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MicrowaveMeasurements

MicrowaveMeasurements

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Sections

  • 2.3 Generalisedscatteringparameters
  • 2.4.1 Examples of S-parameter matrices
  • 2.5 Cascadeparameters
  • 2.6 Renormalisationof S-parameters
  • 2.7 De-embeddingof S-parameters
  • 2.8 Characteristicimpedance
  • 2.8.1 Characteristic impedance in real transmission lines
  • 2.8.2 Characteristic impedance in non-TEM waveguides
  • 2.8.3 Measurement of Z0
  • 2.9 Signal flowgraphs
  • 2.A Reciprocity
  • 2.B Losslessness
  • 2.C Two-port transforms
  • Further reading
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2.1 RF mismatch errors and uncertainty
  • 3.2.2 Directivity
  • 3.2.3 Test port match
  • 3.2.4 RF connector repeatability
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.1.1 Coaxial line sizes
  • 4.2 Connector repeatability
  • 4.2.1 Handling of airlines
  • 4.2.2 Assessment of connector repeatability
  • 4.3 Coaxial connector specifications
  • 4.4.1 Gauging connectors
  • 4.5 Connector cleaning
  • 4.5.1 Cleaning procedure
  • 4.5.2 Cleaning connectors on static sensitive devices
  • 4.6 Connector life
  • 4.7 Adaptors
  • 4.8 Connector recession
  • 4.9 Conclusions
  • 4.A Appendix A
  • 4.B Appendix B
  • 4.C Appendix C
  • 4.D Appendix D
  • 4.E Appendix E
  • Attenuationmeasurement
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Basicprinciples
  • 5.3 Measurement systems
  • 5.3.1 Power ratio method
  • 5.3.2 Voltage ratio method
  • 5.3.3 The inductive voltage divider
  • 5.3.4 AF substitution method
  • 5.3.5 IF substitution method
  • 5.3.6 RF substitution method
  • 5.3.7 The automatic network analyser
  • 5.4.1 Mismatch uncertainty
  • 5.4.2 RF leakage
  • 5.4.3 Detector linearity
  • 5.4.4 Detector linearity measurement uncertainty budget
  • 5.4.5 System resolution
  • 5.4.6 System noise
  • 5.4.7 Stability and drift
  • 5.4.8 Repeatability
  • 5.4.9 Calibration standard
  • 5.5.1 Contributions to measurement uncertainty
  • References
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 RF voltagemeasuringinstruments
  • 6.2.1 Wideband AC voltmeters
  • 6.2.2 Fast sampling and digitising DMMs
  • 6.2.3 RF millivoltmeters
  • 6.2.4 Sampling RF voltmeters
  • 6.2.5 Oscilloscopes
  • 6.2.6 Switched input impedance oscilloscopes
  • 6.2.7 Instrument input impedance effects
  • 6.2.8 Source loading and bandwidth
  • 6.3 AC andRF/microwavetraceability
  • 6.3.1 Thermal converters and micropotentiometers
  • 6.4.1 Uncertainty analysis considerations
  • 6.4.2 Example: Oscilloscope bandwidth test
  • 6.4.3 Harmonic content errors
  • 6.4.4 Example: Oscilloscope calibrator calibration
  • 6.4.5 RF millivoltmeter calibration
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Coaxial lines
  • 7.3 Rectangular waveguides
  • 7.4 Ridgedwaveguide
  • 7.5 Microstrip
  • 7.6 Slot guide
  • 7.7 Coplanar waveguide
  • 7.8 Finline
  • 7.9 Dielectricwaveguide
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Typesof noise
  • 8.2.1 Thermal noise
  • 8.2.2 Shot noise
  • 8.2.3 Flicker noise
  • 8.3 Definitions
  • 8.4.1 Thermal noise sources
  • 8.4.2 The temperature-limited diode
  • 8.4.3 Gas discharge tubes
  • 8.4.4 Avalanche diode noise sources
  • 8.5 Measuringnoise
  • 8.5.1 The total power radiometer
  • 8.5.2 Radiometer sensitivity
  • 8.6 Measurement accuracy
  • 8.6.1 Cascaded receivers
  • 8.6.2 Noise from passive two-ports
  • 8.7 Mismatcheffects
  • 8.7.1 Measurement of receivers and amplifiers
  • 8.8 Automatednoisemeasurements
  • 8.8.1 Noise figure meters or analysers
  • 8.8.2 On-wafer measurements
  • 8.9 Conclusion
  • Acknowledgements
  • 9.1 Introduction
  • 9.2 Historical perspective
  • 9.2.1 Coaxial connectors
  • 9.2.2 Coaxial air lines
  • 9.2.3 RF impedance
  • 9.3 Connectors
  • 9.3.1 Types of coaxial connector
  • 9.3.2 Mechanical characteristics
  • 9.3.3 Electrical characteristics
  • 9.4 Air lines
  • 9.4.1 Types of precision air line
  • 9.4.2 Air line standards
  • 9.4.3 Conductor imperfections
  • 9.5 RF impedance
  • 9.5.1 Air lines
  • 9.5.2 Terminations
  • 9.6 Futuredevelopments
  • Appendix: 7/16connectors
  • Microwavenetwork analysers
  • 10.1 Introduction
  • 10.2 Referenceplane
  • 10.2.1 Elements of a microwave network analyser
  • 10.3 Network analyser block diagram
  • RFIC andMMIC measurement techniques
  • 11.1 Introduction
  • 11.2 Test fixturemeasurements
  • 11.2.1 Two-tier calibration
  • 11.2.2 One-tier calibration
  • 11.2.3 Test fixture design considerations
  • 11.3 Probestationmeasurements
  • 11.3.1 Passive microwave probe design
  • 11.3.2 Probe calibration
  • 11.3.3 Measurement errors
  • 11.3.4 DC biasing
  • 11.3.5 MMIC layout considerations
  • 11.3.6 Low-cost multiple DC biasing technique
  • 11.3.7 Upper-millimetre-wave measurements
  • 11.4 Thermal andcryogenicmeasurements
  • 11.4.1 Thermal measurements
  • 11.4.2 Cryogenic measurements
  • 11.5 Experimental fieldprobingtechniques
  • 11.5.1 Electromagnetic-field probing
  • 11.5.2 Magnetic-field probing
  • 11.5.3 Electric-field probing
  • 11.6 Summary
  • 12.1 Introduction
  • 12.2 Definitionof calibration
  • 12.3 Scalar network analysers
  • 12.4 Vector network analyser
  • 12.5 Calibrationof ascalar network analyser
  • 12.5.1 Transmission measurements
  • 12.5.2 Reflection measurements
  • 12.7 Calibrationof avector network analyser
  • 12.8 Accuracyenhancement
  • 12.8.1 What causes measurement errors?
  • 12.8.2 Directivity
  • 12.8.3 Source match
  • 12.8.4 Load match
  • 12.8.5 Isolation (crosstalk)
  • 12.8.6 Frequency response (tracking)
  • 12.9 Characterisingmicrowavesystematicerrors
  • 12.9.1 One-port error model
  • 12.10 One-port devicemeasurement
  • 12.11 Two-port error model
  • 12.12 TRL calibration
  • 12.12.1 TRL terminology
  • 12.12.2 True TRL/LRL
  • 12.12.3 The TRL calibration procedure
  • 12.13 Data-basedcalibrations
  • 13.1 Introduction
  • 13.2 Definitionof verification
  • 13.3 Typesof verification
  • 13.3.1 Verification of error terms
  • 13.3.2 Verification of measurements
  • 13.4 Calibrationscheme
  • 13.5 Error termverification
  • 13.5.1 Effective directivity
  • 13.5.2 Effective source match
  • 13.5.3 Effective load match
  • 13.5.4 Effective isolation
  • 13.5.5 Transmission and reflection tracking
  • 13.5.6 Effective linearity
  • 13.6 Verificationof measurements
  • 13.6.1 Customised verification example
  • 13.6.2 Manufacturer supplied verification example
  • 14.1 Introduction
  • 14.1.1 Physical background of differential structures
  • 14.2 Characterisationof balancedstructures
  • 14.2.2 Characterisation using physical transformers
  • 14.2.3 Modal decomposition method
  • 14.2.4 Mixed-mode-S-parameter-matrix
  • 14.2.5 Characterisation of single-ended to balanced devices
  • 14.2.6 Typical measurements
  • 14.3 Measurement examples
  • 14.3.1 Example 1: Differential through connection
  • 14.3.2 Example 2: SAW-filter measurement
  • 14.4 (De)Embeddingfor balanceddevicecharacterisation
  • Further Reading
  • RF power measurement
  • 15.1 Introduction
  • 15.2 Theory
  • 15.2.1 Basic theory
  • 15.2.2 Mismatch uncertainty
  • 15.3 Power sensors
  • 15.3.2 Diode sensors
  • 15.3.3 Thermistors and other bolometers
  • 15.3.4 Calorimeters
  • 15.3.5 Force and field based sensors
  • 15.3.6 Acoustic meter
  • 15.4 Power measurementsandcalibration
  • 15.4.1 Direct power measurement
  • 15.4.2 Uncertainty budgets
  • 15.5 Calibrationandtransfer standards
  • 15.5.1 Ratio measurements
  • 15.6 Power splitters
  • 15.6.1 Typical power splitter properties
  • 15.6.2 Measurement of splitter output match
  • 15.6.3 The direct method of measuring splitter output
  • 15.7 Couplersandreflectometers
  • 15.7.1 Reflectometers
  • 15.8 Pulsedpower
  • 15.9 Conclusion
  • 15.10 Acknowledgements
  • 16.1 Part 1: Introduction
  • 16.1.1 Signal analysis using a spectrum analyser
  • 16.1.2 Measurement domains
  • 16.1.3 The oscilloscope display
  • 16.1.4 The spectrum analyser display
  • 16.1.5 Analysing an amplitude-modulated signal
  • 16.2 Part 2: Howthespectrumanalyser works
  • 16.2.1 Basic spectrum analyser block diagram
  • 16.2.2 Microwave spectrum analyser with harmonic mixer
  • 16.2.3 The problem of multiple responses
  • 16.2.5 Effect of the preselector
  • 16.2.6 Microwave spectrum analyser block diagram
  • 16.2.7 Spectrum analyser with tracking generator
  • 16.3 Part 3: Spectrumanalyser important specificationpoints
  • Figure16.15 Input attenuator and IF gain controls
  • 16.3.1 The input attenuator and IF gain controls
  • 16.3.2 Sweep speed control
  • 16.3.3 Resolution bandwidth
  • 16.3.4 Shape factor of the resolution filter
  • 16.3.5 Video bandwidth controls
  • 16.3.6 Measuring low-level signals – noise
  • 16.3.7 Dynamic range
  • 16.3.8 Amplitude accuracy
  • 16.3.9 Effect of input VSWR
  • 16.3.10 Sideband noise characteristics
  • 16.3.11 Residual responses
  • 16.3.12 Residual FM
  • 16.3.13 Uncertainty contributions
  • 16.3.14 Display detection mode
  • 16.4 Spectrumanalyser applications
  • 16.4.1 Measurement of harmonic distortion
  • 16.4.2 Example of a tracking generator measurement
  • 16.4.3 Zero span
  • 16.4.4 The use of zero span
  • 16.4.5 Meter Mode
  • 16.4.6 Intermodulation measurement
  • 16.4.7 Intermodulation analysis
  • 16.4.8 Intermodulation intercept point
  • 16.4.10 Amplitude modulation
  • 16.4.11 AM spectrum with modulation distortion
  • 16.4.12 Frequency modulation
  • 16.4.13 FM measurement using the Bessel zero method
  • 16.4.14 FM demodulation
  • 16.4.15 FM demodulation display
  • 16.4.16 Modulation asymmetry – combined AM and FM
  • 16.4.17 Spectrum of a square wave
  • 16.4.18 Pulse modulation
  • 16.4.19 Varying the pulse modulation conditions
  • 16.4.20 ‘Line’ and ‘Pulse’ modes
  • 16.4.22 EMC measurements
  • 16.4.23 Overloading a spectrum analyser
  • 16.5 Conclusion
  • 17.1 Measuringphasenoise
  • 17.2 Spectrumanalysers
  • 17.3 Useof preselectingfilter withspectrumanalysers
  • 17.4 Delaylinediscriminator
  • 17.5 Quadraturetechnique
  • 17.6 FM discriminator method
  • 17.7 Measurement uncertaintyissues
  • 17.8 Futuremethodof measurements
  • 17.9 Summary
  • 18.1 Introduction
  • 18.3 Basicdielectricmeasurement theory
  • 18.3.1 Lumped-impedance methods
  • 18.3.2 Wave methods
  • 18.3.3 Resonators, cavities and standing-wave methods
  • 18.3.4 The frequency coverage of measurement techniques
  • 18.4 Lossprocesses: conduction,dielectricrelaxation,resonances
  • 18.5 International standardmeasurement methodsfor dielectrics
  • 18.7.1 Electronic instrumentation: sources and detectors
  • 18.7.2 Measurement cells
  • 18.7.3 Q-factor and its measurement
  • 18.9 A surveyof measurement methods
  • 18.9.2 Resonant admittance cells and their derivatives
  • 18.9.3 TE01-mode cavities
  • 18.9.4 Split-post dielectric resonators
  • 18.9.5 Substrate methods, including ring resonators
  • 18.9.6 Coaxial and waveguide transmission lines
  • 18.9.8 Dielectric resonators
  • 18.9.9 Free-field methods
  • 18.9.10 The resonator perturbation technique
  • 18.9.11 Open-resonators
  • 18.9.12 Time domain techniques
  • 18.11 Further information
  • 19.1 Introduction
  • 19.2 Traceabilityof E-fieldstrength
  • 19.2.1 High feed impedance half wave dipole
  • 19.2.2 Three-antenna method
  • 19.3 Antennafactors
  • 19.3.1 Measurement of free-space AFs
  • 19.3.2 The calculable dipole antenna
  • 19.3.5 Calibration of hybrid antennas
  • 19.3.6 Calibration of rod antennas
  • 19.3.7 Calibration of loop antennas
  • 19.3.8 Other antenna characteristics

