores instrument setup immediately powering on,
and the save/recall function, which can store
10 instrument setups.
Reducing calibration costs
As a result of its improved stability, the 4288A
only requires a periodic calibration once a year.
This minimizes the system intermission required
for calibration and reduces calibration costs.
Test frequencies and measurement ranges for the 4268A and
Specification is the performance of the instrument
guaranteed under a temperature environment between
0 °C and 45 °C, unless otherwise noted. Data described
as “typical”, “approximately”, or “nominal” are not
guaranteed specifications, but supplemental
performance characteristics (SPC) for effective use
of the instrument.
Measurement accuracy
Table 1. Measurement accuracy (D ≤ 0.1)
C range (Cf)
Measurement parameters
1 kHz
1 MHz
Cp, Cs
100 pF
1 pF
0.055% + 0.07α%
0.00035 + 0.0007α
(3.5 + 4.5α)Cx nS (90 + 120α)/Cx Ω
0.055% + 0.03α%
0.00035 + 0.0003α
(3.5 + 2α)Cx nS
(90 + 50α)/Cx Ω
220 pF
2.2 pF
0.055% + 0.045α% 0.00035 + 0.00045α (3.5 + 3α)Cx nS
(90 + 75α)/Cx Ω
470 pF
4.7 pF
0.055% + 0.02α%
0.00035 + 0.0002α
(3.5 + 1.5α)Cx nS (90 + 35α)/Cx Ω
0.00035 + 0.0003α
1 nF
10 pF
2.2 nF
22 pF
4.7 nF
47 pF
10 nF
100 pF
22 nF
220 pF
0.055% + 0.03α%
(3.5 + 2α)Cx nS
(90 + 50α)/Cx Ω
47 nF
470 pF
0.055% + 0.015α% 0.00035 + 0.00015α (3.5 + 1α)Cx nS
(90 + 25α)/Cx Ω
100 nF
1 nF
220 nF
470 nF
1 µF
2.2 µF
4.7 µF
10 µF
Note: The accuracy in Table 1 applies for measurement time
as follows:
• Top row:
Accuracy in short mode spec
• Bottom row: Accuracy in long mode spec
• n/a:
No measurement ranges available.
Unit for Cx is nF @ 1 kHz and pF @ 1 MHz.
Measurement range
Measurement parameter and range
Capacitance range: Refer to Table 1.
1 kHz: 100 pF to 10 µF, 16 ranges
Over range: 150% of range value except for 200% at 10 µF range
1 MHz: 1 pF to 1 nF, 10 ranges
Over range: 150% of range value
Measurement parameter
Measurement accuracy
Cp Equivalent parallel capacitance
Cs Equivalent series capacitance
Dissipation factor
= 1/D
Rs Equivalent series resistance
Rp Equivalent parallel resistance
Accuracy: Refer to Table 1.
Accuracy is represented as:
C ±(% of reading)
D, G and Rs: ±(Error value)
α = (Cf/Cx)(1/Vs)
where, Cx is measured C value, Cf is nominal capacitance range
and Vs is test signal level setting (V rms). α = (1/Vs) in case
of Cf < Cx.
[Calculation example for α]: When Cf = 10 pF, Cx = 7.3 pF and
Vs = 0.8 V, α = (10/7.3)(1/0.8) = 1.7
Q accuracy:
Qx2 x De
1 (Qx x De)
Parameter combinations:
Cp-D, Cp-Q, Cp-G, Cp-Rp,
Cs-D, Cs-Q, Cs-Rs
Cs, Cp (1 kHz)
(1 MHz)
Rs, Rp
Display range
0.00001 pF to 20.0000 µF
0.00001 pF to 1.50000 nF
0.00001 to 9.99999
0.1 to 99999.9
0.01 mΩ to 999.999 MΩ
0.00001 µS to 9.99999 kS
-999.999% to +999.999%
Q displays 1/D. Capacitance range applies when D ≤ 0.5.
Rs, Rp and G ranges vary depending on capacitance reading:
Effective ranges are Rs ≤ 0.5/(ωCs),Rp ≥ 2/(ωCp),G ≤ 0.5ωCp
(Where, Qx x De < 1)
Where, Qx: measured Q value
De: D accuracy
Rp accuracy:
Rpx2 x Ge
1 (Rpx x Ge)
Measurement functions
(Where, Rpx x Ge < 1)
Where, Rpx: measured Rp value (Ω)
Ge: G accuracy (S)
Measurement accuracy is guaranteed at the unknown terminals
when all the measurement conditions listed below are satisfied:
1. Warm-up time: ≥ 10 min.
2. Ambient temperature: 23 °C ±5 °C
3. Cable length: 0 m, 1 m or 2 m (16048A/B/D)
4. Open compensation performed
5. Measured D value: Dx ≤ 0.1
In case of 0.1 < Dx ≤ 0.5, multiply (1 + Dx2) for Cs, Cp, G and
Rs accuracy and (1 + Dx) for D accuracy.