IET ELECTRICAL MEASUREMENT SERIES 12

Microwave
Measurements
3rd Edition
Other volumes in this series:
Volume 4 The current comparator W.J.M. Moore and P.N. Miljanic
Volume 5 Principles of microwave measurements G.H. Bryant
Volume 7 Radio frequency and microwave power measurement A.E. Fantom
Volume 8 A handbook for EMC testing and measurement D. Morgan
Volume 9 Microwave circuit theory and foundations of microwave metrology G. Engen
Volume 11 Digital and analogue instrumentation: testing and measurement N. Kularatna
Microwave
Measurements
3rd Edition
Edited by R.J. Collier and A.D. Skinner
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Published by The Institution of Engineering and Technology, London, United Kingdom
© 1985, 1989 Peter Peregrinus Ltd
© 2007 The Institution of Engineering and Technology
First published 1985 (0 86341 048 0)
Second edition 1989 (0 86341 184 3)
Third edition 2007 (978 0 86341 735 1)
This publication is copyright under the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright
Convention. All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research
or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any
form or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in
the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms of licences issued
by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside those
terms should be sent to the publishers at the undermentioned address:
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Michael Faraday House
Six Hills Way, Stevenage
Herts, SG1 2AY, United Kingdom
www.theiet.org
While the authors and the publishers believe that the information and guidance given in
this work are correct, all parties must rely upon their own skill and judgement when
making use of them. Neither the authors nor the publishers assume any liability to
anyone for any loss or damage caused by any error or omission in the work, whether
such error or omission is the result of negligence or any other cause. Any and all such
liability is disclaimed.
The moral rights of the author to be identified as author of this work have been
asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Microwave measurements. – 3rd ed.
1. Microwave measurements
I. Collier, Richard II. Skinner, Douglas III. Institution of Engineering and Technology
621.3’813
ISBN 978-0-86341-735-1
Typeset in India by Newgen Imaging Systems (P) Ltd, Chennai
Printed in the UK by Athenaeum Press Ltd, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
Contents
List of contributors xvii
Preface xix
1 Transmission lines – basic principles 1
R. J. Collier
1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Lossless two-conductor transmission lines – equivalent circuit
and velocity of propagation 1
1.2.1 Characteristic impedance 4
1.2.2 Reflection coefficient 5
1.2.3 Phase velocity and phase constant for sinusoidal
waves 5
1.2.4 Power flow for sinusoidal waves 6
1.2.5 Standing waves resulting from sinusoidal waves 7
1.3 Two-conductor transmission lines with losses – equivalent
circuit and low-loss approximation 8
1.3.1 Pulses on transmission lines with losses 9
1.3.2 Sinusoidal waves on transmission lines with losses 10
1.4 Lossless waveguides 10
1.4.1 Plane (or transverse) electromagnetic waves 10
1.4.2 Rectangular metallic waveguides 12
1.4.3 The cut-off condition 14
1.4.4 The phase velocity 15
1.4.5 The wave impedance 15
1.4.6 The group velocity 16
1.4.7 General solution 16
Further reading 17
2 Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 19
P. R. Young
2.1 Introduction 19
2.2 One-port devices 19
vi Contents
2.3 Generalised scattering parameters 22
2.4 Impedance and admittance parameters 24
2.4.1 Examples of S-parameter matrices 27
2.5 Cascade parameters 27
2.6 Renormalisation of S-parameters 28
2.7 De-embedding of S-parameters 29
2.8 Characteristic impedance 30
2.8.1 Characteristic impedance in real transmission lines 30
2.8.2 Characteristic impedance in non-TEM waveguides 33
2.8.3 Measurement of Z
0
35
2.9 Signal flow graphs 36
Appendices 37
2.A Reciprocity 37
2.B Losslessness 39
2.C Two-port transforms 40
References 41
Further reading 41
3 Uncertainty and confidence in measurements 43
John Hurll
3.1 Introduction 43
3.2 Sources of uncertainty in RF and microwave measurements 52
3.2.1 RF mismatch errors and uncertainty 52
3.2.2 Directivity 54
3.2.3 Test port match 54
3.2.4 RF connector repeatability 54
3.2.5 Example – calibration of a coaxial power sensor at a
frequency
of 18 GHz 54
References 56
4 Using coaxial connectors in measurement 59
Doug Skinner
4.1 Introduction 59
4.1.1 Coaxial line sizes 60
4.2 Connector repeatability 61
4.2.1 Handling of airlines 61
4.2.2 Assessment of connector repeatability 61
4.3 Coaxial connector specifications 62
4.4 Interface dimensions and gauging 62
4.4.1 Gauging connectors 62
4.5 Connector cleaning 63
4.5.1 Cleaning procedure 64
4.5.2 Cleaning connectors on static sensitive devices 64
4.6 Connector life 65
Contents vii
4.7 Adaptors 65
4.8 Connector recession 65
4.9 Conclusions 66
4.A Appendix A 66
4.B Appendix B 66
4.C Appendix C 85
4.D Appendix D 86
4.E Appendix E 87
Further reading 88
5 Attenuation measurement 91
Alan Coster
5.1 Introduction 91
5.2 Basic principles 91
5.3 Measurement systems 93
5.3.1 Power ratio method 94
5.3.2 Voltage ratio method 97
5.3.3 The inductive voltage divider 98
5.3.4 AF substitution method 104
5.3.5 IF substitution method 105
5.3.6 RF substitution method 107
5.3.7 The automatic network analyser 108
5.4 Important considerations when making attenuation
measurements 110
5.4.1 Mismatch uncertainty 110
5.4.2 RF leakage 112
5.4.3 Detector linearity 112
5.4.4 Detector linearity measurement uncertainty budget 114
5.4.5 System resolution 115
5.4.6 System noise 115
5.4.7 Stability and drift 115
5.4.8 Repeatability 115
5.4.9 Calibration standard 116
5.5 A worked example of a 30 dB attenuation
measurement 116
5.5.1 Contributions to measurement uncertainty 117
References 119
Further reading 120
6 RF voltage measurement 121
Paul C. A. Roberts
6.1 Introduction 121
6.2 RF voltage measuring instruments 122
6.2.1 Wideband AC voltmeters 122
6.2.2 Fast sampling and digitising DMMs 124
viii Contents
6.2.3 RF millivoltmeters 125
6.2.4 Sampling RF voltmeters 126
6.2.5 Oscilloscopes 127
6.2.6 Switched input impedance oscilloscopes 129
6.2.7 Instrument input impedance effects 130
6.2.8 Source loading and bandwidth 132
6.3 AC and RF/microwave traceability 133
6.3.1 Thermal converters and micropotentiometers 133
6.4 Impedance matching and mismatch errors 135
6.4.1 Uncertainty analysis considerations 136
6.4.2 Example: Oscilloscope bandwidth test 137
6.4.3 Harmonic content errors 137
6.4.4 Example: Oscilloscope calibrator calibration 138
6.4.5 RF millivoltmeter calibration 140
Further reading 143
7 Structures and properties of transmission lines 147
R. J. Collier
7.1 Introduction 147
7.2 Coaxial lines 148
7.3 Rectangular waveguides 150
7.4 Ridged waveguide 150
7.5 Microstrip 151
7.6 Slot guide 152
7.7 Coplanar waveguide 153
7.8 Finline 154
7.9 Dielectric waveguide 154
References 155
Further reading 156
8 Noise measurements 157
David Adamson
8.1 Introduction 157
8.2 Types of noise 158
8.2.1 Thermal noise 158
8.2.2 Shot noise 159
8.2.3 Flicker noise 159
8.3 Definitions 160
8.4 Types of noise source 162
8.4.1 Thermal noise sources 162
8.4.2 The temperature-limited diode 163
8.4.3 Gas discharge tubes 163
8.4.4 Avalanche diode noise sources 163
Contents ix
8.5 Measuring noise 164
8.5.1 The total power radiometer 164
8.5.2 Radiometer sensitivity 166
8.6 Measurement accuracy 166
8.6.1 Cascaded receivers 169
8.6.2 Noise from passive two-ports 169
8.7 Mismatch effects 171
8.7.1 Measurement of receivers and amplifiers 172
8.8 Automated noise measurements 174
8.8.1 Noise figure meters or analysers 175
8.8.2 On-wafer measurements 175
8.9 Conclusion 176
Acknowledgements 176
References 176
9 Connectors, air lines and RF impedance 179
N. M. Ridler
9.1 Introduction 179
9.2 Historical perspective 180
9.2.1 Coaxial connectors 180
9.2.2 Coaxial air lines 181
9.2.3 RF impedance 181
9.3 Connectors 182
9.3.1 Types of coaxial connector 182
9.3.2 Mechanical characteristics 185
9.3.3 Electrical characteristics 187
9.4 Air lines 188
9.4.1 Types of precision air line 189
9.4.2 Air line standards 190
9.4.3 Conductor imperfections 192
9.5 RF impedance 193
9.5.1 Air lines 194
9.5.2 Terminations 198
9.6 Future developments 200
Appendix: 7/16 connectors 201
References 203
10 Microwave network analysers 207
Roger D. Pollard
10.1 Introduction 207
10.2 Reference plane 208
10.2.1 Elements of a microwave network analyser 208
10.3 Network analyser block diagram 214
Further reading 216
x Contents
11 RFIC and MMIC measurement techniques 217
Stepan Lucyszyn
11.1 Introduction 217
11.2 Test fixture measurements 218
11.2.1 Two-tier calibration 220
11.2.2 One-tier calibration 229
11.2.3 Test fixture design considerations 230
11.3 Probe station measurements 230
11.3.1 Passive microwave probe design 231
11.3.2 Probe calibration 236
11.3.3 Measurement errors 240
11.3.4 DC biasing 240
11.3.5 MMIC layout considerations 241
11.3.6 Low-cost multiple DC biasing technique 243
11.3.7 Upper-millimetre-wave measurements 243
11.4 Thermal and cryogenic measurements 246
11.4.1 Thermal measurements 246
11.4.2 Cryogenic measurements 247
11.5 Experimental field probing techniques 249
11.5.1 Electromagnetic-field probing 249
11.5.2 Magnetic-field probing 250
11.5.3 Electric-field probing 251
11.6 Summary 254
References 255
12 Calibration of automatic network analysers 263
Ian Instone
12.1 Introduction 263
12.2 Definition of calibration 263
12.3 Scalar network analysers 263
12.4 Vector network analyser 266
12.5 Calibration of a scalar network analyser 267
12.5.1 Transmission measurements 267
12.5.2 Reflection measurements 267
12.6 Problems associated with scalar network analyser
measurements 269
12.7 Calibration of a vector network analyser 269
12.8 Accuracy enhancement 270
12.8.1 What causes measurement errors? 270
12.8.2 Directivity 270
12.8.3 Source match 271
12.8.4 Load match 272
12.8.5 Isolation (crosstalk) 273
12.8.6 Frequency response (tracking) 273
Contents xi
12.9 Characterising microwave systematic errors 273
12.9.1 One-port error model 273
12.10 One-port device measurement 276
12.11 Two-port error model 279
12.12 TRL calibration 284
12.12.1 TRL terminology 284
12.12.2 True TRL/LRL 286
12.12.3 The TRL calibration procedure 287
12.13 Data-based calibrations 289
References 289
13 Verification of automatic network analysers 291
Ian Instone
13.1 Introduction 291
13.2 Definition of verification 291
13.3 Types of verification 292
13.3.1 Verification of error terms 292
13.3.2 Verification of measurements 292
13.4 Calibration scheme 293
13.5 Error term verification 293
13.5.1 Effective directivity 293
13.5.2 Effective source match 296
13.5.3 Effective load match 299
13.5.4 Effective isolation 299
13.5.5 Transmission and reflection tracking 299
13.5.6 Effective linearity 300
13.6 Verification of measurements 301
13.6.1 Customised verification example 301
13.6.2 Manufacturer supplied verification example 302
References 304
14 Balanced device characterisation 305
Bernd A. Schincke
14.1 Introduction 305
14.1.1 Physical background of differential structures 306
14.2 Characterisation of balanced structures 309
14.2.1 Balanced device characterisation using network
analysis 310
14.2.2 Characterisation using physical transformers 310
14.2.3 Modal decomposition method 312
14.2.4 Mixed-mode-S-parameter-matrix 318
14.2.5 Characterisation of single-ended to balanced devices 319
14.2.6 Typical measurements 320
xii Contents
14.3 Measurement examples 321
14.3.1 Example 1: Differential through connection 321
14.3.2 Example 2: SAW-filter measurement 326
14.4 (De)Embedding for balanced device characterisation 326
Further reading 328
15 RF power measurement 329
James Miall
15.1 Introduction 329
15.2 Theory 329
15.2.1 Basic theory 329
15.2.2 Mismatch uncertainty 332
15.3 Power sensors 333
15.3.1 Thermocouples and other thermoelectric
sensors 333
15.3.2 Diode sensors 333
15.3.3 Thermistors and other bolometers 333
15.3.4 Calorimeters 334
15.3.5 Force and field based sensors 336
15.3.6 Acoustic meter 336
15.4 Power measurements and calibration 337
15.4.1 Direct power measurement 337
15.4.2 Uncertainty budgets 337
15.5 Calibration and transfer standards 338
15.5.1 Ratio measurements 338
15.6 Power splitters 339
15.6.1 Typical power splitter properties 340
15.6.2 Measurement of splitter output match 340
15.6.3 The direct method of measuring splitter output 341
15.7 Couplers and reflectometers 343
15.7.1 Reflectometers 343
15.8 Pulsed power 344
15.9 Conclusion 346
15.10 Acknowledgements 346
References 347
16 Spectrum analyser measurements and applications 349
Doug Skinner
16.1 Part 1: Introduction 349
16.1.1 Signal analysis using a spectrum analyser 349
16.1.2 Measurement domains 350
16.1.3 The oscilloscope display 350
16.1.4 The spectrum analyser display 351
16.1.5 Analysing an amplitude-modulated signal 351
Contents xiii
16.2 Part 2: How the spectrum analyser works 354
16.2.1 Basic spectrum analyser block diagram 354
16.2.2 Microwave spectrum analyser with harmonic mixer 354
16.2.3 The problem of multiple responses 355
16.2.4 Microwave spectrum analyser with a tracking
preselector 356
16.2.5 Effect of the preselector 356
16.2.6 Microwave spectrum analyser block diagram 356
16.2.7 Spectrum analyser with tracking generator 358
16.3 Part 3: Spectrum analyser important specification points 359
16.3.1 The input attenuator and IF gain controls 360
16.3.2 Sweep speed control 360
16.3.3 Resolution bandwidth 361
16.3.4 Shape factor of the resolution filter 362
16.3.5 Video bandwidth controls 365
16.3.6 Measuring low-level signals – noise 366
16.3.7 Dynamic range 366
16.3.8 Amplitude accuracy 372
16.3.9 Effect of input VSWR 372
16.3.10 Sideband noise characteristics 373
16.3.11 Residual responses 373
16.3.12 Residual FM 374
16.3.13 Uncertainty contributions 375
16.3.14 Display detection mode 376
16.4 Spectrum analyser applications 376
16.4.1 Measurement of harmonic distortion 378
16.4.2 Example of a tracking generator measurement 378
16.4.3 Zero span 378
16.4.4 The use of zero span 379
16.4.5 Meter Mode 379
16.4.6 Intermodulation measurement 380
16.4.7 Intermodulation analysis 381
16.4.8 Intermodulation intercept point 382
16.4.9 Nomograph to determine intermodulation products
using intercept point method 383
16.4.10 Amplitude modulation 383
16.4.11 AM spectrum with modulation distortion 384
16.4.12 Frequency modulation 384
16.4.13 FM measurement using the Bessel zero method 385
16.4.14 FM demodulation 386
16.4.15 FM demodulation display 387
16.4.16 Modulation asymmetry – combined AM and FM 387
16.4.17 Spectrum of a square wave 388
16.4.18 Pulse modulation 389
16.4.19 Varying the pulse modulation conditions 389
xiv Contents
16.4.20 ‘Line’ and ‘Pulse’ modes 391
16.4.21 Extending the range of microwave spectrum
analysers 392
16.4.22 EMC measurements 392
16.4.23 Overloading a spectrum analyser 392
16.5 Conclusion 393
Further reading 394
17 Measurement of frequency stability and
phase noise 395
David Owen
17.1 Measuring phase noise 396
17.2 Spectrum analysers 397
17.3 Use of preselecting filter with spectrum analysers 399
17.4 Delay line discriminator 400
17.5 Quadrature technique 401
17.6 FM discriminator method 404
17.7 Measurement uncertainty issues 405
17.8 Future method of measurements 406
17.9 Summary 406
18 Measurement of the dielectric properties of materials at
RF and microwave frequencies 409
Bob Clarke
18.1 Introduction 409
18.2 Dielectrics – basic parameters 410
18.3 Basic dielectric measurement theory 413
18.3.1 Lumped-impedance methods 414
18.3.2 Wave methods 414
18.3.3 Resonators, cavities and standing-wave methods 416
18.3.4 The frequency coverage of measurement techniques 417
18.4 Loss processes: conduction, dielectric relaxation, resonances 418
18.5 International standard measurement methods for dielectrics 422
18.6 Preliminary considerations for practical dielectric
measurements 422
18.6.1 Do we need to measure our dielectric materials at
all? 422
18.6.2 Matching the measurement method to the dielectric
material 423
18.7 Some common themes in dielectric measurement 425
18.7.1 Electronic instrumentation: sources and detectors 425
18.7.2 Measurement cells 426
18.7.3 Q-factor and its measurement 427
18.8 Good practices in RF and MW dielectric measurements 429
Contents xv
18.9 A survey of measurement methods 430
18.9.1 Admittance methods in general and two- and
three-terminal admittance cells 430
18.9.2 Resonant admittance cells and their derivatives 432
18.9.3 TE
01
-mode cavities 434
18.9.4 Split-post dielectric resonators 436
18.9.5 Substrate methods, including ring resonators 437
18.9.6 Coaxial and waveguide transmission lines 437
18.9.7 Coaxial probes, waveguide and other dielectric
probes 439
18.9.8 Dielectric resonators 442
18.9.9 Free-field methods 444
18.9.10 The resonator perturbation technique 446
18.9.11 Open-resonators 446
18.9.12 Time domain techniques 448
18.10 How should one choose the best measurement technique? 449
18.11 Further information 449
References 450
19 Calibration of ELF to UHF wire antennas, primarily
for EMC testing 459
M. J. Alexander
19.1 Introduction 459
19.2 Traceability of E-field strength 460
19.2.1 High feed impedance half wave dipole 460
19.2.2 Three-antenna method 461
19.2.3 Calculability of coupling between two resonant dipole
antennas 462
19.2.4 Calculable field in a transverse electromagnetic (TEM)
cell 462
19.2.5 Uncertainty budget for EMC-radiated E-field
emission 462
19.3 Antenna factors 464
19.3.1 Measurement of free-space AFs 466
19.3.2 The calculable dipole antenna 466
19.3.3 Calibration of biconical antennas in the frequency
range 20–300 MHz 466
19.3.4 Calibration of LPDA antennas in the frequency
range 200 MHz to 5 GHz 467
19.3.5 Calibration of hybrid antennas 467
19.3.6 Calibration of rod antennas 467
19.3.7 Calibration of loop antennas 468
19.3.8 Other antenna characteristics 468
xvi Contents
19.4 Electro-optic sensors and traceability of fields
in TEM cells 469
Acknowledgements 470
References 470
Index 473
Contributors
David Adamson
National Physical Laboratory
Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LW
david.adamson@npl.co.uk
Martin J. Alexander
National Physical Laboratory
Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LW
martin.alexander@npl.co.uk
Bob Clarke
National Physical Laboratory
Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LW
bob.clarke@npl.co.uk
Richard J. Collier
Corpus Christi College
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1RH
rjc48@cam.ac.uk
Alan Coster
Consultant
5 Fieldfare Avenue, Yateley
Hampshire, GU46 6PD
ajcoster@theiet.org
John Hurll
United Kingdom Accreditation Service
21–47 High Street, Feltham
Middlesex, TW13 4UN
john.hurll@ukas.com
Ian Instone
Agilent Technologies UK Ltd
Scotstoun Avenue, South Queensferry
West Lothian, EH30 9TG
ian_instone@agilent.com
Stepan Lucyszyn
Dept Electrical and Electronic
Engineering
Imperial College London
Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2AZ
s.lucyszyn@imperial.ac.uk
James Miall
National Physical Laboratory
Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LW
james.miall@npl.co.uk
David Owen
Business Development Manager
Pickering Interfaces
183A Poynters Road, Dunstable
Bedfordshire, LU5 4SH
david.owen@pickeringtest.com
xviii Contributors
Roger D. Pollard
School of Electronic and
Electrical Engineering
University of Leeds
Leeds, LS2 9JT
r.d.pollard@leeds.ac.uk
Nick M. Ridler
National Physical Laboratory
Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LW
nick.ridler@npl.co.uk
Paul C.A. Roberts
Fluke Precision Measurement Ltd
Hurricane Way
Norwich, NR6 6JB
paul.roberts@fluke.com
Bernd Schincke
Rohde and Schwarz Training Centre
Germany
bernd.schincke@rohde-schwarz.com
Doug Skinner
Metrology Consultant
doug.skinner@theiet.org
Paul R. Young
Department of Electronics
University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NT
P.R.Young@kent.ac.uk
Preface
This book contains most of the lecture notes used during the 14th IETTraining Course
on Microwave Measurements in May 2005 and is intended for use at the next course
in 2007. These courses began in 1970 at the University of Kent with the title ‘RF
Electrical Measurements’ and were held subsequently at the University of Surrey
(1973) and the University of Lancaster (1976 and 1979). In 1983 the course returned
to the University of Kent with the new title ‘Microwave Measurements’. In recent
years it has been held appropriately at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington,
where the National Microwave Measurement Facilities and Standards are housed. In
1985 and again in 1989, the late A.E. Bailey was the editor of a publication of these
notes in book form. This third edition has been jointly edited by myself and A.D.
Skinner and includes a large number of new authors since the last edition. Although
the book is primarily intended for the course, it has proved popular over the years to
anyone starting to measure microwaves.
The book begins with some revision chapters on transmission lines and scattering
parameters, and these topics are used in the later chapters. Although these topics were
included in most Physics and Electronics degree programmes in 1970, this is not the
case now. As a result the reader who is totally unfamiliar with electromagnetic waves
is advised to consult one of the many first-rate introductory books beforehand. The
uncertainty of measurement is introduced next and this is followed by the techniques
for the measurement of attenuation, voltage and noise. Many of these measurements
are made using a microwave network analyser, and this remarkable instrument is
discussed in the next few chapters. After this, the measurement of power, the use of
spectrum analysers and aspects of digital modulation and phase noise measurements
are covered in separate chapters. Finally, with the measurement of material properties,
and both antenna and free field measurements, the wide range of topics is completed.
A feature of the training course is that in addition to the lectures there are work-
shops and demonstrations using the excellent facilities available in the National
Physical Laboratory. The course is organised by a small committee of the IET, many
of whom are involved in both the lectures and the workshops. Without their hard
work, the course would not have survived the endless changes that have occurred
since 1970. Although the book is a good reference source for those starting in the
field of microwave measurements, the course is strongly recommended, as not only
xx Preface
will the lectures and workshops enliven the subject, but meeting others on the course
will also help in forming useful links for the future.
Finally, today microwaves are being used more extensively than ever before and
yet there is a serious shortage of microwave metrologists. This book, and the course
linked with it, are intended to help redress this imbalance.
R.J. Collier
Chairman – Organising Committee of the IET Training Course on
Microwave Measurements
Chapter 1
Tr ansmission lines – basic pr inciples
R. J. Col l i er
1.1 I ntr oduction
The ai m of thi s chapter i s to revi se the basi c pri nci pl es of transmi ssi on l i nes i n
preparati on f or many of the chapters that f ol l ow i n thi s book. Obvi ousl y one chapter
cannot cover such a wi de topi c i n any depth so at the end some textbooks are l i sted
that may prove usef ul f or those wi shi ng to go f urther i nto the subj ect.
Mi crowavemeasurementsi nvol vetransmi ssi on l i nesbecausemany of theci rcui ts
used arel arger than thewavel ength of thesi gnal sbei ng measured. I n such ci rcui ts, the
propagati on ti me f or the si gnal s i s not negl i gi bl e as i t i s at l ower f requenci es. There-
f ore, someknowl edgeof transmi ssi on l i nes i s essenti al bef oresensi bl emeasurements
can be made at mi crowave f requenci es.
For many of the transmi ssi on l i nes, such as coaxi al cabl e and twi sted pai r l i nes,
there are two separate conductors separated by an i nsul ati ng di el ectri c. These l i nes
can be descri bed by usi ng vol tages and currents i n an equi val ent ci rcui t. However,
another group of transmi ssi on l i nes, of ten cal l ed wavegui des, such asmetal l i c waveg-
ui de and opti cal f i bre have no equi val ent ci rcui t and these are descri bed i n terms of
thei r el ectri c and magneti c f i el ds. Thi s chapter wi l l descri be the two-conductor trans-
mi ssi on l i nes f i rst, f ol l owed by a descri pti on of wavegui des and wi l l end wi th some
general comments about attenuati on, di spersi on and power. A subsequent chapter
wi l l descri be the properti es of some transmi ssi on l i nes that are i n common use today.
1.2 L ossless two-conductor tr ansmission lines – equivalent
cir cuit and velocity of pr opagation
Al l two-conductor transmi ssi on l i nes can be descri bed by usi ng a di stri buted equi v-
al ent ci rcui t. To si mpl i f y the treatment, the l i nes wi th no l osses wi l l be consi dered
2 Mi crowave measurements
I − C∆x
∂V
∂t
V − L∆x
∂I
∂t
V
I
L∆x
∆x
Fi gure 1.1 The equi val ent ci rcui t of a shor t l ength of tr ansmi ssi on l i ne wi th no
l osses
f i rst. The l i nes have an i nductance per metre, L, because the current goi ng al ong one
conductor and returni ng al ong the other produces a magneti c f l ux l i nki ng the conduc-
tors. Normal l y at hi gh f requenci es, the ski n eff ect reduces the sel f -i nductance of the
conductors to zero so that onl y thi s ‘ l oop’ i nductance remai ns. The wi res wi l l al so
have a capaci tance per metre, C, because any charges on one conductor wi l l i nduce
equal and opposi te charges on the other. Thi s capaci tance between the conductors
i s the domi nant term and i s much l arger than any sel f -capaci tance. The equi val ent
ci rcui t of a short l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne i s shown i n Fi gure 1.1.
I f avol tage, V , i sappl i ed to thel ef t-hand si deof theequi val ent ci rcui t, thevol tage
at the ri ght-hand si de wi l l be reduced by the vol tage drop across the i nductance. I n
mathemati cal terms
V becomes V −Lx
∂I
∂t
i n a di stance x
Theref ore, the change V i n that di stance i s gi ven by
V = −Lx
∂I
∂t
Hence
V
x
= −L
∂I
∂t
and
Li m
V
x
=
∂V
∂x
= −L
∂I
∂t
x →0
Tr ansmi ssi on l i nes – basi c pr i nci pl es 3
I n a si mi l ar manner the current, I , enteri ng the ci rcui t on the l ef t-hand si de i s
reduced by the smal l current goi ng through the capaci tor. Agai n, i n mathemati cal
terms
I becomes I −Cx
∂V
∂t
i n a di stance x
Theref ore, the change I i n that di stance i s gi ven by
I = −Cx
∂V
∂t
Hence
I
x
= −C
∂V
∂t
and
Li m
I
x
=
∂I
∂x
= −C
∂V
∂t
x →0
The f ol l owi ng equati ons are cal l ed Tel egraphi sts’ equati ons.
∂V
∂x
= −L
∂I
∂t
∂I
∂x
= −C
∂V
∂t
(1.1)
Di ff erenti ati ng these equati ons wi th respect to both x and t gi ves

2
V
∂x
2
= −L

2
I
∂x∂t
;

2
I
∂x
2
= −C

2
V
∂x∂t

2
V
∂t ∂x
= −L

2
I
∂t
2
;

2
I
∂t ∂x
= −C

2
V
∂t
2
Gi ven that x and t are i ndependent vari abl es, the order of the di ff erenti ati on i s not
i mportant; thus, the equati ons can be ref ormed i nto wave equati ons.

2
V
∂x
2
= LC

2
V
∂t
2
;

2
I
∂x
2
= LC

2
I
∂t
2
(1.2)
The equati ons have general sol uti ons of the f orm of any f uncti on of the vari abl e
(t ∓x/v). So i f any si gnal , whi ch i s a f uncti on of ti me, i s i ntroduced at one end of
a l ossl ess transmi ssi on l i ne then at a di stance x down the l i ne, thi s f uncti on wi l l be
del ayed by x/v. I f the si gnal i s travel l i ng i n the opposi te di recti on then the del ay wi l l
be the same except that x wi l l be negati ve and the posi ti ve si gn i n the vari abl e wi l l
be necessary.
4 Mi crowave measurements
I f the f uncti on f (t −x/v) i s substi tuted i nto ei ther of the wave equati ons thi s
gi ves
1
v
2
f

t −
x
v

= LCf

t −
x
v

Thi s shows that f or al l the types of si gnal – pul se, tri angul ar and si nusoi dal – there i s
a uni que vel oci ty on l ossl ess l i nes, v, gi ven by
v =
1

LC
(1.3)
Thi s i s the vel oci ty f or both the current and vol tage wavef orms, as the same wave
equati on governs both parameters.
1.2.1 Char acter i sti c i mpedance
The rel ati onshi p between the vol tage wavef orm and the current wavef orm i s deri ved
f rom the Tel egraphi sts’ equati ons.
I f the vol tage wavef orm i s
V = V
0
f

t −
x
v

then
∂V
∂x
= −
V
0
v
f

t −
x
v

Usi ng the f i rst Tel egraphi sts’ equati on
∂I
∂t
=
V
0
Lv
f

t −
x
v

I ntegrati ng wi th respect to ti me gi ves
I =
V
0
Lv
f

t −
x
v

=
V
Lv
Theref ore
V
I
= Lv =

L
C
(1.4)
Thi s rati o i s cal l ed the characteri sti c i mpedance, Z
0
and f or l ossl ess l i nes
V
I
= Z
0
(1.5)
Thi s i s f or waves travel l i ng i n a posi ti ve x di recti on. I f the wave was travel l i ng i n a
negati ve x di recti on, i .e. a reverse or backward wave, then the rati o of V to I woul d
be equal to −Z
0
.
Tr ansmi ssi on l i nes – basi c pr i nci pl es 5
1.2.2 Refl ecti on coeffi ci ent
A transmi ssi on l i ne may have at i ts end an i mpedance, Z
L
, whi ch i s not equal to the
characteri sti c i mpedance of the l i ne Z
0
. Thus, a wave on the l i ne f aces the di l emma
of obeyi ng two di ff erent Ohm’ s l aws. To achi eve thi s, a ref l ected wave i s f ormed.
Gi vi ng posi ti ve suff i ces to the i nci dent waves and negati ve suff i ces to the ref l ected
waves, the Ohm’ s l aw rel ati onshi ps become
V
+
I
+
= Z
0
;
V

I

= −Z
0
V
L
I
L
=
V
+
+V

I
+
+I

= Z
L
whereV
L
and I
L
arethevol tageand current i n thetermi nati ng i mpedanceZ
L
. A ref l ec-
ti on coeff i ci ent, ρ or , i s def i ned as the rati o of the ref l ected wave to the i nci dent
wave. Thus
=
V

V
+
= −
I

I
+
(1.6)
So
Z
L
=
V
+
(1 +)
I
+
(1 −)
=
Z
0
(1 +)
(1 −)
and
=
Z
L
−Z
0
Z
L
+Z
0
(1.7)
As Z
0
f or l ossl ess l i nes i s real and Z
L
may be compl ex, , i n general , wi l l al so be
compl ex. One of the mai n parts of mi crowave i mpedance measurement i s to measure
the val ue of and hence Z
L
.
1.2.3 Phase vel oci ty and phase constant for si nusoi dal waves
So f ar, the treatment has been perf ectl y general f or any shape of wave. I n thi s secti on,
j ust the si ne waves wi l l be consi dered. I n Fi gure 1.2, a si ne wave i s shown at one
i nstant i n ti me. As the waves move down the l i ne wi th a vel oci ty, v, the phase of the
waves f urther down the l i ne wi l l be del ayed compared wi th the phase of the osci l l ator
on the l ef t-hand si de of Fi gure 1.2.
Thephasedel ay f or awhol ewavel ength i s equal to 2π. Thephasedel ay per metre
i s cal l ed β and i s gi ven by
β =

λ
(1.8)
6 Mi crowave measurements
2π radians of phase delay
per wavelength
Fi gure 1.2 Si ne waves on tr ansmi ssi on l i nes
Mul ti pl yi ng numerator and denomi nator of the ri ght-hand si de by f requency gi ves
β =
2πf
λf
=
ω
v
= ω

LC (1.9)
where v i s now the phase vel oci ty, i .e. the vel oci ty of a poi nt of constant phase and i s
the same vel oci ty as that gi ven i n Secti on 1.2.
1.2.4 Power fl ow for si nusoi dal waves
I f a transmi ssi on l i ne i s termi nated i n i mpedance equal to Z
0
then al l the power i n the
wave wi l l be di ssi pated i n the matchi ng termi nati ng i mpedance. For l ossl ess l i nes, a
si nusoi dal wave wi th ampl i tude V
1
the power i n the termi nati on woul d be
V
2
1
2Z
0
Thi s i s al so the power i n the wave arri vi ng at the matched termi nati on.
I f a transmi ssi on l i ne i s not matched then part of the i nci dent power i s ref l ected
(see Secti on 1.2.2) and i f the ampl i tude of the ref l ected wave i s V
2
then the ref l ected
power i s
V
2
2
2Z
0
Si nce
|| =
V
2
V
1
then
||
2
=
Power ref l ected
I nci dent power
(1.10)
Tr ansmi ssi on l i nes – basi c pr i nci pl es 7
Cl earl y, f or a good match the val ue of || shoul d be near to zero. The return l oss i s
of ten used to express the match
Return l oss = 10 l og
10
1
||
2
(1.11)
I n mi crowave ci rcui ts a return l oss of greater than 20 dB means that l ess than 1% of
the i nci dent power i s ref l ected.
Fi nal l y, the power transmi tted i nto the l oad i s equal to the i nci dent power mi nus
the ref l ected power. A transmi ssi on coeff i ci ent, τ, i s used as f ol l ows:
Transmi tted power
I nci dent power
= |τ|
2
= 1 −||
2
(1.12)
1.2.5 Standi ng waves resul ti ng from si nusoi dal waves
When a si nusoi dal wave i s ref l ected by termi nati ng i mpedance, whi ch i s not equal to
Z
0
, the i nci dent and ref l ected waves f orm together a standi ng wave.
I f the i nci dent wave i s
V
+
= V
1
si n(ωt −βx)
and the ref l ected wave i s
V

= V
2
si n(ωt +βx)
where x =0 at the termi nati on, then at some poi nts on the l i ne the two waves wi l l be
i n phase and the vol tage wi l l be
V
MAX
= (V
1
+V
2
)
where V
MAX
i s the maxi mum of the standi ng wave pattern. At other poi nts on the
l i ne the two waves wi l l be out of phase and the vol tage wi l l be
V
MI N
= (V
1
−V
2
)
whereV
MI N
i s themi ni mum of thestandi ng wavepattern. TheVol tageStandi ng Wave
Rati o (VSWR) or S i s def i ned as
S =
V
MAX
V
MI N
(1.13)
Now
S =
V
1
+V
2
V
1
−V
2
=
V
1
(1 +||)
V
1
(1 −||)
8 Mi crowave measurements
So
S =
1 +||
1 −||
(1.14)
or
|| =
S −1
S +1
(1.15)
Measuri ng S i s rel ati vel y easy and, theref ore, a val ue f or || can be obtai ned. From
the posi ti on of the maxi ma and mi ni ma the argument or phase of can be f ound. For
i nstance, i f a mi ni mum of the standi ng wave pattern occurs at a di stance D f rom a
termi nati on then the phase di ff erence between the i nci dent and the ref l ected waves
at that poi nt must be nπ(n = 1, 3, 5, . . .). Now the phase del ay as the i nci dent wave
goes f rom that poi nt to the termi nati on i s βD. The phase change on ref l ecti on i s the
argument of . Fi nal l y, the f urther phase del ay as the ref l ected wave travel s back to
D i s al so βD. Hence
nπ = 2βD +arg() (1.16)
Theref ore by a measurement of D and f rom knowl edge of β, the phase of can al so
be measured.
1.3 Two-conductor tr ansmission lines with losses – equivalent
cir cuit and low-loss appr oximation
I n many two-conductor transmi ssi on l i nes there are two sources of l oss, whi ch cause
the waves to be attenuated as they travel al ong the l i ne. One source of l oss i s the
ohmi c resi stance of the conductors. Thi s can be added to the equi val ent ci rcui t by
usi ng a di stri buted resi stance, R, whose uni ts are Ohms per metre. Another source of
l oss i s theohmi c resi stanceof thedi el ectri c between thel i nes. Si nce, thi s i s i n paral l el
wi th the capaci tance i t i s usual l y added to the equi val ent ci rcui t usi ng a di stri buted
conductance, G, whose uni ts are Si emens per metre. The f ul l equi val ent ci rcui t i s
shown i n Fi gure 1.3.
L
C
G R
Fi gure 1.3 The equi val ent ci rcui t of a l i ne wi th l osses
Tr ansmi ssi on l i nes – basi c pr i nci pl es 9
The Tel egraphi sts’ equati ons become
∂V
∂x
= −L
∂I
∂t
−RI
∂I
∂x
= −C
∂V
∂t
−GV
(1.17)
Agai n, wave equati ons f or l i nes wi th l osses can be f ound by di ff erenti ati ng wi th
respect to both x and t .

2
V
∂x
2
= LC

2
V
∂t
2
+(LG +RC)
∂V
∂t
+RGV

2
I
∂x
2
= LC

2
I
∂t
2
+(LG +RC)
∂I
∂t
+RGI (1.18)
These equati ons are not easy to sol ve i n the general case. However, f or si nusoi dal
waves on l i nes wi th smal l l osses, i .e. ωL R; ωC G, there i s a sol uti on of the
f orm:
V = V
0
exp (−αx) si n(ωt −βx)
where
v =
1

LC
m s
−1
(same as f or l ossl ess l i nes) (1.19)
α =
R
2Z
0
+
GZ
0
2
nepers m
−1
(1.20)
or
α = 8.686
¸
R
2Z
0
+
GZ
0
2
¸
dB m
−1
(1.21)
β = ω

LC radi ans m
−1
(same as f or l ossl ess l i nes) (1.22)
Z
0
=

L
C
(same as f or l ossl ess l i nes) (1.23)
1.3.1 Pul ses on tr ansmi ssi on l i nes wi th l osses
As wel l as attenuati on, a pul se on a transmi ssi on l i ne wi th l osses wi l l al so change
i ts shape. Thi s i s mai nl y caused by the f act that a f ul l sol uti on of the wave equati ons
f or l i nes wi th l osses gi ves a pul se shape whi ch i s ti me dependent. I n addi ti on, the
components of the transmi ssi on l i nes L, C, G and R are of ten di ff erent f uncti ons
of f requency. Theref ore i f the si nusoi dal components of the pul se are consi dered
separatel y, they al l travel at di ff erent vel oci ti es and wi th di ff erent attenuati on. Thi s
f requency dependence i s cal l ed di spersi on. For a l i mi ted range of f requenci es, i t i s
someti mes possi bl e to descri be a group vel oci ty, whi ch i s the vel oci ty of the pul se
rather than thevel oci ty of thei ndi vi dual si newavesthat makeup thepul se. Oneeff ect
10 Mi crowave measurements
of di spersi on on pul ses i s that the ri se ti me i s reduced and of ten the pul se wi dth i s
i ncreased. I t i s beyond the scope of these notes to i ncl ude a more detai l ed treatment
of thi s topi c.
1.3.2 Si nusoi dal waves on tr ansmi ssi on l i nes wi th l osses
For si nusoi dal waves, there i s a general sol uti on of the wave equati on f or l i nes wi th
l osses and i t i s
α +j β =

(R +j ωL) (G +j ωC) and Z
0
=

R +j ωL
G +j ωC
(1.24)
I n general , α, β and Z
0
are al l f uncti ons of f requency. I n parti cul ar, Z
0
at l ow f re-
quenci es can be compl ex and devi ate consi derabl y f rom i ts hi gh-f requency val ue.
As R, G, L and C al so vary wi th f requency, a caref ul measurement of these proper-
ti es at each f requency i s requi red to characteri se compl etel y the f requency vari ati on
of Z
0
.
1.4 L ossless waveguides
These transmi ssi on l i nes cannot be easi l y descri bed i n terms of vol tage and current as
they someti mes have onl y one conductor (e.g. metal l i c wavegui de) or no conductor
(e.g. opti cal f i bre). The onl y way to descri be thei r el ectri cal properti es i s i n terms
of the el ectromagneti c f i el ds that exi st i n and, i n some cases, around thei r structure.
Thi s secti on wi l l begi n wi th a revi si on of the properti es of a pl ane or transverse
el ectromagneti c (TEM) wave. The characteri sti cs of metal l i c wavegui des wi l l then
be descri bed usi ng these waves. The properti es of other wave gui di ng structures wi l l
be gi ven i n Chapter 7.
1.4.1 Pl ane (or tr ansver se) el ectromagneti c waves
A pl ane or TEM wave has two f i el ds that are perpendi cul ar or transverse to the
di recti on of propagati on. One of the f i el ds i s the el ectri c f i el d and the di recti on of
thi s f i el d i s usual l y cal l ed the di recti on of pol ari sati on (e.g. verti cal or hori zontal ).
The other f i el d whi ch i s at ri ght angl es to both the el ectri c f i el d and the di recti on of
propagati on i s the magneti c f i el d. These two f i el ds together f orm the el ectromagneti c
wave. The el ectromagneti c wave equati ons f or waves propagati ng i n the z di recti on
are as f ol l ows:

2
E
∂z
2
= µε

2
E
∂t
2

2
H
∂z
2
= µε

2
H
∂t
2
(1.25)
where µ i s the permeabi l i ty of the medi um. I f µ
R
i s the rel ati ve permeabi l i ty then
µ = µ
R
µ
0
and µ
0
i s thef reespacepermeabi l i ty and has aval ueof 4π ×10
−7
H m
−1
.
Tr ansmi ssi on l i nes – basi c pr i nci pl es 11
Si mi l arl y, ε i s thepermi tti vi ty of themedi um and i f ε
R
i s therel ati vepermi tti vi ty then
ε = ε
R
ε
0
and ε
0
i sthef reespacepermi tti vi ty and hasaval ueof 8.854 ×10
−12
F m
−1
.
These wave equati ons are anal ogous to those i n Secti on 1.2. The vari abl es V , I , L
and C are repl aced wi th the new vari abl es E, H , µ and ε and the same resul ts f ol l ow.
For a pl ane wave the vel oci ty of the wave, v, i n the z di recti on i s gi ven by
v =
1

µε

see Secti on 2 where v =
1

LC

(1.26)
I f µ = µ
0
and ε = ε
0
, then v
0
= 2.99792458 ×10
8
m s
−1
.
The rati o of the ampl i tude of the el ectri c f i el d to the magneti c f i el d i s cal l ed the
i ntri nsi c i mpedance and has the symbol η.
η =

µ
ε
=
E
H

see Secti on 1.2 where Z
0
=

L
C

(1.27)
I f µ = µ
0
and ε = ε
0
, then η
0
= 376.61 or 120 π.
As i n Secti on 1.2, f i el ds propagati ng i n the negati ve z di recti on are rel ated by
usi ng −η. The onl y di ff erence i s the orthogonal i ty of the two f i el ds i n space, whi ch
comes f rom Maxwel l ’ s equati ons. For an el ectri c f i el d pol ari sed i n the x di recti on
∂E
x
∂z
= −µ
∂H
y
∂t
I f E
x
i s a f uncti on of (t −
z
v
) as bef ore then
∂E
x
∂z
= −
1
v
E
0
f

t −
z
v

= −µ
∂H
y
∂t
H
y
=
1
µv
E
0
f

t −
z
v

=
1
µv
E
x
Theref ore
E
x
H
y
= µv =

µ
ε
= η (1.28)
I f an E
y
f i el d was chosen, the magneti c f i el d woul d be i n the negati ve x di recti on.
For si nusoi dal waves, the phase constant i s cal l ed the wave number and a symbol k
i s assi gned.
k = ω

µε

see Secti on 1.2 where β = ω

LC

(1.29)
I nsi de al l two-conductor transmi ssi on l i nes are vari ous shapes of pl ane waves and i t
i s possi bl e to descri be them compl etel y i n terms of f i el ds rather than vol tages and
currents. The el ectromagneti c wave descri pti on i s more f undamental but the equi v-
al ent ci rcui t descri pti on i s of ten easi er to use. At hi gh f requenci es, two-conductor
transmi ssi on l i nes al so have hi gher order modes and the equi val ent ci rcui t model f or
12 Mi crowave measurements
these becomes more awkward to use whereas the el ectromagneti c wave model i s abl e
to accommodate al l such modes.
1.4.2 Rectangul ar metal l i c wavegui des
Fi gure 1.4 shows a rectangul ar metal l i c wavegui de. I f a pl ane wave enters the waveg-
ui de such that i ts el ectri c f i el d i s i n the y (or verti cal ) di recti on and i ts di recti on of
propagati on i s not i n the z di recti on then i t wi l l be ref l ected back and f orth by the
metal wal l s i n the y di recti on. Each ti me the wave i s ref l ected i t wi l l have i ts phase
reversed so that the sum of the el ectri c f i el ds on the surf aces of the wal l s i n the y
di recti on i s zero. Thi s i s consi stent wi th the wal l s bei ng metal l i c and theref ore good
conductors capabl e of short ci rcui ti ng any el ectri c f i el ds. The wal l s i n the x di recti on
are al so good conductors but are abl e to sustai n these el ectri c f i el ds perpendi cul ar
to thei r surf aces. Now, i f the wave af ter two ref l ecti ons has i ts peaks and troughs i n
the same posi ti ons as the ori gi nal wave then the waves wi l l add together and f orm a
mode. I f there i s a sl i ght di ff erence i n the phase, then the vector addi ti on af ter many
ref l ecti ons wi l l be zero and so no mode i s f ormed. The condi ti on f or f ormi ng a mode
i s thus a phase condi ti on and i t can be f ound as f ol l ows.
Fi gure1.5 showsapl anewavei n arectangul ar metal l i c wavegui dewi th i tsel ectri c
f i el d i n the y di recti on and the di recti on of propagati on at an angl e θ to the z di recti on.
The rate of change of phase i n the di recti on of propagati on i s k
0
, the f ree space wave
number. As thi s wave i s i nci dent on the ri ght wal l of the wavegui de i n Fi gure 1.5, i t
wi l l be ref l ected accordi ng to the usual l aws of ref l ecti on as shown i n Fi gure 1.6.
On f urther ref l ecti on, thi s wave must ‘ rej oi n’ the ori gi nal wave to f orm a mode.
Theref ore, Fi gure 1.6 al so shows the sum of al l the ref l ecti ons f ormi ng two waves –
one i nci dent on the ri ght wal l and the other on the l ef t wal l . The waves f orm a mode
i f they are l i nked together i n phase.
Consi der thel i neAB. Thi si sal i neof constant phasef or thewavemovi ng towards
the ri ght. Part of that wave at B ref l ects and moves al ong BA to A where i t ref l ects
agai n and rej oi ns the wave wi th the same phase. At the f i rst ref l ecti on there i s a phase
shi f t of π. Then al ong BA there i s a phase del ay f ol l owed by another phase shi f t of
π at the second ref l ecti on. The phase condi ti on i s
2π +phase del ay al ong BA f or wave movi ng to the l ef t = 2mπ
where m = 0, 1, 2, 3, . . ..
a
b
a = 2b
Fi gure 1.4 A rectangul ar metal l i c wavegui de
Tr ansmi ssi on l i nes – basi c pr i nci pl es 13

180°

180°

a
Metal
waveguide
wall
θ
Direction of propagation
or wave vector
Metal
waveguide
wall
Lines of constant
phase on waveform
z
x
y ⊕
Fi gure 1.5 A pl ane wave i n a rectangul ar metal l i c wavegui de
0° 0°
180° 180°
180° 180°
0° 0°
0° 0°
θ
θ
90° − 2θ
A
B
Fields add
at the centre
TE
10
mode
Fields cancel
at metal walls
Fi gure 1.6 Two pl ane waves i n a rectangul ar metal l i c wavegui de. The phases 0
o
and 180
o
refer to the l i nes bel ow each fi gure
14 Mi crowave measurements
The phase del ay can be f ound by resol vi ng the wave number al ong BA and i s
k
0
si n 2θ radi ans m
−1
I f the wal l s i n the y di recti on are separated by a di stance a, then
AB =
a
cosθ
Theref ore the phase del ay i s k
0
si n 2θ(a/cosθ) or 2k
0
si n θ. Hence, the phase
condi ti on i s
k
0
a si n θ = mπ where m = 0, 1, 2, 3, … (1.30)
Thesol uti onsto thi sphasecondi ti on gi vethevari ouswavegui demodesf or waves
wi th f i el ds onl y i n the y di recti on, i .e. the TE
mo
modes, ‘ m’ i s the number of hal f si ne
vari ati ons i n the x di recti on.
1.4.3 The cut-off condi ti on
Usi ng the above phase condi ti on, i f k
0
= ω/v
0
then
ωsi n θ =
v
0

a
The terms on the ri ght-hand si de are constant. For very hi gh f requenci es the val ue
of θ tends to zero and the two waves j ust propagate i n the z di recti on. However, i f
ω reduces i n val ue the l argest val ue of si n θ i s 1 and at thi s poi nt the mode i s cut-off
and can no l onger propagate. The cut-off f requency i s ω
c
and i s gi ven by
ω
c
=
v
0

a
or
f
c
=
v
0
m
2a
(1.31)
where f
c
i s the cut-off f requency.
I f v
0
= λ
c
f
c
then λ
c
=
2a
m
(1.32)
where λ
c
i s the cut-off wavel ength.
Tr ansmi ssi on l i nes – basi c pr i nci pl es 15
A si mpl e rul e f or TE
mo
modes i s that at cut-off , the wave j ust f i ts i n ‘ si deways’ .
I ndeed, si nce θ = 90

at cut-off , the two pl ane waves are propagati ng f rom si de to
si de wi th a perf ect standi ng wave between the wal l s.
1.4.4 The phase vel oci ty
Al l wavegui de modes can be consi dered i n terms of pl ane waves. As the si mpl er
modes j ust consi dered consi st of onl y two pl ane waves they f orm a standi ng wave
pattern i n the x di recti on and f orm a travel l i ng wave i n the z di recti on. As the phase
vel oci ty i n the z di recti on i s rel ated to the rate of change of phase, i .e. the wave
number, then
Vel oci ty i n the z di recti on =
ω
Wave number i n the z di recti on
Usi ng Fi gure 1.5 or 1.6 the wave number i n the z di recti on i s
k
0
cosθ
Now f rom the phase condi ti on si n θ = mπ/k
0
a.
So k
0
cosθ = k
0

1 −


k
0
a

2

1
/
2
Al so k
0
=

λ
0
=
2π f
λ
0
f
=
ω
v
0
where v
0
i s the f ree space vel oci ty = 1/

µ
0
ε
0
.
Hence the vel oci ty i n the z di recti on
v
z
=
ω
k
0
cosθ
v
z
=
v
0
¸
1 −


0
2a

2

1
/
2
=
v
0
¸
1 −

λ
0
λ
c

2

1
/
2
(1.33)
As can be seen f rom thi s condi ti on, when λ
0
i s equal to the cut-off wavel ength
(see Secti on 1.4.3) then v
z
i s i nf i ni te. As λ
0
gets smal l er than λ
c
then the vel oci ty
approaches v
0
. Thus the phase vel oci ty i s al ways greater than v
0
. Wavegui des are
not normal l y operated near cut-off as the hi gh rate of change of vel oci ty means both
i mpossi bl e desi gn cri teri a and hi gh di spersi on.
1.4.5 The wave i mpedance
The rati o of the el ectri c f i el d to the magneti c f i el d f or a pl ane wave has al ready been
di scussed i n Secti on 1.4.1. Al though the wavegui de has two pl ane waves i n i t the
16 Mi crowave measurements
wave i mpedance i s def i ned as the rati o of the transverse el ectri c and magneti c f i el ds.
For TE modes thi s i s represented by usi ng the symbol Z
TE
.
Z
TE
mo
=
E
y
H
x
=
E
0
H
0
cosθ
=
η
cosθ
where E
0
and H
0
ref er to the pl ane waves. The el ectri c f i el ds of the pl ane waves are
i n the y di recti on but the magneti c f i el ds are at an angl e θ to the x di recti on. Theref ore
Z
TE
mo
=
η
¸
1 −


0
2a

2

1
/
2
=
η
¸
1 −

λ
0
λ
c

2

1
/
2
(1.34)
Thus, f or the λ
0
λ
c
the val ue of Z
TE
mo
i s al ways greater than η
0
. A typi cal val ue
mi ght be 500 .
1.4.6 The group vel oci ty
Si nce a pl ane wave i n ai r has no f requency-dependent parameters si mi l ar to those
of the two-conductor transmi ssi on l i nes, i .e. µ
0
and ε
0
are constant, then there i s
no di spersi on and so the phase vel oci ty i s equal to the group vel oci ty. A pul se i n
a wavegui de theref ore woul d travel at v
0
at an angl e of θ to the z-axi s. The group
vel oci ty, v
g
, al ong the z-axi s i s gi ven by
v
g
= v
0
cosθ
= v
0

1 −


0
2a

2

1/2
(1.35)
Thegroup vel oci ty i sal waysl essthan v
0
and i saf uncti on of f requency. For rectangul ar
metal l i c wavegui des
Phase vel oci ty ×Group vel oci ty = v
2
0
(1.36)
1.4.7 Gener al sol uti on
To obtai n al l the possi bl e modes i n a rectangul ar metal l i c wavegui de the pl ane wave
must al so have an angl e ψ to the z-axi s i n the y–z pl ane. Thi s wi l l i nvol ve the wave
ref l ecti ng f rom al l f our wal l s. I f the two wal l s i n the x di recti on are separated by a
di stance b then the f ol l owi ng are val i d f or al l modes. I f
A =
¸
1 −


0
2a

2


0
2b

2

1/2
(1.37)
m = 0, 1, 2, . . . and n = 0, 1, 2, . . .
Tr ansmi ssi on l i nes – basi c pr i nci pl es 17
TE
10
TE
01
TE
20
TE
30
TE
02
TE
40
TM
32
TE
32
TE
50
TM
11
TE
11
TM
21
TE
21
TM
31
TE
31
TE
22
TM
22
TM
41
TE
41
20 13 8 5
1 2 3 4 5
Region of
monomode propagation
a = 2b
f
cTE
10
f
cTE
mm
m
2
+ 4n
2
=
0
Fi gure 1.7 Rel ati ve cut-off frequenci es for rectangul ar metal l i c wavegui des
then the vel oci ty
v =
v
0
A
Z
TE
=
η
A
v
g
= Av
0
(1.38)
The modes wi th the magneti c f i el d i n the y di recti on – the dual of TE modes – are
cal l ed transverse magneti c modes or TM modes. They have a constrai nt that nei ther
m nor n can be zero as the el ectri c f i el d f or these modes has to be zero at al l f our
wal l s.
Z
TM
= ηA (1.39)
The rel ati ve cut-off f requenci es are shown i n Fi gure 1.7, whi ch al so shows that
monomode propagati on usi ng the TE
10
mode i s possi bl e at up to twi ce the cut-off
f requency. However, the f ul l octave bandwi dth i s not used because propagati on near
cut-off i sdi ff i cul t and j ust bel ow thenext modei t can behampered by energy coupl i ng
i nto that mode as wel l .
Fur ther r eading
1 Ramo, S., Whi nnery, J. R., and VanDuzer, T.: Fi el dsand Wavesi n Communi cati on
El ectroni cs, 3rd edn (Wi l ey, New York, 1994)
2 Marcowi tz, N.: Wavegui de Handbook (Peter Peregri nus, London, 1986)
3 Cheng, D. K.: Fi el d and Wave El ectromagneti cs, 2nd edn (Addi son-Wesl ey,
New York, 1989)
18 Mi crowave measurements
4 Magi d, L. M.: El ectromagneti c Fi el ds and Waves (Wi l ey, New York, 1972)
5 Kraus, J. D., and Fl ei sch, D. A.: El ectromagneti cs wi th Appl i cati ons (McGraw-
Hi l l , Si ngapore, 1999)
6 Jordan, E. C., and Bal mai n, K. G.: El ectromagneti c Waves and Radi ati ng Systems,
2nd edn (Prenti ce-Hal l , New Jersey, 1968)
7 Chi pman, R. A.: Tr ansmi ssi on Li nes, Schaum’ s Outl i ne Seri es (McGraw-Hi l l ,
New York, 1968)
Chapter 2
Scatter ing par ameter s and cir cuit analysis
P. R. Young
2.1 I ntr oduction
Scatteri ng parameters or scatteri ng coeff i ci ents are f undamental to the desi gn, anal -
ysi s and measurement of al l mi crowave and mi l l i metre-wave ci rcui ts and systems.
Scatteri ng parameters def i ne the f orward and reverse wave ampl i tudes at the i nputs
and outputs of a network. Mi crowave networks take on vari ous f orms and can be
as si mpl e as a shunt capaci tor or as compl i cated as a compl ete system. Common
mi crowave networks are one-, two-, three- or f our-port devi ces.
The def i ni ti on of a scatteri ng parameter i s i ntri nsi cal l y l i nked to the f orm of trans-
mi ssi on medi um used at the ports of the network. Transmi ssi on l i nes and wavegui des
come i n f our di sti nct cl asses: (1) transverse el ectromagneti c (TEM), whi ch i ncl udes
coaxi al l i nes and paral l el pai rs; (2) quasi -TEM l i nes, such as mi crostri p and copl anar
wavegui de (CPW); (3) transverse el ectri c (TE) and transverse magneti c (TM) wave-
gui des, such as rectangul ar wavegui de; and (4) hybri d wavegui des, whi ch i ncl ude
di el ectri c gui des and most l ossy transmi ssi on l i nes and wavegui des.
For si mpl i ci ty, the one-port scatteri ng parameter or ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent wi l l be
def i ned f i rst f or TEM l i nes bef ore the more compl i cated mul ti -port and wavegui de
networks are anal ysed.
2.2 One-por t devices
Consi der asi mpl etwo-conductor transmi ssi on l i ne, such as acoaxi al cabl eor paral l el
pai r. These types of transmi ssi on l i nes support TEM waves al l owi ng the wave trans-
mi ssi on to be expressed purel y i n terms of vol tage between the conductors and
the current f l owi ng through the conductors. I f the l i ne i s termi nated by a l oad Z
(Fi gure 2.1), whi ch i s not perf ectl y matched wi th the transmi ssi on l i ne, then some
20 Microwave measurements
V
+
V