Accuracy for 0 °C to 45 °C (SPC): multiply the accuracy by the
following multipliers.
Temperature (°C)
Multiplier at 1 kHz
Multiplier at 1 MHz
28 38 45
x2 x3
Test frequency (frequency accuracy):
1 kHz (±0.01%), 1 MHz (±0.01%)
Frequency shift: 1 MHz can be varied to 990 kHz, 1.01 MHz or
1.02 MHz.
Test signal level: 0.1 V to 1.0 V rms in 0.1 V rms steps.
Test signal level accuracy: ±5% @ all C ranges
Source impedance (nominal):
220 nF to 10 µF ranges @ 1 kHz: 1 Ω
100 pF to 100 nF ranges @ 1 kHz: 20 Ω
1 pF to 1 nF ranges @ 1 MHz: 20 Ω
Measurement terminals: Four-terminal pair
Ranging: Auto and manual
Display digits: Selectable from 4, 5 and 6 digits
Deviation measurement: Deviation and percent deviation
from a reference
Measurement time mode: Short and long
Averaging: 1 to 256
Trigger mode: Internal, external, manual and GPIB
Delay time: Programmable delay from the trigger to the
measurement start;
0 to 1000 ms in 1 ms steps
Cable length: 0 m, 1 m and 2 m
Save/Recall: 10 instrument setups can be stored into and recalled
from the internal non-volatile memory.
Measurement time
The measurement time in each measurement mode is shown
below (units in ms).
Meas time (T3)
6.5 ±0.5
16.5 ±1
1. T1 is the time in which the device must be connected
and represents the time between the trigger and the
index signal output on the handler interface.
2. T2 is the time in which the digital calculation and
comparison are made.
3. Measurement time T3 (= T1+T2) is the time between
the trigger and the end of measurement (EOM) signal
output on the handler interface.
4. Measurement range control: manual, Display: off,
Average: 1, Delay: 0 ms, Offset: off, Test level monitor: off,
Bin count: off
5. At display on, the measurement can be started when
approximately 4 ms of display data processing time
has elapsed after the previous EOM signal is output.
Other functions
Key lock: Front panel keys can be locked to prevent undesired
GPIB: Complies with IEEE-488.1 and 488.2. The programming
language is SCPI.
Data buffer: A maximum of 1000 sets of measured values and
comparator decision results can be stored and output.
Handler interface: All input/output are negative true logic and
optically-isolated open collector signals.
Output signal: Bin 1 to 9, out of bins, aux bin, P-Hi, P-Lo,
S-reject, Low C, index, EOM, Ready for Trigger, Overload
and Alarm.
Input signal: External trigger and keylock
Scanner interface: Open/short/load compensation for a
maximum of 64 channels
Output signal: Index and EOM
Input signal: CH0 to CH5 (channel identification signals),
external trigger and CH VALID.
Display: Measured values, measurement conditions, limit
values, comparator decision results, error messages and self-test
messages are displayed.
Power requirement: 90 V to 132 V, 198V to 264V ac, 47 Hz to
66 Hz, 35 W/100 VA max.
Test signal level monitor: Test signal voltage applied to the device
is monitored and displayed.
Operating temperature/humidity: 0 °C to 45 °C, 15% to 95% RH @
≤ 40 °C and no condensation.
Compensation (error correction):
Open/short compensation: Eliminates measurement errors
due to stray admittance and residual impedance of the test
fixture. Correction ranges are:
Stray C and residual L: No limits
Residual G: ≤ 20 µS
Residual R: ≤ 20 Ω
Load compensation: Measured values are corrected in
reference to a capacitor whose values are known.
Compensation is valid at a selected frequency only.
Offset compensation: Subtracts desired compensation values
from measured values.
Dimensions: 320 (W) mm x 100 mm (H) x 300 mm (D)
(12.6 inches x 3.9 inches x 11.8 inches)
Circuit protection: Protects measurement circuit against a
harmful discharge when a charged capacitor is connected to
the measurement terminals.
Maximum withstanding discharge voltage (typical):
√2/C (V) and ≤ 1000 V. C is the capacitance value of
measured device.
Comparator: 9 bins and out of bins for C. Pass/fail decision for D,
Q, G, Rs and Rp.