Z
Figure 2.1 Transmission line terminated in a mismatched load
of the i nci dent waves wi l l be ref l ected back f rom the l oad. I n terms of vol tage and
current al ong the l i ne we have, at a poi nt z,
V(z) = V
+
e
−jβz
+V

e
+jβz
(2.1)
and
I (z) = I
+
e
−jβz
−I

e
+jβz
or I (z) =
1
Z
0

V
+
e
−jβz
−V

e
+jβz

(2.2)
where
Z
0
=
V
+
I
+
=
V

I

β i sthephaseconstant (rad m
−1
), V
+
and I
+
are, respecti vel y, ampl i tudeof thevol tage
and current of the f orward propagati ng wave; V

and I

are that of the reverse. The
e
−jβz
terms denote f orward propagati on (towards the l oad), whereas the e
+jβz
terms
denote reverse propagati on (away f rom the l oad). Z
0
i s the characteri sti c i mpedance
of the transmi ssi on l i ne and i s dependent on the geometry and materi al of the struc-
ture. For si mpl i ci ty, the ti me dependence has been omi tted f rom Equati ons 2.1 and
2.2. The actual vol tage and current are gi ven by Re{ V(z)e
jωt
} and Re{ I(z)e
jωt
} ,
respecti vel y.
Suppose we choose a ref erence pl ane at the termi nati on where we set z =0. We
def i ne the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent at thi s poi nt by
=
V

V
+
(2.3)
Si nce Ohm’ s l aw must appl y at the termi nati on
Z =
V
I
(2.4)
Note that we are f ree to set the ref erence pl ane anywhere al ong the l i ne; hence,
thi s mi ght be at the connector i nterf ace, at the l oad el ement or some di stance al ong
the l i ne.
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 21
Substi tuti ng (2.1) and (2.2) i nto (2.4) gi ves the wel l -known rel ati onshi p between
the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of the termi nati on and i ts i mpedance at the ref erence pl ane
Z = Z
0
V
+
+V

V
+
−V

= Z
0
1 +
1 −
(2.5)
Si mi l arl y, therel ati onshi p between theadmi ttanceof thetermi nati on and i tsref l ecti on
coeff i ci ent i s gi ven by
Y = Z
−1
= Y
0
V
+
−V

V
+
+V

= Y
0
1 −
1 +
(2.6)
where Y
0
i s the admi ttance of the transmi ssi on l i ne, Y
0
= Z
−1
0
. Another usef ul
expressi on i s gi ven by sol vi ng f or i n (2.5)
=
Z −Z
0
Z +Z
0
=
Y
0
−Y
Y
0
+Y
(2.7)
Cl earl y, i s dependent on the i mpedance of the termi nati on but we note that i t i s al so
dependent on the characteri sti c i mpedance of the l i ne. A knowl edge of Z
0
i s theref ore
requi red to def i ne .
Rel ati onshi ps f or the power f l ow can al so be def i ned. I t i s wel l known that, usi ng
phasor notati on, the root mean square power i s gi ven by
P =
1
2
Re{VI

}
where ‘ * ’ denotes the compl ex conj ugate. Substi tuti ng f or V and I f rom (2.1) and
(2.2) yi el ds, f or z = 0,
P =
1
2Z
0
Re
¸
(V
+
+V

) (V
+
−V

)

¸
whi ch gi ves
P =
1
2Z
0

|V
+
|
2
−|V

|
2

where we have made use of the f act that V
+

V

− V
+
V


i s purel y i magi nary and
V
+
V
+

= |V
+
|
2
. We al so assume that Z
0
i s purel y real . Note that the power i s
dependent on the characteri sti c i mpedance. We can, however, def i ne the network i n
terms of another set of ampl i tude constants such that the i mpedance i s not requi red
i n power cal cul ati ons. Let
V =

Z
0

ae
−jβz
+be
+jβz

(2.8)
22 Microwave measurements
and
I =
1

Z
0

ae
−jβz
−be
+jβz

(2.9)
where a and b are def i ned as the wave ampl i tudes of the f orward and backward
propagati ng waves. Wi th ref erence to (2.1) i t i s easy to show that a = V
+
/

Z
0
and
b = V

/

Z
0
. We f i nd now, i f Z
0
i s purel y real , that the power i s si mpl y gi ven by
P =
1
2

|a|
2
−|b|
2

(2.10)
|a|
2
/2 i s the power i n the f orward propagati ng wave and |b|
2
/2 i s the power i n the
backward propagati ng wave. Equati on (2.10) i s a very sati sf yi ng resul t si nce i t al l ows
propagati on to be def i ned i n terms of wave ampl i tudes that are di rectl y rel ated to the
power i n the wave. Thi s i s parti cul arl y usef ul f or measurement purposes si nce power
i s more easy to measure than vol tage or current. I n f act we shal l see that f or many
mi crowave networks, vol tage and current cannot be measured or even def i ned.
Theanal ysi sso f ar hasdeal t wi th one-port devi ces. Thesearecompl etel y speci f i ed
by thei r i mpedance Z or ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent (wi th respect to Z
0
). The more
i mportant case of the two-port, or mul ti -port, devi ce requi res a more compl i cated
model .
2.3 Gener alised scatter ing par ameter s
Consi der the two-port network shown i n Fi gure 2.2. There wi l l , i n general , be waves
propagati ng i nto and out of each of the ports. I f the devi ce i s l i near, the output waves
can be def i ned i n terms of the i nput waves. Thus,
b
1
= S
11
a
1
+S
12
a
2
(2.11)
b
2
= S
21
a
1
+S
22
a
2
(2.12)
where b
1
and b
2
are the wave ampl i tudes of the waves f l owi ng out of ports 1 and
2, respecti vel y. Si mi l arl y, a
1
and a
2
are the wave ampl i tudes of the waves f l owi ng
i nto ports 1 and 2, respecti vel y. S
11
, S
21
, S
12
and S
22
are the scatteri ng coeff i ci ents or
a
1
a
2
b
2
b
1
S
Figure 2.2 Two-port device represented by S-parameter matrix
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 23
scatteri ng parameters. Usi ng the def i ni ti on of wave ampl i tude the vol tages at port 1
and port 2 are gi ven by
V
1
=

Z
01
(a
1
+b
1
) and V
2
=

Z
02
(a
2
+b
2
)
respecti vel y, where i t i s assumed that the characteri sti c i mpedance i s di ff erent at each
port: Z
01
at port 1 and Z
02
at port 2.
Si mi l arl y, the currents enteri ng port 1 and port 2 are
I
1
=
1

Z
01
(a
1
−b
1
) and I
2
=
1

Z
02
(a
2
−b
2
)
respecti vel y. Equati ons 2.11 and 2.12 can be more neatl y wri tten i n matri x notati on
¸
b
1
b
2
¸
=
¸
S
11
S
12
S
21
S
22
¸ ¸
a
1
a
2
¸
(2.13)
or b = Sa, where
a =
¸
a
1
a
2
¸
, b =
¸
b
1
b
2
¸
and S =
¸
S
11
S
12
S
21
S
22
¸
where S i s the scatteri ng matri x or S-parameter matri x of the two-port network.
I f port 2 i s termi nated by a perf ect match of i mpedance Z
02
, that i s, al l of the
i nci dent power i s absorbed i n the termi nati on, then we have the f ol l owi ng properti es:
S
11
=
b
1
a
1

a
2
=0
and S
21
=
b
2
a
1

a
2
=0
Si mi l arl y, i f port 1 i s termi nated by a perf ect match of i mpedance Z
01
then
S
22
=
b
2
a
2

a
1
=0
and S
12
=
b
1
a
2

a
1
=0
By usi ng the above def i ni ti ons we can obtai n some i nsi ght i nto the meani ng of the
i ndi vi dual S-parameters. S
11
i s the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent at port 1 wi th port 2 termi -
nated i n a matched l oad. I t, theref ore, gi ves a measure of the mi smatch due to the
network and not any other devi ces that may be connected to port 2. S
21
i s the trans-
mi ssi on coeff i ci ent f rom port 1 to port 2 wi th port 2 termi nated i n a perf ect match. I t
gi ves a measure of the amount of si gnal that i s transmi tted f rom port 1 to port 2. S
22
and S
12
are si mi l arl y def i ned wi th S
22
gi vi ng the ref l ecti on f rom port 2 and S
12
the
transmi ssi on f rom port 2 to port 1.
24 Microwave measurements
The S-parameter representati on equal l y appl i es to mul ti -port devi ces. For an
n-port devi ce, the S-parameter matri x i s gi ven by
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
b
1
b
2
.
.
.
b
n

=
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
S
11
S
12
· · · S
1n
S
21
S
22
· · · S
2n
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
S
n1
S
n2
· · · S
nn

¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
a
1
a
2
.
.
.
a
n

whereb
k
i stheampl i tudeof thewavetravel l i ng away f rom thej uncti on at port k. Si m-
i l arl y, a
k
i sthewaveampl i tudetravel l i ng i nto thej uncti on at port k. TheS-parameters
are def i ned as
S
ij
=
b
i
a
j

a
k
=0 f or k=j
2.4 I mpedance and admittance par ameter s
Expressi ons si mi l ar to (2.5) and (2.7) can be obtai ned f or n-port devi ces. I f we have
an n-port devi ce then the vol tage and current at the ref erence pl ane of port k are
gi ven by
V
k
=

Z
0k
(a
k
+b
k
) (2.14)
and
I
k
=
1

Z
0k
(a
k
−b
k
) (2.15)
where Z
0k
i s the characteri sti c i mpedance of the transmi ssi on l i ne connected to port
k. Equati ons 2.14 and 2.15 can be wri tten i n matri x notati on as
V = Z
1/2
0
(a +b) (2.16)
and
I = Z
−1/2
0
(a −b) (2.17)
respecti vel y. Where a and b are col umn vectors contai ni ng the wave ampl i tudes and
V and I are col umn vectors contai ni ng the port vol tages and currents
a =
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
a
1
a
2
.
.
.
a
n

, b =
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
b
1
b
2
.
.
.
b
n

, V =
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
V
1
V
2
.
.
.
V
n

, and I =
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
I
1
I
2
.
.
.
I
n

Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 25
Z
0
i s a di agonal matri x wi th Z
0k
as i ts di agonal el ements
Z
0
=
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
Z
01
0 · · · 0
0 Z
02
· · · 0
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
0 0 · · · Z
0n

(2.18)
Z
1/2
0
denotes adi agonal matri x wi th

Z
0k
as i ts di agonal el ements. Of ten, thecharac-
teri sti c i mpedance of each of the ports i s i denti cal , i n whi ch case each of the di agonal
el ements i s equal . From (2.8) and (2.9), wi th z = 0, we have
a =
1
2
Z
−1/2
0
(V +Z
0
I ) (2.19)
and
b =
1
2
Z
−1/2
0
(V −Z
0
I ) (2.20)
Let V = ZI , where Z i s the i mpedance matri x, extensi vel y used i n el ectri cal ci rcui t
theory
Z =
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
Z
11
Z
12
· · · Z
1n
Z
21
Z
22
· · · Z
2n
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Z
n1
Z
n2
· · · Z
nn

Al so l et I = YV, where Y i s the admi ttance matri x
Y =
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
Y
11
Y
12
· · · Y
1n
Y
21
Y
22
· · · Y
2n
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Y
n1
Y
n2
· · · Y
nn

.
We note that Z = Y
−1
. The i ndi vi dual el ements of the i mpedance and admi ttance
matri ces are def i ned as f ol l ows:
Z
ij
=
V
i
I
j

I
k
=0 f or k=j
and Y
ij
=
I
i
V
j

V
k
=0 f or k=j
That i s, Z
ij
i s the rati o of vol tage at port i to the current at port j wi th al l other port
currents set to zero, that i s, short ci rcui t. Y
ij
i s def i ned as the rati o of current at port
i to the vol tage at port j wi th al l other port vol tages set to zero, that i s, open ci rcui t.
Substi tuti ng V = ZI and b = Sa i nto (2.19) and (2.20) yi el ds
Z = Z
1/2
0
(U −S)
−1
(U +S) Z
1/2
0
= Y
−1
(2.21)
26 Microwave measurements
Table 2.1 Network parameters for common microwave networks
Ci rcui t Network parameters
Lossl ess transmi ssi on l i ne of
l ength L, phase constant
and characteri sti c i mpedance
Z
0
Shunt admi ttance Y
Y
− Y 2Y
0
2Y
0
−Y
1
S =
Z Z
Z Z
Z =
where Z =Y
−1
Seri es i mpedanceZ
Z
Z 2Z
0
2Z
0
Z 2Z
0
+ Z
1
S =
−Y Y
Y −Y
Y =
where Y = Z
−1
π network
Y
A
Y
B
Y
C
−Y
C
−Y
C
Y
B
+ Y
C
Y
A
+ Y
C
Y =
T network
0
0
S =
e
−jβL
e
−jβL
Z
C
Z
C
Z
B
+ Z
C
Z
A
+ Z
C
Z =
Y + 2Y
0
Z
A
Z
B
Z
C
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 27
or sol vi ng f or S
S = Z
−1/2
0
(Z −Z
0
) (Z +Z
0
)
−1
Z
1/2
0
(2.22)
where U i s the uni t matri x:
U =
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
1 0 · · · 0
0 1 · · · 0
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
0 0 · · · 1

Exampl es of (2.21) and (2.22) f or two-port networks are gi ven i n Appendi x 2.C.
Z and Y parameters can be very usef ul i n the anal ysi s of mi crowave networks
si ncethey can berel ated di rectl y to si mpl e π or T networks (ref er to Tabl e2.1). These
ci rcui ts are f undamental i n l umped el ement ci rcui ts, such as attenuators, and are al so
i mportant i n equi val ent ci rcui ts f or wavegui de j uncti ons and di sconti nui ti es.
2.4.1 Examples of S-parameter matrices
Tabl e 2.1 shows some common exampl es of mi crowave networks and thei r network
parameters. Parameters are onl y shown f or the si mpl est f orm. The associ ated S, Z or
Y parameters can be determi ned usi ng (2.21) and (2.22). I n each case i t i s assumed
that the characteri sti c i mpedance i s i denti cal at each port and equal to Z
0
= Y
−1
0
.
We noti ce f rom the tabl e that the S-parameter matri ces are symmetri cal , that i s,
S
mn
= S
nm
. Thi s i s a demonstrati on of reci proci ty i n mi crowave networks and appl i es
to most networks (see Appendi x 2.A). A property of l ossl ess scatteri ng matri ces i s
al so seen f or thel i nesecti on. Here, S
T
S

= U, whi ch appl i es to al l l ossl ess networks;
ref er to Appendi x 2.B.
2.5 Cascade par ameter s
Another usef ul transf ormati on of the S-parameter matri x i s the cascade matri x. The
two-port cascade matri x i s gi ven by
¸
a
1
b
1
¸
=
¸
T
11
T
12
T
21
T
22
¸ ¸
b
2
a
2
¸
(2.23)
where we noti ce that the wave ampl i tudes on port 1 are gi ven i n terms of the wave
ampl i tudes on port 2. Notethat sometextbooks i nterchangea
1
wi th b
1
and b
2
wi th a
2
.
Compari ng (2.23) wi th (2.13) gi ves the f ol l owi ng rel ati onshi ps between the cascade
matri x el ements and the scatteri ng coeff i ci ents:
T =
¸
T
11
T
12
T
21
T
22
¸
=
1
S
21
¸
1 −S
22
S
11
S
12
S
21
−S
11
S
22
¸
(2.24)
28 Microwave measurements
a
1
a
1

a
2

b
1

b
2

a
2
b
2
b
1
S
T
S′
T′
Figure 2.3 Two two-port networks cascaded together
Si mi l arl y, the reverse transf orm i s gi ven by
S =
1
T
11
¸
T
21
T
22
T
11
−T
12
T
21
1 −T
12
¸
(2.25)
Suppose we have two two-port devi ces cascaded together (ref er to Fi gure 2.3). The
f i rst network i s gi ven by
¸
a
1
b
1
¸
=
¸
T
11
T
12
T
21
T
22
¸ ¸
b
2
a
2
¸
and the second network
¸
a

1
b

1
¸
=
¸
T

11
T

12
T

21
T

22
¸ ¸
b

2
a

2
¸
where, by i nspecti ng Fi gure 2.3 we see that
¸
b
2
a
2
¸
=
¸
a

1
b

1
¸
Theref ore,
¸
a
1
b
1
¸
=
¸
T
11
T
12
T
21
T
22
¸ ¸
T

11
T

12
T

21
T

22
¸ ¸
b

2
a

2
¸
We see that i n order to cal cul ate the i nput wave ampl i tudes i n terms of the output
ampl i tudes we si mpl y mul ti pl y the cascade matri ces together. Of ten the cascaded two
port i sconverted back to an S-parameter matri x usi ng (2.25). Any number of cascaded
two-port networks can then be repl aced by a si ngl e equi val ent two-port network.
2.6 Renor malisation of S-par ameter s
We have al ready seen that S-parameters are def i ned wi th respect to a ref erence
characteri sti c i mpedance at each of the network’ s ports. Of ten we requi re that the
S-parameters are renormal i sed to another set of port characteri sti c i mpedances. Thi s
i s i mportant as measured S-parameters are usual l y wi th respect to the transmi ssi on
l i ne Z
0
or matched l oad i mpedance of the cal i brati on i tems used i n the measure-
ment system. These of ten di ff er f rom the nomi nal 50 . To convert an S-parameter
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 29
matri x S, that i s, wi th respect to the port i mpedance matri x
Z
0
=
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
Z
01
0 · · · 0
0 Z
02
· · · 0
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
0 0 · · · Z
0n

we, f i rst, transf orm S to an i mpedance matri x usi ng (2.21)
Z = Z
1/2
0
(U −S)
−1
(U +S) Z
1/2
0
Next the i mpedance matri x i s transf ormed i nto the S-parameter matri x S

S

= Z

−1/2
0

Z −Z

0

Z +Z

0

−1
Z

1/2
0
where now a ref erence i mpedance matri x of Z

0
i s used
Z

0
=
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
Z

01
0 · · · 0
0 Z

02
· · · 0
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
0 0 · · · Z

0n

S

i s then wi th respect to Z

0
. Of ten the renormal i sed S-parameters are wi th respect
to 50 i n whi ch case al l the di agonal el ements of Z

0
are equal to 50 .
2.7 De-embedding of S-par ameter s
Another very i mportant operati on on an S-parameter matri x i s the de-embeddi ng of
a l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne f rom each of the ports. Thi s i s extremel y i mportant
i n measurement si nce of ten the devi ce under test i s connected to the measurement
i nstrument by a l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne and, theref ore, the actual measured val ue
i ncl udes the phase and attenuati on of the l i ne. I t can be shown that the measured
n-port S-parameters S

are rel ated to the network’ s actual S-parameters S by
S

= S
where
=
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
e
−γ
1
L
1
0 · · · 0
0 e
−γ
2
L
2
· · · 0
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
0 0 · · · e
−γ
N
L
N

I t i s assumed that al l of the l i nes are matched to thei r respecti ve ports. I f we know the
l ength of l i ne L
k
at each port and the compl ex propagati on constant γ
k
= α
k
+ jβ
k
then we can de-embed the eff ect of the l i nes. Thus,
S =
−1
S

−1
30 Microwave measurements
L
1
γ
1
S
L
2
γ
2
Figure 2.4 Two-port network with feeding transmission lines at each port
Dueto thedi agonal natureof , thei nverseoperati on
−1
si mpl y changesthe−γ
k
L
k
terms to +γ
k
L
k
.
Fi gure 2.4 shows a typi cal two-port network wi th l i nes connected to both ports.
I n thi s case the actual network parameters S are rel ated to the S-parameters S

by
S =
¸
S

11
e
+2γ
1
L
1
S

12
e

1
L
1

2
L
2
S

21
e

1
L
1

2
L
2
S

22
e
+2γ
2
L
2
¸
I n the l ossl ess case γ
k
woul d degenerate to jβ
k
and onl y a phase shi f t woul d be
i ntroduced by the l i nes.
2.8 Char acter istic impedance
We have seen that a mi crowave network can be characteri sed i n terms of i ts
S-parameters and that the S-parameters are def i ned wi th respect to the characteri sti c
i mpedance at the ports of the network. A f undamental understandi ng of the nature
of Z
0
i s theref ore essenti al i n mi crowave ci rcui t anal ysi s and measurement. Unf ortu-
natel y, the true nature of characteri sti c i mpedance i s of ten overl ooked by mi crowave
engi neers and Z
0
i s usual l y consi dered to be a real -val ued constant, such as 50 . I n
many cases thi s i s a very good assumpti on. However, the caref ul metrol ogi st does not
make assumpti ons and the true nature of the characteri sti c i mpedance i s i mperati ve i n
preci si on mi crowave measurements. I n f act wi thout the knowl edge of characteri sti c
i mpedance, S-parameter measurements have l i ttl e meani ng and thi s l ack of knowl -
edge i s so of ten the cause of poor measurements. Thi s i s parti cul arl y i mportant i n
measured S-parameters f rom network anal ysers. S-parameters measured on a net-
work anal yser are wi th respect to ei ther the Z
0
of the cal i brati on i tems or i mpedance
of the matched el ement used to cal i brate the anal yser. I f thi s val ue i s i l l -def i ned then
so are the measured S-parameters.
2.8.1 Characteristic impedance in real transmission lines
I f a TEM or quasi -TEM l i ne contai ns di el ectri c and conducti ve l osses then (2.1) and
(2.2) become
V(z) = V
+
e
−γ z
+V

e
+γ z
(2.26)
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 31
and
I (z) =
1
Z
0

V
+
e
−γ z
−V

e
+γ z

(2.27)
where the compl ex propagati on constant i s def i ned as γ = α + jβ. Equati ons 2.26
and 2.27 are very si mi l ar to (2.1) and (2.2); however, the attenuati on constant α adds
an exponenti al decay to the wave’ s ampl i tude as i t propagates al ong the l i ne. I t i s
easy to show that i n terms of the transmi ssi on l i ne’ s per l ength seri es i mpedance Z
and shunt admi ttance Y the propagati on constant γ and characteri sti c i mpedance Z
0
are gi ven by [ 1]
γ =

ZY and Z
0
=

Z
Y
I n the l ossl ess case Z = jωL and Y = jωC, representi ng the seri es i nductance of
the conductors and the shunt capaci tance between them. The compl ex propagati on
constant then reduces to the f ami l i ar phase constant jβ and Z
0
degenerates to a real -
val ued constant dependent onl y on L and C
γ = jβ = jω

LC and Z
0
=

L
C
I n l ossy l i nes there i s a seri es resi sti ve component due to conducti on l osses and a
shunt conductance due to di el ectri c l osses. Hence, Z = R +jωL and Y = G +jωC
and theref ore,
γ =

(R +jωL) (G +jωC) = Z
0
(G +jωC) (2.28)
and
Z
0
=

R +jωL
G +jωC
=
R +jωL
γ
(2.29)
whereR, L, G and C areof ten f uncti ons of ω. Two i mportant f acts about Z
0
arei mme-
di atel y evi dent f rom (2.29): Z
0
i s compl ex and a f uncti on of f requency. Theref ore,
the assumpti on that Z
0
i s a real -val ued constant whi ch i s i ndependent of f requency i s
onl y an approxi mati on. Fortunatel y, f or many transmi ssi on l i nes the l oss i s smal l . I n
thi s case R ωL and G ωC and an approxi mate expressi on f or the propagati on
constant i s obtai ned by usi ng a f i rst-order bi nomi al expansi on. Thus,
α ≈
1
2

LC

R
L
+
G
C

, β ≈ ω

LC and Z
0

L
C
We see that f i rst-order Z
0
i s i denti cal to the l ossl ess expressi on and, hence, the
assumpti on that Z
0
i s a real -val ued constant i s of ten used. However, there are many
cases when thi s approxi mati on i s f ar f rom val i d. For exampl e, transmi ssi on l i nes and
wavegui des operati ng at mi l l i metre-wave f requenci es of ten have very l arge l osses
32 Microwave measurements
due to the i ncrease i n conducti on and di el ectri c l oss wi th f requency. I n these cases,
preci si on measurements must consi der the compl ex nature of the transmi ssi on l i ne.
Furthermore at l ow f requenci es where ω i s smal l , we f i nd that R ωL and G ωC.
The compl ex nature of both γ and Z
0
then pl ays a very i mportant rol e.
By way of exampl e, Fi gures 2.5 and 2.6 show how the real and i magi nary parts
of Z
0
vary wi th f requency f or a CPW. The parameters of the l i ne are typi cal f or
a mi crowave monol i thi c i ntegrated ci rcui t (MMI C) wi th a 400 µm thi ck gal l i um
arseni de (GaAs) substrate and gol d conductors of 1.2 µm thi ckness. We see that
above a f ew GHz the real component of Z
0
approaches the nomi nal 50 of the
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
0 2 4 6 8 10
Z
0
f: GHz
Theory
Measurement
Figure 2.5 Real part of characteristic impedance of CPWtransmission line on GaAs
Theory
Measurement
0
Z
0
−10
−20
−30
−40
−50
−60
−70
−80
−90
−100
0 2 4 6
f: GHz
8 10
Figure 2.6 Imaginary part of characteristic impedance of CPW transmission line
on GaAs
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 33
desi gn but wi th a smal l i magi nary part of a f ew ohms. At l ow f requenci es the pi cture
i s very di ff erent. We see that as the f requency decreases there i s a rapi d i ncrease i n
the magni tude of both the real and i magi nary component of Z
0
. Al though the resul ts
are shown f or CPW, si mi l ar resul ts woul d be seen f or mi crostri p, stri pl i ne and even
coaxi al cabl e.
I f Z
0
has an appreci abl ei magi nary part associ ated wi th i t then amorecompl i cated
network anal ysi s i s requi red. The normal def i ni ti ons of a and b are
a = V
+

Z
0
and b = V

Z
0
whi ch have uni ts of W
1/2
. I f the mode travel l i ng on the transmi ssi on l i ne carri es
power p
0
then a and b can be wri tten as
a = C
+

p
0
and b = C


p
0
where C
+
and C

are constants wi th = C

/C
+
. I f Z
0
i s compl ex then i t f ol l ows
that the power p
0
wi l l al so be compl ex havi ng a real , travel l i ng component and an
i magi nary, stored component. As a and b are travel l i ng wave ampl i tudes they must
be def i ned i n terms of the real component of the power. Hence,
a = C
+
Re


p
0

and b = C

Re


p
0

Equati on 2.10 then becomes
P =
1
2

|a|
2
−|b|
2

+I m(ab

)
I m(Z
0
)
Re(Z
0
)
That i s, thepower i snot si mpl y thedi ff erencei n thef orward and reversewavesunl ess
I m(Z
0
) = 0. Thi s resul ts i n a more compl i cated network theory where the def i ni ti ons
of i mpedance and admi ttance matri ces have to be modi f i ed, resul ti ng i n di ff erent
expressi ons f or the conversi on and renormal i sati on equati ons. The i nterested reader
shoul d consul t Ref erence 2 f or a thorough study of network theory wi th compl ex
characteri sti c i mpedance.
2.8.2 Characteristic impedance in non-TEM waveguides
The usual def i ni ti on of characteri sti c i mpedance i s the rati o of the f orward vol tage
to f orward current. These are easi l y determi ned f or si mpl e TEM transmi ssi on l i nes,
such as coaxi al cabl e, where the vol tage between the two conductors and the current
f l owi ng through them i s uni quel y def i ned. However, i t can be more di ff i cul t to def i ne
vol tages and currents i n quasi -TEM transmi ssi on l i nes, such as mi crostri p and CPW,
due to thei r hybri d nature. I n f act, many wavegui des used i n mi crowave systems may
onl y have a si ngl e conductor, such as rectangul ar wavegui de, or no conductors at al l
as i n a di el ectri c wavegui de. I n these cases, i t becomes i mpossi bl e to def i ne a uni que
vol tage or current and gui des of thi s type are better expl ai ned i n terms of thei r el ectri c
and magneti c f i el ds
E(x, y, z) = C
+
e
t
(x, y)e
−γ z
+C

e
t
(x, y)e
+γ z
(2.30)
H (x, y, z) = C
+
h
t
(x, y)e
−γ z
−C

h
t
(x, y)e
+γ z
(2.31)
34 Microwave measurements
where e
t
and h
t
are the el ectri c and magneti c f i el ds i n the transverse pl ane, respec-
ti vel y. C

and C
+
are compl ex-val ued constants. I n general , al l transmi ssi on l i nes
are descri bed by (2.30) and (2.31) and not by (2.1) and (2.2). Equati ons 2.30 and 2.31
can be expressed as [ 2]
E =
V(z)
v
0
e
t
(2.32)
and
H =
I (z)
i
0
h
t
(2.33)
where the equi val ent wavegui de vol tage and current are gi ven by
V(z) = v
0

C
+
e
−γ z
+C

e
+γ z

(2.34)
and
I (z) = i
0

C
+
e
−γ z
−C

e
+γ z

(2.35)
respecti vel y. v
0
and i
0
are normal i sati on constants such that
Z
0
=
v
0
i
0
(2.36)
Both V(z) and v
0
have uni ts of vol tage and I (z) and i
0
have uni ts of current.
I n order to extend the concept of vol tage and current to the general wavegui de
structure, (2.34) and (2.35) must sati sf y the same power rel ati onshi ps as (2.8) and
(2.9). I t can be shown that the power f l ow i n a wavegui de across a transverse surf ace
S i s gi ven by [ 1]
P =
1
2
Re

¸
¸

S
E ×H

· dS
¸
¸
¸
=
1
2
Re
¸
V(z)I (z)

v
0
i
0

p
0
¸
(2.37)
wi th modal power
p
0
=

S
e
t
×h
t

· dS (2.38)
Theref ore, i n order to retai n the anal ogy wi th (2.8) and (2.9) we requi re
P =
1
2
Re{V(z)I (z)

} (2.39)
and thus
v
0
i
0

= p
0
(2.40)
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 35
We see that the magni tude of Z
0
i s not uni quel y def i ned si nce we are f ree to choose
any val ueof v
0
and i
0
as l ong as (2.40) i s sati sf i ed. For exampl e, |Z
0
| i s of ten set to the
wave i mpedance of the propagati ng mode. Another popul ar choi ce, used i n network
anal ysers, i s |Z
0
| = 1. Note, however, that the phase of Z
0
i s set by (2.40) and i s an
i nherent characteri sti c of the propagati ng mode.
To ensure that the characteri sti c i mpedance sati sf i es causal i ty, Z
0
shoul d be equal
to, wi thi n a constant mul ti pl i er, the TE or TM wave i mpedance of the wavegui de [ 3] .
Thi s i s essenti al i n ti me-domai n anal ysi s and synthesi s where responses cannot pre-
cede i nputs. For hybri d structures, such as di el ectri c wavegui de, causal i ty i s ensured
i f the f ol l owi ng condi ti on i s sati sf i ed:
|Z
0
(ω)| = λe
−H(arg[p
0
(ω)])
where λ i s an arbi trary constant and H i s the Hi l bert transf orm [ 4] .
Si nce we cannot def i ne a uni que val ue of Z
0
, we cannot def i ne S-parameter mea-
surements wi th respect to a nomi nal characteri sti c i mpedance. Thi s i s not a probl em
f or standard rectangul ar wavegui de and coaxi al cabl e whi ch have set di mensi ons,
si nce we can speci f y measurements wi th respect to WG-22 or APC7, etc. However,
i f we are usi ng non-standard wavegui des, such as i mage or di el ectri c wavegui de then
al l we can say i s our S-parameters are wi th respect to the propagati ng mode on the
structure.
Another i mportant di ff erence i n wavegui de networks i s that i n general a wave-
gui de wi l l support more than one mode. Mul ti mode structures can be anal ysed usi ng
mul ti modal S-parameters [ 5] . Fortunatel y, under usual operati ng condi ti ons, onl y the
f undamental mode propagates. However, at a di sconti nui ty, evanescent modes wi l l
al ways be present. These exponenti al l y decayi ng f i el ds wi l l exi st i n the vi ci ni ty of
the di sconti nui ty and are requi red to compl etel y expl ai n the wavegui de f i el ds and
network parameters.
I t i s i mportant to remember that (2.34) and (2.35) are onl y equi val ent wavegui de
vol tages and currents, whi ch do not have al l the properti es of (2.1) and (2.2). For
exampl e, Z
0
i sdependent on normal i sati on and theref orewecoul d def i netwo di ff erent
val ues of Z
0
f or the same wavegui de. Furthermore, even i f we do use the same
normal i sati on scheme i t i s possi bl e f or two di ff erent wavegui des to have the same
Z
0
. Cl earl y, a transi ti on f rom one of these gui des to the other wi l l not resul t i n a
ref l ecti onl ess transi ti on, as conventi onal transmi ssi on theory woul d suggest. We al so
have to be very caref ul when converti ng to Z-parameters usi ng (2.21), si nce Z i s
rel ated to Z
0
. Si nce Z
0
i s not uni quel y def i ned the absol ute val ue of Z-parameters
cannot be determi ned. Thi s i s not surpri si ng si nce i mpedance i s i ntri nsi cal l y l i nked to
current and vol tage. However, even though absol ute val ues cannot be def i ned, they
can be usef ul i n the devel opment of equi val ent ci rcui t model s f or wavegui de devi ces
and j uncti ons.
2.8.3 Measurement of Z
0
For preci si on ai r-f i l l ed coaxi al l i nes, the characteri sti c i mpedance can be approx-
i matel y obtai ned f rom measurements of the geometry of the l i ne. For quasi -TEM
36 Microwave measurements
l i nes several techni ques can be used to measure Z
0
. These i ncl ude the constant capac-
i tance techni que [ 6,7] and the cal i brati on compari son techni que [ 8] . I n the constant
capaci tance techni que the characteri sti c i mpedance i s deri ved f rom measured val ues
of the propagati on constant usi ng the thru-ref l ect-l i ne (TRL) techni que [ 9] and a
DC resi stance measurement of the l i ne. I n the cal i brati on compari son techni que a
two-ti er cal i brati on i s perf ormed, f i rst i n a known transmi ssi on l i ne and then i n
the unknown l i ne. Thi s al l ows an ‘ error-box’ to be determi ned, whi ch acts as an
i mpedance transf ormer f rom the known transmi ssi on l i ne i mpedance to that of the
l i nes under test.
2.9 Signal flow gr aphs
The anal ysi s so f ar has rel i ed on matri x al gebra. However, another i mportant tech-
ni que can al so be used to anal yse mi crowave ci rcui ts, or i ndeed thei r l ow-f requency
counterparts. Thi s techni que i s known as the si gnal f l ow graph. Si gnal f l ow graphs
express the network pi ctori al l y (Fi gure 2.7). The wave ampl i tudes are denoted by
nodes, wi th the S-parameters bei ng the gai n achi eved by the paths between nodes. To
anal yse si gnal f l ow graphs the f ol l owi ng rul es can be appl i ed [ 10] .
Rule 1. Two seri es branches, j oi ned by a common node, can be repl aced by one
branch wi th gai n equal to the product of the i ndi vi dual branches.
Rule 2. Two paral l el branches j oi ni ng two common nodes can be repl aced wi th a
si ngl e branch wi th gai n equal to the sum of the two i ndi vi dual branches.
Rule 3. A branch that begi ns and ends on a si ngl e node can be el i mi nated by
di vi di ng the gai ns of al l branches enteri ng the node by one mi nus the gai n of
the l oop.
Rule 4. Any node can be dupl i cated as l ong as al l paths are retai ned.
These f our rul es are i l l ustrated i n Fi gure 2.8.
Fi gure 2.9 gi ves an exampl e of appl yi ng the above rul es to anal yse a mi crowave
ci rcui t. The network i s a si mpl e two-port network termi nated by an i mpedance wi th
S
11
a
1
b
2
b
1
a
2
S
12
S
22
S
21
Figure 2.7 Signal flow graph for two-port network
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 37
S
a S
a
S
a
S
a
S
a
S
a
S
b
S
b
S
b
S
a
1−S
b
Rule 2
Rule 3
Rule 4
Rule 1
S
a
S
b
S
a

+

S
b
Figure 2.8 Kuhn’s rules for signal flow graph analysis
ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent
L
. We wi sh to cal cul ate the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent at the i nput
termi nal , i .e. b
1
/a
1
. Fi rst, we appl y Rul e 4 to dupl i cate the a
2
node. Then, usi ng
Rul e 1, we el i mi nate both the a
2
nodes. The cl osed l oop, S
22

L
i s el i mi nated usi ng
Rul e 3. Next, Rul e 1 i s appl i ed to el i mi nate node b
2
. Fi nal l y, appl yi ng Rul e 2, we
obtai n a val ue f or b
1
/a
1
.
Cl earl y, f or l arger networks, the si gnal f l ow graph techni que can be very di ff i cul t
to appl y. However, i t can of ten be usef ul f or anal ysi ng si mpl e networks – gi vi ng a
more i ntui ti ve approach to the probl em.
2.10 Appendix
The f ol l owi ng rel ati onshi ps are true onl y f or purel y real port characteri sti c
i mpedances. For compl ex characteri sti c i mpedance the reader i s ref erred to
Ref erence [ 2] .
2.A Reciprocity
Usi ng theLorentz reci proci ty rel ati on [ 11] i t can beshown that, i n general , Z
mn
= Z
nm
.
Thi s i s onl y true f or networks that do not contai n ani sotropi c medi a, such as f erri tes.
38 Microwave measurements
S
11
S
11
S
11
a
1
a
1
a
1
b
2
b
2
b
2
b1
b
1
a
1
a
1
b
1
b
1
b
1
S
11
+
1−S
22
+ Γ
L
Γ
L
S
12
S
21
a
2
a
2
a
2
S
12
S
12
S
22
S
22
S
22
Γ
L
Γ
L
Γ
L
Γ
L
S
21
S
21
S
21
Rule 4
Rule 1
Rule 3
Rule 1
Rule 2
1−S
22
+ Γ
L
Γ
L
S
12
S
21
Γ
L
S
12
1−S
22
Γ
L

Γ
L
S
12
S
11
a
1
b
1
b
2
S
21
S
11
Figure 2.9 Example of the use of signal flowgraphs to analyse a microwave network
Theref ore, i n matri x notati on we have
Z = Z
T
where Z
T
i s the transpose of Z. From (2.21) i t becomes apparent that i f the
characteri sti c i mpedance i s i denti cal at every port then
(U −S)
−1
(U +S) =

U +S
T

U −S
T

−1
Theref ore, S = S
T
and provi ded thei mpedancematri cesaresymmetri cal , S
mn
= S
nm
.
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 39
2.B Losslessness
An n-port network can be descri bed by an n ×n S-parameter matri x:
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
b
1
b
2
.
.
.
b
n

=
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
S
11
S
12
· · · S
1n
S
21
S
22
· · · S
2n
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
S
n1
S
n2
· · · S
nn

¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
a
1
a
2
.
.
.
a
n

(2B.1)
b = Sa
I f the network i s l ossl ess, then the power enteri ng the network must be equal to
the power f l owi ng out of the network. Theref ore, f rom (2.10) we have
n
¸
i=1
|b
i
|
2
=
n
¸
i=1
|a
i
|
2
(2B.2)
But |b
i
|
2
= b
i
b
i

, theref ore,
n
¸
i=1
|b
i
|
2
= (b
1
, b
2
, . . . , b
n
)
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
b
1

b
2

.
.
.
b
n

We see that the col umn matri x i n the above equati on i s gi ven by the conj ugate of
the ri ght-hand si de of (2B.1), that i s, S

a

. Si mi l arl y, the row matri x i s gi ven by the
transpose of the ri ght-hand si de of (2B.1), that i s, (Sa)
T
. Theref ore, we have
n
¸
i=1
|b
i
|
2
= (Sa)
T
S

a

= a
T
S
T
S

a

(2B.3)
where we have used the f act that the transpose of the product of two matri ces i s equal
to the product of the transposes i n reverse. Substi tuti ng (2B.3) i nto (2B.2) yi el ds
a
T
S
T
S

a

= a
T
a

(2B.4)
where we have used the f act that
n
¸
i=1
|a
i
|
2
= a
T
a

Equati on (2B.4) can be wri tten as
a
T

S
T
S

−U

a

= 0
where U i s the uni t matri x. Theref ore,
S
T
S

= U
40 Microwave measurements
I n other words, the product of the transpose of the S-parameter matri x S wi th i ts
compl ex conj ugate i s equal to the uni t matri x U. I n the case of a two port we have
S
11
S

11
+S
21
S

21
= 1
S
12
S

12
+S
22
S

22
= 1
S
11
S

12
+S
21
S

22
= 0
and
S
12
S

11
+S
22
S

21
= 0
2.C Two-port transforms
Usi ng (2.21) f or a two-port network gi ves
S =
1
Z
¸
Z
1
2

Z
01
Z
02
Z
12
2

Z
01
Z
02
Z
21
Z
2
¸
where
Z = (Z
11
+Z
01
)(Z
22
+Z
02
) −Z
12
Z
21
Z
1
= (Z
11
−Z
01
)(Z
22
+Z
02
) −Z
12
Z
21
and
Z
2
= (Z
11
+Z
01
)(Z
22
−Z
02
) −Z
12
Z
21
Si mi l arl y, usi ng (2.22)
Z =
1
S
¸
Z
01
S
1
2Z
01
S
21
2Z
02
S
12
Z
02
S
2
¸
where
S = (1 −S
11
)(1 −S
22
) −S
12
S
21
S
1
= (1 +S
11
)(1 −S
22
) +S
12
S
21
and
S
2
= (1 −S
11
)(1 +S
22
) +S
12
S
21
Refer ences
1 Ramo, S., Whi nnery, J. R., and Van Duzer, T.: Fields and Waves in Communica-
tion Electronics, 2nd edn (John Wi l ey & Sons I nc., 1984)
2 Marks, R. B., and Wi l l i ams, D. F.: ‘ A general wavegui de ci rcui t theory’ , Journal
of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1992;97:
533–62
Scattering parameters and circuit analysis 41
3 Wi l l i ams, D. F., and Al pert, B. K.: ‘ Characteri sti c i mpedance, power and
causal i ty’ , IEEE Microwave Guided Wave Letters, 1999;9 (5):181–3
4 Wi l l i ams, D. F., and Al pert, B. K.: ‘ Causal i ty and wavegui de ci rcui t theory’ ,
IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, 2001;49 (4):615–23
5 Shi bata, T., and I toh, T.: ‘ General i zed-scatteri ng-matri x model l i ng of wavegui de
ci rcui ts usi ng FDTD f i el d si mul ati ons’ IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory
and Techniques, 1998;46(11):1742–51
6 Marks, R. B., and Wi l l i ams, D. F.: ‘ Characteri sti c i mpedance determi nati on
usi ng propagati on constant measurement’ , IEEEMicrowave GuidedWave Letters,
1991;1 (6):141–3
7 Wi l l i ams, D. F., and Marks, R. B.: ‘ Transmi ssi on l i ne capaci tance measurement’ ,
IEEE Microwave Guided Wave Letters, 1991;1 (9):243–5
8 Wi l l i ams, D. F., Arz, U., and Grabi nski , H.: ‘ Characteri sti c-i mpedance measure-
ment error on l ossy substrates’ , IEEE Microwave Wireless Components Letters,
2001;1 (7):299–301
9 Engen, G. F., and Hoer, C. A.: ‘ Thru-ref l ect-l i ne: an i mproved techni que f or
cal i brati ng the dual si x-port automati c network anal yser’ , IEEE Transactions on
Microwave Theory and Techniques, 1979;M T T-27:987–93
10 Kuhn, N.: ‘ Si mpl i f i ed si gnal f l ow graph anal ysi s’ , Microwave Journal,
1963;6:59–66
11 Col l i n, R. E.: Foundations for Microwave Engineering, 2nd edn (McGraw-Hi l l ,
New York, 1966)
Fur ther r eading
1 Bryant, G. H.: Principles of Microwave Measurements, I EE El ectri cal measure-
ment seri es 5 (Peter Peregri nus, London, 1997)
2 Engen, G. F.: Microwave Circuit Theory and Foundations of Microwave
Metrology, I EE El ectri cal Measurement Seri es 9 (Peter Peregri nus, London,
1992)
3 Kerns, D. M., and Beatty, R. W.: Basic Theory of Waveguide Junctions and
Introductory Microwave Network Analysis, I nternati onal seri es of monographs i n
el ectromagneti c waves vol ume 13 (Pergamon Press, Oxf ord, 1969)
4 Soml o, P. I ., and Hunter, J. D.: Microwave Impedance Measurement, I EE
El ectri cal Measurement Seri es 2 (Peter Peregri nus, London, 1985)
Chapter 3
Uncer tainty and confidence in measur ements
John Hur l l
3.1 I ntr oduction
Theobj ecti veof ameasurement i sto determi netheval ueof themeasurand, that i s, the
speci f i c quanti ty subj ect to measurement. A measurement begi ns wi th an appropri ate
speci f i cati on of the measurand, the generi c method of measurement and the speci f i c
detai l ed measurement procedure. Knowl edge of the i nf l uence quanti ti es i nvol ved f or
a gi ven procedure i s i mportant so that the sources of uncertai nty can be i denti f i ed.
Each of these sources of uncertai nty wi l l contri bute to the uncertai nty associ ated wi th
the val ue assi gned to the measurand.
Thegui dancei n thi schapter i sbased on i nf ormati on i n theGui deto theExpressi on
of Uncer tai nty i n Measurement [ 1] , herei naf ter ref erred to as the GUM. The reader i s
al so ref erred to the UKAS document M3003 Edi ti on 2 [ 2] , whi ch uses termi nol ogy
and methodol ogy that are compati bl e wi th the GUM. M3003 i s avai l abl e as a f ree
downl oad at www.ukas.com.
A quanti ty (Q) i s a property of a phenomenon, body or substance to whi ch a
magni tude can be assi gned. The purpose of a measurement i s to assi gn a magni tude
to the measurand: the quanti ty i ntended to be measured. The assi gned magni tude i s
consi dered to be the best esti mate of the val ue of the measurand.
The uncertai nty eval uati on process wi l l encompass a number of i nf l uence quan-
ti ti es that aff ect the resul t obtai ned f or the measurand. These i nf l uence, or i nput,
quanti ti es are ref erred to as X and the output quanti ty, that i s, the measurand, i s
ref erred to as Y.
As there wi l l usual l y be several i nf l uence quanti ti es, they are di ff erenti ated f rom
each other by the subscri pt i , so there wi l l be several i nput quanti ti es cal l ed X
i
, where
i represents i nteger val ues f rom 1 to N (N bei ng the number of such quanti ti es). I n
other words, there wi l l be i nput quanti ti es of X
1
, X
2
, . . . , X
N
. One of the f i rst steps i s
to establ i sh the mathemati cal rel ati onshi p between the val ues of the i nput quanti ti es,
44 Mi crowave measurements
x
i
, and that of the measurand, y. Detai l s about the deri vati on of the mathemati cal
model can be f ound i n Appendi x D of M3003 [ 2] .
Each of these i nput quanti ti es wi l l have a correspondi ng val ue. For exampl e, one
quanti ty mi ght be the temperature of the envi ronment – thi s wi l l have a val ue, say
23