AUX, P-Hi, P-Lo, S-Reject and Low C Reject
Limit setting: Absolute value, deviation and % deviation
Bin count: 0 to 999999
Resume function: Measurement setup status is saved in memory
while the instrument is turned off, and is automatically recalled
when the instrument is turned on.
Memory period (typical): 72 hours @ 23 °C ±5 °C
Weight: Approximately 3 kg (6.6 lbs)
Supplemental data
Supplemental data is not guaranteed.
Test signal level monitor:
Voltage resolution: 1 mV rms
Voltage monitor accuracy: ±(3% of reading + 1 mV)
Measurement stability:
At constant temperature and long mode
C: ≤ 0.005%/24 hours
D: ≤ 0.00005/24 hours
Temperature coefficient:
C: ≤ 0.001%/°C
D: ≤ 0.00001/°C
Settling time (when the setting is changed):
Frequency: 10 ms
Test signal level: 10 ms
16034G test fixture
16048A/B/D test leads
Test fixture for SMD components
Four-terminal pair test leads
The connectors on the instrument side are BNC.
Connectors on the other side correspond to in the table below.
Cable length
94 cm
94 cm
189 cm
2-terminal configuration, DC to 110 MHz
Component dimensions (L x W):
0.6 x 0.3 mm to 5.0 x 1.6 mm (0.024 x 0.012 inches to
0.2 x 0.063 inches)
A chip component test fixture with 2-terminal configuration.
This fixture can handle SMDs as small as 0.6 mm x 0.3 mm
(0.024 inches x 0.012 inches)
16034H test fixture
16044A test fixture
Test fixture for array-type SMD components
Test fixture for SMD components
4-terminal configuration, DC to 10 MHz
Component dimensions (L x W):
1.6 x 0.8 mm to 8.0 x 8.0 mm (0.063 x 0.032 inches to
0.32 x 0.32 inches)
A chip component test fixture with 4-terminal configuration is
well-suited for measurement of low impedance devices such as
high-value capacitors.
2-terminal configuration, DC to 110 MHz
Component dimensions (L x W):
1.6 x 0.8 mm to 15.0 x 5.0 mm (0.063 x 0.032 inches to
0.59 x 0.2 inches)
A test fixture for array-type chip components. Contact electrodes
can reach any electrode pairs on an array component by manually
shifting the position of the component.
16334A test fixture
Ordering Information
Agilent 4288A 1 kHz/1 MHz
capacitance meter
Furnished accessory
Power cable
(Test fixtures are not furnished as standard.)
Manual options1
4288A-ABA U.S. - English localization
4288A-ABJ Japan - Japanese localization
4288A-0BW - add service documentation, assembly level
Tweezer-type test fixture for SMD components
Cabinet options
2-terminal configuration, DC to 15 MHz
Component dimensions: L < 10 mm, (< 0.39 inches)
4288A-1CM Rackmount kit
4288A-1CN Front handle kit
(Rack flange handle kit is not compatible.)
Setting the interface operating voltage
Removing the small panel pictured allows access to the switch
for setting handler and scanner interfaces operating voltages.
Calibration certificate options
4288A-1A7 ISO 17025 compliant calibration
Test fixtures and test leads
Voltage setting switch
1. Manual is not furnished as standard.
2. Must specify one of language options (ABA or ABJ) for operation
manual for shipment with product.
16034E test fixture (For SMD component, 2-terminal)
16034G test fixture
(For small SMD component, 2-terminal)
16034H test fixture
(For array-type SMD component, 2-terminal)
16043B2 test fixture
(For SMD component, 3-terminal w/o slide function)
16043B-ABJ Japan - Japanese localization
16043B-ABA U.S. - English localization
16044A2 test fixture
16044A-ABJ Japan - Japanese localization
16044A-ABA U.S. - English localization
16047E2 test fixture (For axial lead component)
16047E-ABJ Japan - Japanese localization
16047E-ABA U.S. - English localization
16065A external DC bias fixture (up to 200 V dc)
16065C external DC bias fixture (up to 40 V dc)
16089A Kelvin clip lead (2 large clips, 1 m)
16089B Kelvin clip lead (2 medium clips, 1 m)
16089C Kelvin clip lead (2 IC clips, 1 m)
16089D alligator clip lead (4 clips, 1 m)
16089E Kelvin clip lead (2 large clips, 1 m)
16334A test fixture (For SMD component, tweezer-type)
16048A test lead (0.94 m, BNC connector)
16048B test lead (0.94 m, SMC connector)
16048D test lead (1.89 m, BNC connector)
Key Literature
Agilent 4288A Capacitance Meter,
Data Sheet, publication number
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Product specifications and descriptions in this document
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© Agilent Technologies, Inc. 2000, 2003, 2004
Printed in USA, April 2, 2004
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