C. A l ower-case ‘ x’ represents the val ues of the quanti ti es. Hence the val ue of X
1
wi l l be x
1
, that of X
2
wi l l be x
2
, and so on.
Thepurposeof themeasurement i sto determi netheval ueof themeasurand, Y. As
wi th the i nput uncertai nti es, the val ue of the measurand i s represented by the l ower-
case l etter, that i s, y. The uncertai nty associ ated wi th y wi l l compri se a combi nati on
of the i nput, or x
i
, uncertai nti es.
The val ues x
i
of the i nput quanti ti es X
i
wi l l al l have an associ ated uncertai nty.
Thi s i s ref erred to as u(x
i
), that i s, ‘ the uncertai nty of x
i
’ . These val ues of u(x
i
) are,
i n f act, somethi ng known as the standard uncer tai nty.
Some uncertai nti es, parti cul arl y those associ ated wi th eval uati on of repeatabi l i ty,
haveto beeval uated by stati sti cal methods. Others havebeen eval uated by exami ni ng
other i nf ormati on, such asdatai n cal i brati on certi f i cates, eval uati on of l ong-termdri f t,
consi derati on of the eff ects of envi ronment, etc.
The GUM [ 1] di ff erenti ates between stati sti cal eval uati ons and those usi ng other
methods. I t categori ses them i nto two types – Type A and Type B.
Type A eval uati on of uncertai nty i s carri ed out usi ng stati sti cal anal ysi s of a seri es
of observati ons.
Type B eval uati on of uncertai nty i s carri ed out usi ng methods other than stati sti cal
anal ysi s of a seri es of observati ons.
I n paragraph 3.3.4 of the GUM [ 1] i t i s stated that the purpose of the Type A
and Type B cl assi f i cati on i s to i ndi cate the two di ff erent ways of eval uati ng uncer-
tai nty components, and i s f or conveni ence i n di scussi on onl y. Whether components
of uncertai nty are cl assi f i ed as ‘ random’ or ‘ systemati c’ i n rel ati on to a speci f i c
measurement process, or descri bed as Type A or Type B dependi ng on the method
of eval uati on, al l components regardl ess of cl assi f i cati on are model l ed by proba-
bi l i ty di stri buti ons quanti f i ed by vari ances or standard devi ati ons. Theref ore any
conventi on as to how they are cl assi f i ed does not aff ect the esti mati on of the total
uncertai nty. But i t shoul d al ways be remembered that when the terms ‘ random’ and
‘ systemati c’ are used they ref er to the eff ects of uncertai nty on a speci f i c mea-
surement process. I t i s the usual case that random components requi re Type A
eval uati ons and systemati c components requi re Type B eval uati ons, but there are
excepti ons.
For exampl e, a random eff ect can produce a f l uctuati on i n an i nstrument’ s i ndi -
cati on, whi ch i s both noi se-l i ke i n character and si gni f i cant i n terms of uncertai nty.
I t may then onl y be possi bl e to esti mate l i mi ts to the range of i ndi cated val ues. Thi s
i s not a common si tuati on but when i t occurs, a Type B eval uati on of the uncertai nty
component wi l l be requi red. Thi s i s done by assi gni ng l i mi t val ues and an associ ated
probabi l i ty di stri buti on, as i n the case of other Type B uncertai nti es.
The i nput uncertai nti es, associ ated wi th the val ues of the i nf l uence quanti ti es X
i
,
ari se i n a number of f orms. Some may be characteri sed as l i mi t val ues wi thi n whi ch
Uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurements 45
a a
Probability p
x
i

− a x
i
x
i

+ a
Fi gure 3.1 The expectati on val ue x
i
l i es i n the centre of a di str i buti on of possi bl e
val ues wi th a hal f-wi dth, or semi -r ange, of a
l i ttl e i s known about the most l i kel y pl ace wi thi n the l i mi ts where the ‘ true’ val ue
may l i e. I t theref ore has to be assumed that the ‘ true’ val ue i s equal l y l i kel y to l i e
anywhere wi thi n the assi gned l i mi ts.
Thi s concept i s i l l ustrated i n Fi gure 3.1, f rom whi ch i t can be seen that there i s
equal probabi l i ty of the val ue of x
i
bei ng anywhere wi thi n the range x
i
−a to x
i
+a
and zero probabi l i ty of i t bei ng outsi de these l i mi ts.
Thus, a contri buti on of uncertai nty f rom the i nf l uence quanti ty can be charac-
teri sed asaprobabi l i ty di str i buti on, that i s, arangeof possi bl eval ueswi th i nf ormati on
about the most l i kel y val ue of the i nput quanti ty x
i
. I n thi s exampl e, i t i s not possi bl e
to say that any parti cul ar posi ti on of x
i
wi thi n the range i s more or l ess l i kel y than
any other. Thi s i s because there i s no i nf ormati on avai l abl e upon whi ch to make such
a j udgement.
The probabi l i ty di stri buti ons associ ated wi th the i nput uncertai nti es are there-
f ore a ref l ecti on of the avai l abl e knowl edge about that parti cul ar quanti ty. I n many
cases, therewi l l bei nsuff i ci ent i nf ormati on avai l abl eto makeareasonabl ej udgement
and theref ore a uni f orm, or rectangul ar, probabi l i ty di stri buti on has to be assumed.
Fi gure 3.1 i s an exampl e of such a di stri buti on.
I f morei nf ormati on i savai l abl e, i t may bepossi bl eto assi gn adi ff erent probabi l i ty
di stri buti on to the val ue of a parti cul ar i nput quanti ty. For exampl e, a measurement
may be taken as the di fference i n readi ngs on a di gi tal scal e – typi cal l y, the zero
readi ng wi l l be subtracted f rom a readi ng taken f urther up the scal e. I f the scal e
i s l i near, both of these readi ngs wi l l have an associ ated rectangul ar di stri buti on of
i denti cal si ze. I f two i denti cal rectangul ar di stri buti ons, each of magni tude ±a, are
combi ned then the resul ti ng di stri buti on wi l l be tri angul ar wi th a semi -range of ±2a
(Fi gure 3.2).
There are other possi bl e di stri buti ons that may be encountered. For exampl e,
when maki ng measurements of radi o-f requency power, an uncertai nty ari ses due to
i mperf ect matchi ng between the source and the termi nati on. The i mperf ect match
usual l y i nvol ves an unknown phase angl e. Thi s means that a cosi ne f uncti on char-
acteri ses the probabi l i ty di stri buti on f or the uncertai nty. Harri s and Warner [ 3] have
46 Mi crowave measurements
Probability p
x
i
− 2a x
i
x
i
+ 2a
Fi gure 3.2 Combi nati on of two i denti cal rectangul ar di str i buti ons, each wi th semi -
r ange l i mi ts of ±a, yi el ds a tr i angul ar di str i buti on wi th a semi -r ange
of ±2a
shown that a symmetri cal U-shaped probabi l i ty di stri buti on ari ses f rom thi s eff ect.
I n thi s exampl e, the di stri buti on has been eval uated f rom a theoreti cal anal ysi s of the
pri nci pl es i nvol ved (Fi gure 3.3).
An eval uati on of theeff ectsof non-repeatabi l i ty, perf ormed by stati sti cal methods,
wi l l usual l y yi el d a Gaussi an or normal di stri buti on.
When a number of di stri buti ons of whatever f orm are combi ned i t can be shown
that, apart f rom i n one excepti onal case, the resul ti ng probabi l i ty di stri buti on tends to
the normal f orm i n accordance wi th the Central Li mi t Theorem. The i mportance of
thi s i s that i t makes i t possi bl e to assi gn a l evel of conf i dence i n terms of probabi l i ty
to the combi ned uncertai nty. The excepti onal case ari ses when one contri buti on to the
total uncertai nty domi nates; i n thi s ci rcumstance, the resul ti ng di stri buti on departs
l i ttl e f rom that of the domi nant contri buti on.
Note: I f thedomi nant contri buti on i si tsel f normal i n f orm, then cl earl y theresul ti ng di stri buti on
wi l l al so be normal .
When the i nput uncertai nti es are combi ned, a normal di stri buti on wi l l usual l y
be obtai ned. The normal di stri buti on i s descri bed i n terms of a standard devi ati on.
I t wi l l theref ore be necessary to express the i nput uncertai nti es i n terms that, when
combi ned, wi l l cause the resul ti ng normal di stri buti on to be expressed at the one
standard devi ati on l evel , l i ke the exampl e i n Fi gure 3.4.
As some of the i nput uncertai nti es are expressed as l i mi t val ues (e.g. the rectan-
gul ar di stri buti on), some processi ng i s needed to convert them i nto thi s f orm, whi ch
i s known as a standard uncertai nty and i s ref erred to as u(x
i
).
Uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurements 47
x
i

− a
x
i
x
i

+ a
Fi gure 3.3 U-shaped di str i buti on, associ ated wi th RF mi smatch uncer tai nty. For
thi s si tuati on, x
i
i s l i kel y to be cl ose to one or other of the edges of the
di str i buti on
Fi gure 3.4 Thenor mal , or Gaussi an, probabi l i ty di str i buti on. Thi s i s obtai ned when
a number of di str i buti ons, of any for m, are combi ned and the condi ti ons
of the Centr al Li mi t Theorem are met. I n pr acti ce, i f three or more
di str i buti ons of si mi l ar magni tude are present, they wi l l combi ne to
for m a reasonabl e approxi mati on to the nor mal di str i buti on. The si ze
of the di str i buti on i s descr i bed i n ter ms of a standard devi ati on. The
shaded area represents ±1 standard devi ati on from the centre of the
di str i buti on. Thi s cor responds to approxi matel y 68 per cent of the area
under the cur ve
48 Mi crowave measurements
When i t i s possi bl e to assess onl y the upper and l ower bounds of an error, a
rectangul ar probabi l i ty di stri buti on shoul d be assumed f or the uncertai nty associ -
ated wi th thi s error. Then, i f a
i
i s the semi -range l i mi t, the standard uncertai nty
i s gi ven by u(x
i
) =a
i
/

3. Tabl e 3.1 gi ves the expressi ons f or thi s and f or other
si tuati ons.
The quanti ti es X
i
that aff ect the measurand Y may not have a di rect, one to
one, rel ati onshi p wi th i t. I ndeed, they may be enti rel y di ff erent uni ts al together. For
exampl e, a di mensi onal l aboratory may use steel gauge bl ocks f or cal i brati on of
measuri ng tool s. A si gni f i cant i nf l uence quanti ty i s temperature. Because the gauge
bl ocks have a si gni f i cant temperature coeff i ci ent of expansi on, there i s an uncertai nty
that ari ses i n thei r l ength due to an uncertai nty i n temperature uni ts.
I n order to transl atethetemperatureuncertai nty i nto an uncertai nty i n l ength uni ts,
i t i s necessary to know how sensi ti ve the l ength of the gauge bl ock i s to temperature.
I n other words, a sensi ti vi ty coeffi ci ent i s requi red.
The sensi ti vi ty coeff i ci ent si mpl y descri bes how sensi ti ve the resul t i s to a
parti cul ar i nf l uence quanti ty. I n thi s exampl e, the steel used i n the manuf ac-
ture of gauge bl ocks has a temperature coeff i ci ent of expansi on of approxi matel y
+11.5 ×10
−6
per

C. So, i n thi s case, thi s f i gure can be used as the sensi ti vi ty
coeff i ci ent.
The sensi ti vi ty coeff i ci ent associ ated wi th each i nput quanti ty X
i
i s ref erred to as
c
i
. I t i s the parti al deri vati ve ∂f /∂x
i
, where f i s the f uncti onal rel ati onshi p between
the i nput quanti ti es and the measurand. I n other words, i t descri bes how the output
esti mate y vari es wi th a correspondi ng smal l change i n an i nput esti mate x
i
.
The cal cul ati ons requi red to obtai n sensi ti vi ty coeff i ci ents by parti al di ff erenti a-
ti on can be a l engthy process, parti cul arl y when there are many i nput contri buti ons
and uncertai nty esti mates are needed f or a range of val ues. I f the f uncti onal rel ati on-
shi p i s not known f or a parti cul ar measurement system the sensi ti vi ty coeff i ci ents
can someti mes be obtai ned by the practi cal approach of changi ng one of the i nput
vari abl es by aknown amount, whi l ekeepi ng al l other i nputs constant, wi th no change
i n the output esti mate. Thi s approach can al so be used i f f i s known, but i f f i s not a
strai ghtf orward f uncti on the determi nati on of parti al deri vati ves requi red i s l i kel y to
be error-prone.
A more strai ghtf orward approach i s to repl ace the parti al deri vati ve ∂f /∂x
i
by
the quoti ent f /x
i
, where f i s the change i n f resul ti ng f rom a change x
i
i n
x
i
. I t i s i mportant to choose the magni tude of the change x
i
caref ul l y. I t shoul d
be bal anced between bei ng suff i ci entl y l arge to obtai n adequate numeri cal accuracy
i n f and suff i ci entl y smal l to provi de a mathemati cal l y sound approxi mati on to
the parti al deri vati ve. The exampl e i n Fi gure 3.5 i l l ustrates thi s, and why i t i s nec-
essary to know the f uncti onal rel ati onshi p between the i nf l uence quanti ti es and the
measurand. I f the uncertai nty i n d i s, say, ±0.1 m then the esti mate of h coul d be
anywhere between (7.0 −0.1) tan (37) and (7.0 +0.1) tan (37), that i s, between
5.200 and 5.350 m. A change of ±0.1 m i n the i nput quanti ty x
i
has resul ted i n a
change of ±0.075 m i n the output esti mate y. The sensi ti vi ty coeff i ci ent i s theref ore
(0.075/0.1) = 0.75.
Uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurements 49
Tabl e 3.1 Probabi l i ty di str i buti ons and standard uncer tai nti es
Assumed
probabi l i ty
di stri buti on
Expressi on used to obtai n
the standard uncertai nty
Comments or exampl es
Rectangul ar u(x
i
) =
a
i

3
A di gi tal thermometer has a l east si gni f i cant di gi t of
0.1

C. The numeri c roundi ng caused by f i ni te
resol uti on wi l l have semi -range l i mi ts of 0.05

C.
Thus the correspondi ng standard uncertai nty wi l l be
u(x
i
) =
a
i

3
=
0.05
1.732
= 0.029

C.
U-shaped u(x
i
) =
a
i

2
A mi smatch uncertai nty associ ated wi th the
cal i brati on of an RF power sensor has been eval uated
as havi ng semi -range l i mi ts of 1.3%. Thus the
correspondi ng standard uncertai nty wi l l be
u(x
i
) =
a
i

2
=
1.3
1.414
= 0.92%.
Tri angul ar u(x
i
) =
a
i

6
A tensi l e testi ng machi ne i s used i n a testi ng
l aboratory where the ai r temperature can vary
randoml y but does not depart f rom the nomi nal val ue
by more than 3

C. The machi ne has a l arge thermal
mass and i s theref ore most l i kel y to be at the mean ai r
temperature, wi th no probabi l i ty of bei ng outsi de the
3

C l i mi ts. I t i s reasonabl e to assume a tri angul ar
di stri buti on, theref ore the standard uncertai nty f or i ts
temperature i s u(x
i
) =
a
i

6
=
3
2.449
= 1.2

C.
Normal (f rom
repeatabi l i ty
eval uati on)
u(x
i
) = s(¯ q) A stati sti cal eval uati on of repeatabi l i ty gi ves the resul t
i n terms of one standard devi ati on; theref ore no
f urther processi ng i s requi red.
Normal (f rom a
cal i brati on
certi f i cate)
u(x
i
) =
U
k
A cal i brati on certi f i cate normal l y quotes an expanded
uncertai nty U at a speci f i ed, hi gh l evel of conf i dence.
A coverage f actor, k, wi l l have been used to obtai n
thi s expanded uncertai nty f rom the combi nati on of
standard uncertai nti es. I t i s theref ore necessary to
di vi de the expanded uncertai nty by the same coverage
f actor to obtai n the standard uncertai nty.
Normal (f rom a
manuf acturer’ s
speci f i cati on)
u(x
i
) =
Tol erance l i mi t
k
Some manuf acturers’ speci f i cati ons are quoted at a
gi ven conf i dence l evel , f or exampl e, 95% or 99%. I n
such cases, a normal di stri buti on can be assumed and
the tol erance l i mi t i s di vi ded by the coverage f actor k
f or the stated conf i dence l evel . For a conf i dence l evel
of 95%, k = 2 and f or a conf i dence l evel of 99%,
k = 2.58.
I f a conf i dence l evel i s not stated then a rectangul ar
di stri buti on shoul d be assumed.
50 Mi crowave measurements
Φ
d
Fi gure 3.5 The hei ght h of a fl agpol e i s deter mi ned by measur i ng the angl e
obtai ned when obser vi ng the top of the pol e at a speci fi ed di stance d.
Thus h = d tan . Both h and d are i n uni ts of l ength but the rel ated
by tan . I n other words, h = f (d) = d tan . I f the measured
di stance i s 7.0 m and the measured angl e i s 37

, the esti mated hei ght i s
7.0 ×tan(37) = 5.275 m.
Si mi l ar reasoni ng can be appl i ed to the uncertai nty i n the angl e . I f the uncer-
tai nty i n i s ±0.5

, then the esti mate of h coul d be anywhere between 7.0 tan (36.5)
and 7.0 tan (37.5), that i s, between 5.179 and 5.371 m. A change of ±0.5

i n the
i nput quanti ty x
i
has resul ted i n a change of ±0.096 m i n the output esti mate y. The
sensi ti vi ty coeff i ci ent i s theref ore (0.096/0.5) =0.192 m per degree.
Once the standard uncertai nti es x
i
and the sensi ti vi ty coeff i ci ents c
i
have been
eval uated, the uncertai nti es have to be combi ned i n order to gi ve a si ngl e val ue of
uncertai nty to be associ ated wi th the esti mate y of the measurand Y. Thi s i s known
as the combi ned standard uncer tai nty and i s gi ven the symbol u
c
(y).
The combi ned standard uncertai nty i s cal cul ated as f ol l ows:
u
c
(y) =

N

i =1
c
2
i
u
2
(x
i
) ≡

N

i =1
u
2
i
(y). (3.1)
I n other words, the i ndi vi dual standard uncertai nti es, expressed i n terms of the
measurand, are squared; these squared val ues are added and the square root i s taken.
An exampl e of thi s process i s presented i n Tabl e 3.2, usi ng the data f rom the
measurement of the f l agpol e hei ght descri bed previ ousl y. For the purposes of the
exampl e, i t i s assumed that the repeatabi l i ty of the process has been eval uated by
maki ng repeat measurements of the f l agpol e hei ght, gi vi ng an esti mated standard
devi ati on of the mean of 0.05 m.
I n accordancewi th theCentral Li mi t Theorem, thi scombi ned standard uncertai nty
takes the f orm of a normal di stri buti on. As the i nput uncertai nti es had been expressed
i n terms of a standard uncertai nty, the resul ti ng normal di stri buti on i s expressed as
one standard devi ati on, as i l l ustrated i n Fi gure 3.6.
Uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurements 51
Tabl e 3.2 Cal cul ati on of combi ned standard uncer tai nty u
i
(y) from standard
uncer tai nti es y
i
(y)
Source of Val ue Probabi l i ty Di vi sor Sensi ti vi ty Standard
uncertai nty di stri buti on coeff i ci ent uncertai nty u
i
(y)
Di stance f rom
f l agpol e
0.1 m Rectangul ar

3 0.75
0.1

3
×0.75 = 0.0433 m
Angl e
measurement
0.5 m per Rectangul ar

3 0.192 m per
degree
0.5

3
×0.192 = 0.0554 m
degree
Repeatabi l i ty 0.05 m Normal 1 1
0.05
1
×1 = 0.05 m
Combi ned standard uncertai nty u
c
(y) =

0.0433
2
+0.0554
2
+0.05
2
= 0.0863 m
y
5.275 m
y – 0.0863 m y + 0.0863 m
Fi gure 3.6 The measured val ue y i s at the centre of a nor mal di str i buti on wi th
a standard devi ati on equal to u
c
(y). The fi gures shown rel ate to the
exampl e di scussed i n the text
For a normal di stri buti on, the 1 standard devi ati on l i mi ts encompass 68.27 per
cent of the area under the curve. Thi s means that there i s about 68 per cent conf i dence
that the measured val ue y l i es wi thi n the stated l i mi ts.
The GUM [ 1] recogni ses the need f or provi di ng a hi gh l evel of conf i dence associ -
ated wi th an uncertai nty and usestheterm expanded uncer tai nty, U , whi ch i sobtai ned
by mul ti pl yi ng thecombi ned standard uncertai nty by a cover age factor . Thecoverage
52 Mi crowave measurements
f actor i s gi ven the symbol k, thus the expanded uncertai nty i s gi ven by
U = ku
c
(y)
I n accordance wi th general l y accepted i nternati onal practi ce, i t i s recommended that
a coverage f actor of k =2 i s used to cal cul ate the expanded uncertai nty. Thi s val ue
of k wi l l gi ve a l evel of conf i dence, or cover age probabi l i ty, of approxi matel y 95 per
cent, assumi ng a normal di stri buti on.
Note: A coverage f actor of k =2 actual l y provi des a coverage probabi l i ty of 95.45 per cent
f or a normal di stri buti on. For conveni ence thi s i s approxi mated to 95 per cent whi ch rel ates
to a coverage f actor of k =1.96. However, the di ff erence i s not general l y si gni f i cant si nce, i n
practi ce, the l evel of conf i dence i s based on conservati ve assumpti ons and approxi mati ons to
the tr ue probabi l i ty di stri buti ons.
Example: The measurement of the hei ght of the f l agpol e had a combi ned standard uncertai nty
u
c
(y) of 0.0863 m. Hence the expanded uncertai nty U =ku
c
(y) =2 ×0.0863 =0.173 m.
There may be si tuati ons where a normal di stri buti on cannot be assumed and a
di ff erent coverage f actor may be needed i n order to obtai n a conf i dence l evel of
approxi matel y 95 per cent. Thi s i s done by obtai ni ng a new coverage f actor based
on the eff ecti ve degrees of f reedom of u
c
(y). Detai l s of thi s process can be f ound i n
Appendi x B of M3003 [ 2] .
There may al so be si tuati ons where a normal di stri buti on can be assumed, but a
di ff erent l evel of conf i dence i s requi red. For exampl e, i n saf ety-cri ti cal si tuati ons a
hi gher coverage probabi l i ty may be more appropri ate. Tabl e 3.3 gi ves the coverage
f actor necessary to obtai n vari ous l evel s of conf i dence f or a normal di stri buti on.
3.2 Sour ces of uncer tainty in RF and micr owave measur ements
3.2.1 RF mi smatch er ror s and uncer tai nty
At RF and mi crowave f requenci es the mi smatch of components to the character-
i sti c i mpedance of the measurement system transmi ssi on l i ne can be one of the
Tabl e 3.3 Cover age factor necessar y to obtai n
var i ous l evel s of confi dence for a
nor mal di str i buti on
Coverage probabi l i ty p (%) Coverage f actor k
90 1.65
95 1.96
95.45 2.00
99 2.58
99.73 3.00
Uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurements 53
most i mportant sources of error and of the systemati c component of uncertai nty i n
power and attenuati on measurements. Thi s i s because the phases of vol tage ref l ecti on
coeff i ci ents (VRCs) are not usual l y known and hence correcti ons cannot be appl i ed.
I n a power measurement system, the power, P
0
, that woul d be absorbed i n a l oad
equal to the characteri sti c i mpedance of the transmi ssi on l i ne has been shown [ 3] to
be rel ated to the actual power, P
L
, absorbed i n a wattmeter termi nati ng the l i ne by
the equati on
P
0
=
P
L
1 −|
L
|
2
(1 −2|
G
||
L
| cosϕ +|
G
|
2
|
L
|
2
) (3.2)
where ϕ i s the rel ati ve phase of the generator and l oad VRCs
G
and
L
. When
G
and
L
are smal l , thi s becomes
P
0
=
P
L
1 −|
L
|
2
(1 −2|
G
||
L
| cosϕ) (3.3)
When ϕ i s unknown, thi s expressi on f or absorbed power can have l i mi ts.
P
0
(l i mi ts) =
P
L
1 −|
L
|
2
(1 ±2|
G
||
L
|) (3.4)
Thecal cul abl emi smatch error i s1−|
L
|
2
and i saccounted f or i n thecal i brati on f actor,
whi l e the l i mi ts of mi smatch uncertai nty are ±2|
L
||
G
|. Because a cosi ne f uncti on
characteri ses the probabi l i ty di stri buti on f or the uncertai nty, Harri s and Warner [ 3]
showed that the di stri buti on i s U-shaped wi th a standard devi ati on gi ven by
u(mi smatch) =
2|
G
||
L
|

2
= 1.414
G

L
(3.5)
When a measurement i s made of the attenuati on of a two-port component i nserted
between a generator and l oad that are not perf ectl y matched to the transmi ssi on
l i ne, Harri s and Warner [ 3] have shown that the standard devi ati on of mi smatch, M ,
expressed i n dB i s approxi mated by
M =
8.686

2
[|
G
|
2
(|s
11a
|
2
+|s
11b
|
2
) +|
L
|
2
(|s
22a
|
2
+|s
22b
|
2
)
+|
G
|
2
· |
L
|
2
(|s
21a
|
4
+|s
21b
|
4
)]
0.5
(3.6)
where
G
and
L
are the source and l oad VRCs, respecti vel y, and s
11
, s
22
, s
21
are the scatteri ng coeff i ci ents of the two-port component wi th the suff i x a ref er-
ri ng to the starti ng val ue of the attenuator and b ref erri ng to the f i ni shi ng val ue of
the attenuator. Harri s and Warner [ 3] concl uded that the di stri buti on f or M woul d
approxi mate to that of a normal di stri buti on due to the combi nati on of i ts component
di stri buti ons.
The val ues of
G
and
L
used i n (3.4) and (3.5) and the scatteri ng coeff i ci ents
used i n (3.6) wi l l themsel ves be subj ect to uncertai nty because they are deri ved f rom
measurements. Thi s uncertai nty has to be consi dered when cal cul ati ng the mi smatch
uncertai nty and i t i s recommended that thi s i s done by addi ng i t i n quadrature wi th the
54 Mi crowave measurements
measured or deri ved val ue of the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent; f or exampl e, i f the measured
val ue of
L
i s 0.03 ±0.02 then the val ue of
L
that shoul d be used to cal cul ate the
mi smatch uncertai nty i s

0.03
2
+0.02
2
, that i s, 0.036.
3.2.2 Di recti vi ty
When maki ng VRC measurements at RF and mi crowave f requenci es, the f i ni te
di recti vi ty of the bri dge or ref l ectometer gi ves ri se to an uncertai nty i n the mea-
sured val ue of the VRC, i f onl y the magni tude and not the phase of the di recti vi ty
component i s known. The uncertai nty wi l l be equal to the di recti vi ty, expressed i n
l i near terms; f or exampl e, a di recti vi ty of 30 dB i s equi val ent to an uncertai nty of
±0.0316 VRC.
Asabove, i t i srecommended that theuncertai nty i n themeasurement of di recti vi ty
i s taken i nto account by addi ng themeasured val uei n quadraturewi th theuncertai nty,
i n l i near quanti ti es; f or exampl e, i f themeasured di recti vi ty of abri dgei s36 dB (0.016)
and has an uncertai nty of +8 dB −4 dB (±0.01) then the di recti vi ty to be used i s

0.016
2
+0.01
2
=0.019 (34.4 dB).
3.2.3 Test por t match
The test port match of a bri dge or ref l ectometer used f or ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent mea-
surements wi l l gi ve ri se to an error i n the measured VRC due to re-ref l ecti on. The
uncertai nty, u(TP), i scal cul ated f rom u(TP) =TP.
2
X
whereTPi sthetest port match,
expressed asaVRC, and
X
i sthemeasured ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent. When adi recti onal
coupl er i s used to moni tor i nci dent power i n the cal i brati on of a power meter, i t i s
the eff ecti ve source match of the coupl er that def i nes the val ue of
G
. The measured
val ue of test port match wi l l have an uncertai nty that shoul d be taken i nto account by
usi ng quadrature summati on.
3.2.4 RF connector repeatabi l i ty
The l ack of repeatabi l i ty of coaxi al pai r i nserti on l oss and, to a l esser extent, VRC i s
a probl em when cal i brati ng devi ces i n a coaxi al l i ne measurement system and sub-
sequentl y usi ng them i n some other system. Al though connecti ng and di sconnecti ng
the devi ce can eval uate the repeatabi l i ty of parti cul ar connector pai rs i n use, these
connector pai rs are onl y sampl es f rom a whol e popul ati on. To obtai n representati ve
data f or al l the vari ous types of connector i n use i s beyond the resources of most
measurement l aboratori es; however, some usef ul gui dance can be obtai ned f rom the
ANAMET Connector Gui de [ 4] .
3.2.5 Exampl e – cal i br ati on of a coaxi al power sensor at a frequency
of 18 GHz
The measurement i nvol ves the cal i brati on of an unknown power sensor agai nst a
standard power sensor by substi tuti on on a stabl e, moni tored source of known source
Uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurements 55
i mpedance. The measurement i s made i n terms of Cal i brati on f actor, def i ned as
I nci dent power at ref erence f requency
I nci dent power at cal i brati on f requency
f or the same power sensor response and i s determi ned f rom the f ol l owi ng:
Cal i brati on f actor, K
X
= (K
s
+D
s
) ×δDC ×δM ×δREF (3.7)
where K
S
i s the cal i brati on f actor of the standard sensor, D
S
i s the dri f t i n standard
sensor si ncetheprevi ouscal i brati on, δDC i stherati o of DC vol tageoutputs, δM i sthe
rati o of mi smatch l osses and δREF i s the rati o of ref erence power source (short-term
stabi l i ty of 50 MHz ref erence).
Four separatemeasurementsweremadewhi ch i nvol ved di sconnecti on and recon-
necti on of both the unknown sensor and the standard sensor on a power transf er
system. Al l measurements were made i n terms of vol tage rati os that are proporti onal
to cal i brati on f actor.
There wi l l be mi smatch uncertai nti es associ ated wi th the source/standard sen-
sor combi nati on and wi th the source/unknown sensor combi nati on. These wi l l be
200
G

S
per cent and 200
G

X
per cent, respecti vel y, where

G
= 0.02 at 50 MHz and 0.07 at 18 GHz

S
= 0.02 at 50 MHz and 0.10 at 18 GHz

X
= 0.02 at 50 MHz and 0.12 at 18 GHz.
These val ues are assumed to i ncl ude the uncertai nty i n the measurement of .
The standard power sensor was cal i brated by an accredi ted l aboratory 6 months
bef ore use; the expanded uncertai nty of ±1.1 per cent was quoted f or a coverage
f actor k =2.
The l ong-term stabi l i ty of the standard sensor was esti mated f rom the resul ts of
f i ve annual cal i brati ons to have rectangul ar l i mi ts not greater than ±0.4 per cent per
year. A val ue of ±0.2 per cent i s assumed as the previ ous cal i brati on was wi thi n
6 months.
The i nstrumentati on l i neari ty uncertai nty was esti mated f rom measurements
agai nst a ref erence attenuati on standard. The expanded uncertai nty f or k =2 of ±0.1
per cent appl i es to rati os up to 2:1.
Type A eval uati on
The f our measurements resul ted i n the f ol l owi ng val ues of Cal i brati on f actor: 93.45,
92.20, 93.95 and 93.02 per cent.
The mean val ue
¯
K
X
=93.16 per cent.
The standard devi ati on of the mean, u(K
R
) =s(
¯
K
X
) =0.7415/

4 =0.3707
per cent.
56 Mi crowave measurements
Tabl e 3.4 Uncer tai nty budget
Symbol Source of
uncertai nty
Val ue ±% Probabi l i ty
di stri buti on
Di vi sor c
i
u
i
(K
x
)% v
i
or
v
eff
K
S
Cal i brati on f actor
of standard
1.1 Normal 2.0 1.0 0.55 ∞
D
S
Dri f t si nce l ast
cal i brati on
0.2 Rectangul ar

3 1.0 0.116 ∞
δDC I nstrumentati on
l i neari ty
0.1 Normal 2.0 1.0 0.05 ∞
δM Stabi l i ty of
50 MHz
ref erence
0.2 Rectangul ar

3 1.0 0.116 ∞
Mi smatch:
M
1
Standard sensor
at 50 MHz
0.08 U-shaped

2 1.0 0.06 ∞
M
2
Unknown sensor
at 50 MHz
0.08 U-shaped

2 1.0 0.06 ∞
M
3
Standard sensor
at 18 GHz
1.40 U-shaped

2 1.0 0.99 ∞
M
4
Unknown sensor
at 18 GHz
1.68 U-shaped

2 1.0 1.19 ∞
K
R
Repeatabi l i ty of
i ndi cati on
0.37 Normal 1.0 1.0 0.37 3
u(K
X
) Combi ned
standard
uncertai nty
Normal 1.69 >500
U Expanded
uncertai nty
Normal (k = 2) 3.39 >500
3.2.5.1 Repor ted r esult
The measured cal i brati on f actor at 18 GHz i s 93.2% ±3.4%.
The reported expanded uncertai nty (Tabl e 3.4) i s based on a standard uncertai nty
mul ti pl i ed by a coverage f actor k =2, provi di ng a coverage probabi l i ty of approxi -
matel y
95 per cent.
3.2.5.2 Notes
(1) For the measurement of cal i brati on f actor, the uncertai nty i n the absol ute
val ueof the50 MHz ref erencesourceneed not bei ncl uded i f thestandard and
unknown sensors are cal i brated usi ng the same source, wi thi n the ti mescal e
al l owed f or i ts short-term stabi l i ty.
Uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurements 57
(2) Thi s exampl e i l l ustrates the si gni f i cance of mi smatch uncertai nty i n mea-
surements at rel ati vel y hi gh f requenci es.
(3) I n a subsequent use of a sensor f urther random components of uncertai nty
may ari se due to the use of di ff erent connector pai rs.
Refer ences
1 BI PM, I EC, I FCC, I SO, I UPAC, I UPAP, OI ML. Gui deto theExpressi on of Uncer -
tai nty i n Measurement. I nternati onal Organi sati on f or Standardi zati on, Geneva,
Swi tzerl and. I SBN 92-67-10188-9, Fi rst Edi ti on 1993. BSI Equi val ent: BSI
PD 6461: 1995, Vocabul ar y of Metrol ogy, Par t 3. Gui de to the Expressi on of
Uncer tai nty i n Measurement. BSI I SBN 0 580 23482 7
2 Uni ted Ki ngdom Accredi tati on Servi ce, The Expressi on of Uncer tai nty and
Confi dence i n Measurement, M3003, 2nd edn, January 2007
3 Harri s, I . A., and Warner, F. L.: ‘ Re-exami nati on of mi smatch uncertai nty
when measuri ng mi crowave power and attenuati on’ , I EE Proc. H, Mi crow. Opt.
Antennas, 1981;128 (1):35–41
4 Nati onal Physi cal Laboratory, ANAMET Connector Gui de, 3rd edn, 2007
Chapter 4
Using coaxial connector s in measur ement
Doug Ski nner
Di scl ai mer
Ever y effor t has been made to ensure that thi s chapter contai ns accur ate i nfor mati on
obtai ned from many sources that are acknowl edged where possi bl e. However, the
NPL, ANAMET and the Compi l er cannot accept l i abi l i ty for any er ror s, omi ssi ons or
mi sl eadi ng statements i n the i nfor mati on. The compi l er woul d al so l i ke to thank al l
those member s of ANAMET who have suppl i ed i nfor mati on, commented on and gi ven
advi ce on the prepar ati on of thi s chapter.
4.1 I ntr oduction
The i mportance of the correct use of coaxi al connectors not onl y appl i es at radi o
and mi crowave f requenci es but al so at DC and l ow f requency. The requi rement
f or ‘ Traceabi l i ty to Nati onal Standards’ f or measurements throughout the i ndustry
may depend on several di ff erent cal i brati on systems ‘ seei ng’ the same val ues f or the
parameters presented by a devi ce at i ts coaxi al termi nal s. I t i s not possi bl e to i ncl ude
al l themany di ff erent types of connector i n thi s gui deand thesel ecti on has been made
on those connectors used on measuri ng i nstruments and f or metrol ogy use.
I t i s of vi tal i mportance to note that mechani cal damage can be i nf l i cted on a
connector when a connecti on or di sconnecti on i s made at any ti me duri ng i ts use.
The common types of preci si on and general -purpose coaxi al connector that are i n
vol ume use worl dwi de are the Type N, GPC 3.5 mm, Type K, 7/16, TNC, BNC and
SMA connectors. These connectors are empl oyed f or i nterconnecti on of components
and cabl es i n mi l i tary, space, i ndustri al and domesti c appl i cati ons.
The si mpl e concept of a coaxi al connector compri ses an outer conductor contact,
an i nner conductor contact, and means f or mechani cal coupl i ng to a cabl e and/or
60 Mi crowave measurements
to another connector. Most connectors, i n parti cul ar the general -purpose types, are
composed of a pi n and socket constructi on.
There are basi cal l y two types of coaxi al connector i n use and they are known as
l aboratory preci si on connectors(LPC), usi ng onl y ai r di el ectri c, and general preci si on
connectors (GPC), havi ng a sel f contai ned, l ow ref l ecti on di el ectri c support. There
are al so a number of general -purpose connectors i n use wi thi n the GPC group but
they are not recommended f or metrol ogy use.
Some connectors are hermaphrodi ti c (non-sexed), parti cul arl y some of the l ab-
oratory preci si on types, and any two connectors may be j oi ned together. They have
pl anar butt contacts and are pri nci pal l y empl oyed f or use on measurement standards
and on equi pment and cal i brati on systems where the best possi bl e uncertai nty of
measurement i s essenti al . Most of the non-sexed connectors have a ref erence pl ane
that i s common to both the outer and i nner conductors. The mechani cal and el ectri cal
ref erence pl anes coi nci de and, i n the case of the preci si on connectors, a physi cal l y
real i sed ref erencepl anei scl earl y def i ned. Hermaphrodi ti c connectorsareused where
the el ectri cal l ength and the characteri sti c i mpedance are requi red at the hi ghest accu-
racy. The 14 mm and 7 mm connectors are exampl es of thi s type of constructi on and
they are expensi ve.
GPCs of the pl ug and socket constructi on l ook si mi l ar but the materi al s used i n
the constructi on can vary. The best qual i ty connectors are more robust, whi ch use
stai nl ess steel , and the mechani cal tol erances are more preci se. I t i s i mportant to be
cl ear on the qual i ty of the connector bei ng used. The GPC types i n common use are
the Type N 7 mm, GPC 3.5 mm, Type K 2.92 mm, GPC 2.4 mm and Type V 1.85 mm.
Thechoi ceof connectors, f rom therangeof establ i shed desi gns, must beappropri -
ate to the proposed f uncti on and speci f i cati on of the devi ce or measurement system.
Of ten a user requi rement i s f or a l ong-l i f e qual i ty connector wi th mi ni mum eff ect on
the perf ormance of the devi ce i t i s used on and the repeatabi l i ty of the connecti on i s
general l y one of the most i mportant parameters.
4.1.1 Coaxi al l i ne si zes
Some coaxi al l i ne si zes f or establ i shi ng a characteri sti c i mpedance of 50 are shown
i n Tabl e 4.1. They are chosen to achi eve the desi red perf ormance over thei r operati ng
f requency range up to 110 GHz.
Tabl e 4.1 Coaxi al l i ne si zes for 50 char acter i sti c i mpedance
I nsi de di ameter of the outer conductor
i n mm (nomi nal )
14.29 7.00 3.50 2.92 2.40 1.85 1.00
Rated mi ni mum upper f requency l i mi t
i n GHz
8.5 18.0 33.0 40.0 50.0 65.0 110.0
Theoreti cal l i mi t i n GHz f or the onset
of the TE
11
(H
11
) mode
9.5 19.4 38.8 46.5 56.5 73.3 135.7
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 61
4.2 Connector r epeatability
Connectors i n use on test apparatus and measuri ng i nstruments at al l l evel s need
to be mai ntai ned i n pri sti ne condi ti on i n order to retai n the perf ormance of the test
apparatus. The connector repeatabi l i ty i s a key contri buti on to the perf ormance of a
measurement system.
Connector repeatabi l i ty can be greatl y i mpai red because of carel ess assembl y,
mi sal i gnment, over-ti ghteni ng, i nappropri ate handl i ng, poor storage and uncl ean
worki ng condi ti ons. I n extreme cases, permanent damage can be caused to the con-
nectors concerned and possi bl y to other ori gi nal l y sound connectors to whi ch they
are coupl ed.
Connectors shoul d never be rotated rel ati ve to one another when bei ng connected
and di sconnected. Speci al care shoul d be taken to avoi d rotati ng the mati ng pl ane
surf aces agai nst one another.
4.2.1 Handl i ng of ai r l i nes
When handl i ng or usi ng ai rl i nes and si mi l ar devi ces used i n automati c network anal -
yser, cal i brati on and veri f i cati on ki ts, i t i sextremel y i mportant to avoi d contami nati on
of the component parts due to moi sture and f i nger marks on the l i nes. Protecti ve l i nt-
f ree cotton gl oves shoul d al ways be worn. The f ai l ure to f ol l ow thi s advi ce may
si gni f i cantl y reduce perf ormance and usef ul l i f e of the ai rl i nes.
4.2.2 Assessment of connector repeatabi l i ty
I n a parti cul ar cal i brati on or measurement system, repeatabi l i ty of the coaxi al i nter-
connecti ons can be assessed f rom measurements made af ter repeatedl y di sconnecti ng
and reconnecti ng the devi ce. I t i s cl earl y necessary to ensure that al l the other
condi ti ons l i kel y to i nf l uence the al i gnment are mai ntai ned as constant as possi bl e.
I n some measurement si tuati ons, i t i s i mportant that the number of repeat
connecti ons made uses the same posi ti onal al i gnment of the connectors.
I n other si tuati ons, i t i s best to rotate one connector rel ati ve to the other between
connecti ons and reconnecti ons. For exampl e, when cal i brati ng or usi ng devi ces f i tted
wi th Type N connectors (e.g. power sensors or attenuator pads) three rotati ons of
120

or f i ve rotati ons of 72

are made. However, i t i s i mportant to remember to make
the rotati on bef ore maki ng the contact.
The repeatabi l i ty determi nati on wi l l normal l y be carri ed out when tryi ng to
achi eve the best measurement capabi l i ty on a parti cul ar devi ce, or when i ni ti al l y
cal i brati ng a measuri ng system. The number of reconnecti ons and rotati ons can then
be recommended i n the measurement procedure.
Repeatabi l i ty of the i nserti on l oss of coaxi al connectors i ntroduces a maj or con-
tri buti on to the Type A component of uncertai nty i n a measurement process. I f a
measurement i nvol vi ng connectors i s repeated several ti mes, the Type A uncertai nty
contri buti on deduced f rom the resul ts wi l l i ncl ude that ari si ng f rom the connector
repeatabi l i ty provi ded that the connecti on concerned i s broken and remade at each
repeti ti on.
62 Mi crowave measurements
I t shoul d be remembered that a connecti on has to be made at l east once when
connecti ng an i tem under test to thetest equi pment and thi sgi vesri seto acontri buti on
to the Type A uncertai nty contri buti on associ ated wi th the connector repeatabi l i ty.
Experi ence has shown that there i s l i ttl e di ff erence i n perf ormance between pre-
ci si on and ordi nary connectors (when new) so f ar as the repeatabi l i ty of connecti on
i s concerned, but wi th many connecti ons and di sconnecti ons the ordi nary connector
perf ormance wi l l become progressi vel y i nf eri or when compared wi th the preci si on
connector.
4.3 Coaxial connector specifications
The f ol l owi ng speci f i cati ons are some of those that provi de i nf ormati on and def i ne
the parameters of establ i shed desi gns of coaxi al connectors and they shoul d be con-
sul ted f or f ul l i nf ormati on on el ectri cal perf ormance, mechani cal di mensi ons and
mechani cal tol erances.
I EEE Standard 287-2007
I EC Publ i cati on 457
MI L-STD-348A i ncorporates MI L-STD-39012C
I EC Publ i cati on 169
CECC 22000
Bri ti sh Standard 9210
DI N Standards
Users of coaxi al connectors shoul d al so take i nto account any manuf acturer’ s
perf ormance speci f i cati ons rel ati ng to a parti cul ar connector type.
4.4 I nter face dimensions and gauging
I t i sof utmost i mportancethat connectorsdo not damagethetest equi pment i nterf aces
to whi ch they are off ered f or cal i brati on. Poor perf ormance of many coaxi al devi ces
and cabl e assembl i es can of ten be traced to poor constructi on and non-compl i ance
wi th themechani cal speci f i cati ons. Themechani cal gaugi ng of connectorsi sessenti al
to ensure correct f i t and to achi eve the best perf ormance. Thi s means that al l coaxi al
connectors f i tted on al l equi pments, cabl es and termi nati ons shoul d be gauged on a
routi ne basi s i n order to detect any out of tol erance condi ti ons that may i mpai r the
el ectri cal perf ormance.
4.4.1 Gaugi ng connector s
A connector shoul d be gauged bef ore i t i s used f or the very f i rst ti me or i f someone
el se has used the devi ce on whi ch i t i s f i tted.
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 63
I f the connector i s to be used on another i tem of equi pment, the connector on the
equi pment to be tested shoul d al so be gauged.
Connectors shoul d never be f orced together when maki ng a connecti on si nce
f orci ng of ten i ndi cates i ncorrectness and i ncompati bi l i ty. Many connector screw
coupl i ng mechani sms, f or i nstance, rarel y need to be more than f i nger-ti ght f or el ec-
tri cal cal i brati on purposes; most coaxi al connectors usual l y f uncti on sati sf actori l y,
gi vi ng adequatel y repeatabl e resul ts, unl ess damaged. There are some di mensi ons
that are cri ti cal f or the mechani cal i ntegri ty, non-destructi ve mati ng and el ectri cal
perf ormance of the connector.
Connector gauge ki ts are avai l abl e f or many connector types but i t i s al so easy
to manuf acture si mpl e l ow-cost test pi eces f or use wi th a mi crometer depth gauge or
other devi ce to ensure that the i mportant di mensi ons can be measured or veri f i ed.
The mechani cal gaugi ng of coaxi al connectors wi l l detect and prevent the
f ol l owi ng probl ems.
I nner conductor protr usi on. Thi s may resul t i n buckl i ng of the socket contacts or
damage the i nternal structure of a devi ce due to the axi al f orces generated.
I nner conductor recessi on. Thi s wi l l resul t i n poor vol tage ref l ecti on coeff i -
ci ent, possi bl y unrel i abl e contact and coul d even cause breakdown under peak power
condi ti ons.
Appendi x 4.A shows a l i st of the most common types of coaxi al connector i n use.
Appendi x 4.B gi ves i nf ormati on on the vari ous connector types i ncl udi ng the cri t-
i cal mechani cal di mensi ons that need to be measured f or the sel ected connector
types.
4.5 Connector cleaning
To ensure a l ong and rel i abl e connector l i f e, caref ul and regul ar i nspecti on of con-
nectors i s necessary and cl eani ng of connectors i s essenti al to mai ntai ni ng good
perf ormance.
Connectors shoul d be i nspected i ni ti al l y f or dents, rai sed edges, and scratches on
the mati ng surf aces. Connectors that have dents on the mati ng surf aces wi l l usual l y
al so have rai sed edges around them and wi l l make l ess than perf ect contact; f urther to
thi s, rai sed edges on mati ng i nterf aces wi l l make dents i n other connectors to whi ch
they are mated. Connectors shoul d be repl aced unl ess the damage i s very sl i ght.
Awarenessof theadvantageof ensuri ng good connector repeatabi l i ty and i tseff ect
on the overal l uncertai nty of a measurement procedure shoul d encourage caref ul
i nspecti on, i nterf ace gaugi ng and handl i ng of coaxi al connectors.
Pri or to use, a vi sual exami nati on shoul d be made of a connector or adaptor,
parti cul arl y f or concentri ci ty of the centre contacts and f or di rt on the di el ectri c. I t i s
essenti al that theaxi al posi ti on of thecentrecontact of al l i tems off ered f or cal i brati on
shoul d begauged becausethebutti ng surf acesof mated centrecontactsmust not touch.
I f the centre contacts do touch, there coul d be damage to the connector or possi bl y to
64 Mi crowave measurements
other partsof thedevi ceto whi ch theconnector i sf i tted. For preci si on hermaphrodi ti c
connectors the two centre conductor petal s do butt up and the di mensi ons are cri ti cal
f or saf e connecti ons.
Smal l parti cl es, usual l y of metal , are of ten f ound on the i nsi de connector mati ng
pl anes, threads, and on the di el ectri c. They shoul d be removed to prevent damage to
the connector surf aces. The i tems requi red f or cl eani ng connectors and the procedure
to be f ol l owed i s descri bed i n the next secti on.
4.5.1 Cl eani ng procedure
I tems requi red:
(1) Low-pressure compressed ai r (sol vent f ree);
(2) cotton swabs (speci al swabs can be obtai ned f or thi s purpose);
(3) l i nt-f ree cl eani ng cl oth;
(4) i sopropanol and
(5) i l l umi nated magni f i er or a j ewel l er’ s eye gl ass.
Note: I sopropanol that contai ns addi ti ves shoul d not be used f or cl eani ng connectors as i t may
cause damage to pl asti c di el ectri c support beads i n coaxi al and mi crowave connectors. I t i s
i mportant to take any necessary saf ety precauti ons when usi ng chemi cal s or sol vents.
4.5.1.1 Fir st step
Remove l oose parti cl es on the mati ng surf aces and threads usi ng l ow-pressure com-
pressed ai r. A wooden cocktai l sti ck can be used to caref ul l y remove any smal l
parti cl es that the compressed ai r does not remove.
4.5.1.2 Second step
Cl ean surf acesusi ng i sopropanol on cotton swabsor l i nt-f reecl oth. Useonl y suff i ci ent
sol vent to cl ean thesurf ace. When usi ng swabsor l i nt-f reecl oth, usethel east possi bl e
pressure to avoi d damagi ng connector surf aces. Do not spray sol vents di rectl y on to
connector surf aces or use contami nated sol vents.
4.5.1.3 T hir d step
Use the l ow-pressure compressed ai r once agai n to remove any remai ni ng smal l
parti cl es and to dry the surf aces of the connector to compl ete the cl eani ng process
bef ore usi ng the connector.
4.5.2 Cl eani ng connector s on stati c sensi ti ve devi ces
Speci al care i s requi red when cl eani ng connectors on test equi pment contai ni ng stati c
sensi ti vedevi ces. When cl eani ng such connectors al ways wear agrounded wri st strap
and observe correct procedures. The cl eani ng shoul d be carri ed out i n a speci al han-
dl i ng area. These precauti ons wi l l prevent el ectrostati c di scharge (ESD) and possi bl e
damage to ci rcui ts.
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 65
4.6 Connector life
The number of ti mes that a connector can be used i s very di ff i cul t to predi ct and i t i s
qui te cl ear that the number of connecti ons and di sconnecti ons that can be achi eved
i s dependent on the use, envi ronmental condi ti ons and the care taken when maki ng a
connecti on. Some connector bodi es such as those used on the Type N connector are
made usi ng stai nl ess steel and are general l y more rugged, have a superi or mechani cal
perf ormance and a l onger useabl e l i f e. The i nner connecti ons are of ten gol d pl ated to
gi ve i mproved el ectri cal perf ormance. For many connector types the manuf acturer’ s
speci f i cati on wi l l quote the number of connecti ons and di sconnecti ons that can be
made. The f i gure quoted may be as hi gh or greater than 5000 ti mes but thi s f i gure
assumes that the connectors are mai ntai ned i n pri sti ne condi ti on and correctl y used.
For exampl e, the Type SMA connector was devel oped f or maki ng i nterconnecti ons
wi thi n equi pment and i ts connector l i f e i s theref ore rel ati vel y short i n repeti ti ve use
si tuati ons.
However, by f ol l owi ng the gui dance gi ven i n thi s document i t shoul d be possi bl e
to maxi mi se the l i f eti me of a connector used i n the l aboratory.
4.7 Adaptor s
Buff er adaptors or ‘ connector savers’ can be used i n order to reduce possi bl e dam-
age to output connectors on si gnal sources and other si mi l ar devi ces. I t shoul d
be remembered that the use of buff er adaptors and connector savers may have an
adverse eff ect on the perf ormance of a measurement system and may resul t i n si gni f -
i cant contri buti ons to uncertai nty budgets. Adaptors are of ten used f or the f ol l owi ng
reasons:
(1) To reduce wear on expensi ve or di ff i cul t to repl ace connectors on measuri ng
i nstruments where the reducti on i n perf ormance can be tol erated.
(2) When measuri ng a coaxi al devi ce that i s f i tted wi th an SMA connector.
4.8 Connector r ecession
The i deal connector pai r woul d be constructed i n such a way i n order to el i mi nate
any di sconti nui ti es i n the transmi ssi on l i ne system i nto whi ch the connector pai r i s
connected. I n practi ce, due to mechani cal tol erances there wi l l al most al ways be a
smal l gap between the mated pl ug and socket connectors. Thi s smal l gap i s of ten
ref erred to as ‘ recessi on’ . I t may be that both the connectors wi l l have some recessi on
because of the mechani cal tol erances and the combi ned eff ect of the recessi on i s to
produceavery smal l secti on of transmi ssi on l i nethat wi l l havedi ff erent characteri sti c
i mpedance than the remai nder of the l i ne causi ng a di sconti nui ty.
The eff ect of the recessi on coul d be cal cul ated but there are a number of other
eff ects present i n the mechani cal constructi on of connectors that coul d make the
66 Mi crowave measurements
resul t unrel i abl e. Some practi cal experi mental work has been carri ed out at Agi l ent
Technol ogi es on the eff ect of recessi on. For more i nf ormati on a ref erence i s gi ven
i n Further readi ng to an ANAMET paper where the resul ts of some practi cal
measurements have been publ i shed.
The connector speci f i cati ons gi ve l i mi t val ues f or the recessi on of the pl ug and
socket connectors when j oi ned (e.g. see Appendi x 4.B f or the Type N connector).
The eff ect on el ectri cal perf ormance caused by recessi on i n connectors i s a subj ect
of speci al i nterest to users of network anal ysers and more experi mental work needs
to be carri ed out.
4.9 Conclusions
The i mportance of the i nterconnecti ons i n measurement work shoul d never be under-
esti mated and the repl acement of a connector may enabl e the Type A uncertai nty
contri buti on i n a measurement process to be reduced si gni f i cantl y. Caref ul consi d-
erati on must be gi ven, when choosi ng a connector, to sel ect the correct connector
f or the measurement task. I n modern measuri ng i nstruments, such as power meters,
spectrum anal ysers and si gnal generators, the coaxi al connector socket on the f ront
panel i s of ten an i ntegral part of a compl ex sub-assembl y and any damage to thi s
connector may resul t i n a very expensi ve repai r.
I t i s parti cul arl y i mportant when usi ng coaxi al cabl es, wi th connectors that are
l ocal l y f i tted or repai red that they are tested bef ore use to ensure that the connector
compl i es wi th the rel evant mechani cal speci f i cati on l i mi ts. Al l cabl es, even those
obtai ned f rom speci al i st manuf acturers, shoul d be tested bef ore use. Any connector
that does not pass the rel evant mechani cal tests shoul d be rej ected and repl aced.
Further i nf ormati on on coaxi al connectors can be obtai ned di rect f rom man-
uf acturers. Many connector manuf acturers have a websi te and there are other
manuf acturers, documents and speci f i cati ons that can be f ound by usi ng Worl d Wi de
Web and searchi ng by connector type.
4.A Appendi x A
4.A.1 Fr equency r ange of some common coaxial connector s
Tabl e 4A.1 l i sts common types of coaxi al connector used on measurement systems
showi ng the f requency range over whi ch they are of ten used and the approxi mate
upper f requency l i mi t f or the vari ous l i ne si zes.
4.B Appendi x B
4.B.1 T he 14 mm pr ecision connector
The 14 mm preci si on connector was devel oped i n the earl y 1960s by the General
Radi o Company and i s known as the GR900 connector. I t has l i mi ted usage and
i s mai nl y used i n pri mary standards l aboratori es and i n mi l i tary metrol ogy. I t i s
probabl y the best coaxi al connector ever bui l t i n terms of i ts perf ormance and i t has
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 67
Tabl e 4A.1 Common types of coaxi al connector s used on measurement systems
Ti tl e Li ne si ze I mpedance Upper f requency
range (f or normal
use)
Upper f requency
l i mi t (approxi mate
val ue)
Preci si on non-sexed connectors
GPC 14 14.2875 mm 50 8.5 GHz 9 GHz
GPC 14 14.2875 mm 75 3.0 GHz* 8.5 GHz
GPC 7 7.0 mm 50 18 GHz 18 GHz
Preci si on sexed connectors
Type N 7.0 mm 50 18 GHz 22 GHz
GPC 3.5 3.5 mm 50 26.5 GHz 34 GHz
Type K 2.92 mm 50 40 GHz 46 GHz
Type Q 2.4 mm 50 50 GHz 60 GHz
Type V 1.85 mm 50 65 GHz 75 GHz
Type W 1.0 mm 50 110 GHz 110 GHz
1.0 mm 1.0 mm 50 110 GHz 110 GHz
Generel purpose conncetors
Type N 7.0 mm 50 18 GHz 22 GHz
Type N 7.0 mm 75 3 GHz* 22 GHz
7/16 16.0 mm 50 7.5 GHz 9 GHz
SMA 3.5 mm 50 26.5 GHz 34 GHz
Note:

Measurements made i n 75 i mpedance are normal l y restri cted to an upper f requency l i mi t of
3 GHz.
l ow i nserti on l oss, l ow ref l ecti on and extremel y good repeatabi l i ty. However, i t i s
bul ky and expensi ve.
The i nterf ace di mensi ons f or the GPC 14 mm connector are gi ven i n I EEE
Standard 287 and I EC Publ i cati on 457.
Bef ore use, a vi sual exami nati on, parti cul arl y of the centre contacts, shoul d be
made. Contact i n the centre i s made through sprung i nserts and these shoul d be
exami ned caref ul l y. A f l at smooth di sc pressed agai nst the i nterf ace can be used to
veri f y correct f uncti oni ng of thecentrecontact. Thedi sc must f i t i nsi dethecastel l ated
coupl i ng ri ng that protects the end surf ace of the outer connector and ensures correct
al i gnment of the two connectors when mated. The i nner connector shoul d be gauged
wi th the col l et removed. There i s a speci al tool ki t avai l abl e f or use wi th GR900
connectors.
There are 50 and 75 versi ons of the GR900 connector avai l abl e. The GR900
14 mm connector i s made i n two types.
LPC Laboratory preci si on connector Ai r di el ectri c
GPC General preci si on connector Di el ectri c support
68 Mi crowave measurements
The LPC versi on i s usual l y f i tted to devi ces such as preci si on ai rl i nes f or use i n
cal i brati on and veri f i cati on ki ts f or automati c network anal ysers and ref l ectometers
(Fi gure 4B.1).
There i s al so a l ower perf ormance versi on of the GR900 connector desi gnated
the GR890. The GR890 connector can be i denti f i ed by the marki ng on the l ock-
i ng ri ng and i t has a much reduced f requency range of operati on, f or exampl e,
approx. 3 GHz.
4.B.2 T he 7 mm pr ecision connector
Thi s connector seri es was devel oped to meet theneed f or preci si on connectors f or use
i n l aboratory measurements over the f requency range DC to 18 GHz. Thi s connector
i s of ten known as the Type GPC7 connector and i t i s desi gned as a hermaphrodi ti c
connector wi th an el aborate coupl i ng mechani sm. The connector i nterf ace f eatures
a butt copl anar contact f or the i nner and outer contacts, wi th both the mechani -
cal and el ectri cal i nterf aces at the same l ocati on. A f eature of the GPC7 connector
i s i ts ruggedness and good repeatabi l i ty over mul ti pl e connecti ons i n a l aboratory
envi ronment. The connector i s made i n two types.
GPC General preci si on connector Di el ectri c support
LPC Laboratory preci si on connector Ai r di el ectri c
The LPC versi on i s usual l y f i tted to devi ces such as preci si on ai rl i nes f or use i n
cal i brati on and veri f i cati on ki ts f or automati c network anal ysers and ref l ectometers.
Thei nterf acedi mensi ons f or theGPC7 connector aregi ven i n I EEE Standard 287
and I EC 457. The most common connector of thi s type i n the UK has a centre contact
compri si ng a sl otted resi l i ent i nsert wi thi n a f i xed centre conductor. The sol i d part of
the centre conductor must not protrude beyond the pl anar connector ref erence pl ane,
al though the resi l i ent i nserts must protrude beyond the ref erence pl ane. However, the
i nserts must be capabl e of taki ng up copl anar posi ti on under pressure. A f l at, smooth
pl ateor di sc, pressed agai nst thei nterf acescan veri f y correct f uncti oni ng of thecentre
contact.
There are two versi ons of the col l et f or thi s connector: one has f our sl ots and the
other has si x sl ots. For best perf ormance i t i s good practi ce to repl ace the f our-sl ot
versi on wi th the si x-sl ot type (see Fi gure 4B.2).
Fi gure 4B.2a shows the constructi on of the GPC7 connector and the l ocati on of
the outer conductor mati ng pl ane. The use of GPC7 connector i s normal l y restri cted
to maki ng preci si on measurements i n cal i brati on l aboratori es.
4.B.2.1 Connecti on and di sconnecti on of GPC7 connector s
I t i s i mportant to use the correct procedure when connecti ng or di sconnecti ng GPC7
connectors to prevent damage and to ensure a l ong worki ng l i f e and consi stent el ec-
tri cal perf ormance. The f ol l owi ng procedure i s recommended f or use wi th GPC7
connectors.
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 69
Cup-shaped
self-aligning
spider spring
Teflon insulator
A
A
Retaining stud
View A-A
.001 to .003 Gap
Fi gure 4B.1 The GR 900 14 mm connector [ photogr aph NPL]
70 Mi crowave measurements
Dielectric
support bead
Outer
conductor
Connector
nut
Sleeve
(fully extended)
Centre
conductor
Collet
Collet
protrusion
Outer
conductor
mating
plane
(a)
(b)
Fi gure 4B.2 (a) The GPC 7 connector and (b) GPC 7 connector wi th the 6 sl ot
col l et [ photogr aph A.D. Ski nner ]
Connecti on
(1) On one connector, retract the coupl i ng sl eeve by turni ng the coupl i ng nut
unti l the sl eeve and the nut become di sengaged. The coupl i ng nut can then
be spun f reel y wi th no moti on of the coupl i ng sl eeve.
(2) On the other connector, the coupl i ng sl eeve shoul d be f ul l y extended by
turni ng the coupl i ng nut i n the appropri ate di recti on. Once agai n the coupl i ng
nut can be spun f reel y wi th no moti on of the coupl i ng sl eeve.
(3) Put the connectors together caref ul l y but f i rml y, and thread the coupl i ng nut
of the connector wi th the retracted sl eeve over the extended sl eeve. Fi nal l y
ti ghten usi ng a torque spanner set to the correct torque (see Appendi x D).
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 71
Di sconnecti on
(1) Loosen the f i xed coupl i ng nut of the connector showi ng the wi de gol d band
behi nd the coupl i ng nut. Thi s i s the one that had the coupl i ng sl eeve f ul l y
retracted when connected.
(2) Part the connectors caref ul l y to prevent damage to the i nner conductor col l et.
I t i s a common but bad practi ce wi th hermaphrodi ti c connectors, to screw the second
coupl i ng ri ng agai nst the f i rst i n the bel i ef that there shoul d be no l oose parts i n
the coupl ed pai r. Thi s reduces the pressure between the two outer contacts of the
connectors, l eadi ng to hi gher contact resi stance and l ess rel i abl e contact.
When connecti ng termi nati ons or mi smatches do not al l ow the body of the termi -
nati on to rotate. To avoi d damage, connectors wi th retractabl e sl eeves (e.g. GPC7)
shoul d not be pl aced f ace down on thei r ref erence pl ane on work surf aces. When not
i n use wi thdraw the threaded sl eeve f rom under the coupl i ng nut and f i t the pl asti c
protecti ve caps.
4.B.3 T he Type N 7 mm connector
The Type N connector (Fi gure 4B.3a) i s a rugged connector that i s of ten used on
portabl e equi pment and mi l i tary systems because of i ts l arge si ze and robust nature.
The desi gn of the connector makes i t rel ati vel y i mmune to acci dental damage due
to mi sal i gnment duri ng mati ng (subj ect to i t bei ng made and al i gned correctl y). The
TypeN connector i s madei n both 50 and 75 versi ons and both types arei n common
use (Fi gure 4B.3).
Two di ff erent types of i nner socket are at present avai l abl e f or Type N socket
connectors. They are ref erred to as ‘ sl otted’ or ‘ sl otl ess’ sockets. The sl otted Type N
(Fi gure 4B.3c) normal l y has ei ther f our or si x sl ots cut al ong the i nner conductor axi s
to f orm the socket. Thi s means that the di ameter and, theref ore, the characteri sti c
i mpedance are determi ned by the di ameter of the mati ng pi n and they are easy to
damage or di stort. The devel opment of the sl otl ess socket (Fi gure 4B.3b) by Agi l ent
has resul ted i n a sol i d i nner conductor wi th i nternal contacts and i s i ndependent of the
(a) (b) (c)
Fi gure 4B.3 (a) Type N pl ug, (b) Type N socket sl otl ess and (c) Type N socket sl otted
[ photogr aphs NPL]
72 Mi crowave measurements
mati ng pi n provi di ng i mproved and more consi stent perf ormance. The sl otted i nner
i s normal l y onl y f i tted to general -purpose versi ons of the Type N connector.
The ref erence pl ane f or the Type N connector i s the j uncti on surf ace of the outer
conductors. Unl i ke some other pi n and socket connectors the j uncti on surf ace of the
i nner connector i s off set f rom the ref erence pl ane by 5.258 mm (0.207 i nches). The
off set i s desi gned thi s way i n order to reduce the possi bi l i ty of mechani cal damage
due to mi sal i gnment duri ng the connecti on process.
The constructi on and mechani cal gaugi ng requi rements f or the Type N connector
are shown i n Fi gure 4B.4. The off set speci f i cati ons can vary and the di ff erent val ues
shown i n the tabl e f or A and B i n the di agram show vari ous val ues dependi ng on
the speci f i cati on used. The el ectri cal perf ormance of a beadl ess ai rl i ne i s parti cul arl y
dependent on the si ze of the gap at the i nner connector j uncti on due to manuf acturi ng
tol erances i n both the ai rl i ne and the test port connectors. Theref ore f or the best
perf ormancei t i s i mportant to mi ni mi sethegap to si gni f i cantl y i mprovetheel ectri cal
perf ormance. I t i si mportant to notethemanuf acturer’ sspeci f i cati on f or any parti cul ar
Type N connector bei ng used. To meet the present MI L-STD-348A requi rement the
mi ni mum recessi on on the pi n centre contact i s 5.283 mm (0.208 i nches).
For some appl i cati ons Type N connectors need onl y be connected f i nger-ti ght but
torquesetti ngsaregi ven i n Appendi x D that shoul d beused i n metrol ogy appl i cati ons.
Type N connector
Mating plane
Socket
A
B
Gap
Connector
pair
Plug
Fi gure 4B.4 The Type N connector
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 73
Thegaugi ng l i mi tsarel i sted i n Tabl e4B.1 and appl y to both 50 and 75 connector
types. For the conveni ence of users the di mensi ons are gi ven i n I mperi al and Metri c
Uni ts. The metri c val ues are shown i n brackets (Tabl e 4B.1).
The Type N connector i s desi gned to operate up to 18 GHz but speci al versi ons
are avai l abl e that can operate up to 22 GHz and al so to 26.5 GHz. (Traceabi l i ty of
measurement i snot at present avai l abl ef or devi cesf i tted wi th 7 mm connectorsabove
18 GHz.)
4.B.3.1 Gaugi ng a pl ug Type N connector
When gaugi ng a pl ug Type N connector a cl ockwi se def l ecti on of the gauge poi nter
(a ‘ pl us’ ) i ndi cates that the shoul der of the pl ug contact pi n i s recessed l ess than the
mi ni mum recessi on of 0.207 i nches behi nd the outer conductor mati ng pl ane. Thi s
wi l l cause damage to other connectors to whi ch i t i s mated.
4.B.3.2 Gaugi ng a socket Type N connector
When gaugi ng a socket Type N connector a cl ockwi se def l ecti on of the gauge poi nter
(a ‘ pl us’ ) i ndi cates that the ti p of the socket mati ng f i ngers are protrudi ng more than
the maxi mum of 0.207 i nches i n f ront of the outer conductor mati ng pl ane. Thi s wi l l
cause damage to other connectors to whi ch i t i s mated.
Warning
75 Type N connector s. On the 75 connector the centre contact of the
socket can be physi cal l y destroyed by a 50 pi n centre contact so that cross
coupl i ng of 50 and 75 connectors i s not admi ssi bl e. Speci al adaptors can
be purchased, whi ch are commonl y known as ‘ short transi ti ons’ , to enabl e the
connecti on to be made i f necessary, but these transi ti ons shoul d be used wi th
cauti on. I f possi bl e i t i s best to use a mi ni mum l oss attenuati on pad to change
the i mpedance to another val ue.
4.B.4 T he 7/16 connector
Thi s connector was devel oped i n Germany duri ng the 1960s f or hi gh-perf ormance
mi l i tary systems and was l ater devel oped f or commerci al appl i cati ons i n anal ogue
cel l ul ar systems and GSM base stati on i nstal l ati ons.
Thi sconnector i snow bei ng wi del y used i n thetel ecommuni cati onsi ndustry and i t
has a f requency range coveri ng f rom DC to 7.5 GHz. The ‘ 7/16’ represents a nomi nal
val ue of 16 mm at the i nterf ace f or the i nternal di ameter of the external conductor,
and a nomi nal val ue of 7 mm f or the external di ameter of the i nternal conductor to
achi eve 50 .
Hi gh-qual i ty 7/16 connectors are avai l abl e to be used as standards f or the cal i bra-
ti on of automati c network anal ysers, ref l ecti on anal ysers and other si mi l ar devi ces.
A range of push on adaptors i s avai l abl e to el i mi nate the ti me-consumi ng need
f or ti ghteni ng, and di sconnecti ng usi ng a torque spanner.
74 Mi crowave measurements
T
a
b
l
e
4
B
.
1
T
y
p
e
N
c
o
n
n
e
c
t
o
r
T
y
p
e
N
s
p
e
c
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
D
i
m
e
n
s
i
o
n
s
i
n
i
n
c
h
e
s
(
m
m
)
G
a
p
b
e
t
w
e
e
n
m
a
t
e
d
c
e
n
t
r
e
c
o
n
t
a
c
t
s
S
o
c
k
e
t
(
A
)
P
l
u
g
(
B
)
M
i
n
.
N
o
m
.
M
a
x
.
M
M
C
p
r
e
c
i
s
i
o
n
a
l
s
o
H
P
p
r
e
c
i
s
i
o
n
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
0
.
2
0
7
(
5
.
2
5
7
8
)

0
.
0
0
3
(

0
.
0
7
6
2
)
+
0
.
0
0
3
(
+
0
.
0
7
6
2
)
0
.
2
0
7
(
5
.
2
5
7
8
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
0
.
0
0
6
(
0
.
1
5
2
4
)
M
I
L
-
S
T
D
-
3
4
8
A
s
t
a
n
d
a
r
d
t
e
s
t
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
0
)
0
.
2
0
7
(
5
.
2
5
7
8
)

0
.
0
0
3
(

0
.
0
7
6
2
)
+
0
.
0
0
3
(
+
0
.
0
7
6
2
)
0
.
2
0
8
(
5
.
2
8
3
2
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
0
)
0
.
0
0
1
(
0
.
0
2
5
4
)
0
.
0
0
1
(
0
.
0
2
5
4
)
0
.
0
0
7
(
0
.
1
7
7
8
)
M
I
L
-
S
T
D
-
3
4
8
A
C
l
a
s
s
2
p
r
e
s
e
n
t
T
y
p
e
N
0
.
2
0
7
m
a
x
(
5
.
2
5
7
8
)
0
.
2
0
8
m
i
n
(
5
.
2
8
3
2
)

0
.
0
0
1
(
0
.
0
2
5
4
)

M
M
C
T
y
p
e
N
e
q
u
i
v
a
l
e
n
t
t
o
M
I
L
-
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-
7
1
B
+
0
.
0
0
5
(
+
0
.
1
2
7
0
)
0
.
1
9
7
(
5
.
0
0
3
8
)

0
.
0
0
5
(

0
.
1
2
7
0
)
+
0
.
0
0
5
(
+
0
.
1
2
7
0
)
0
.
2
2
3
(
5
.
6
6
4
2
)

0
.
0
0
5
(

0
.
1
2
7
0
)
0
.
0
1
6
(
0
.
4
0
6
4
)
0
.
0
2
6
(
0
.
6
6
0
4
)
0
.
0
3
6
(
0
.
9
1
4
4
)
M
I
L
-
C
-
7
1
B
o
l
d
T
y
p
e
N
+
0
.
0
1
0
(
+
0
.
2
5
4
)
0
.
1
9
7
(
5
.
0
0
3
8
)

0
.
0
1
0
(

0
.
2
5
4
0
)
+
0
.
0
1
0
(
+
0
.
2
5
4
0
)
0
.
2
2
3
(
5
.
6
6
4
2
)

0
.
0
1
0
(

0
.
2
5
4
0
)
0
.
0
0
6
(
0
.
1
5
2
4
)
0
.
0
2
6
(
0
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6
6
0
4
)
0
.
0
4
6
(
1
.
1
6
8
4
)
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 75
I t i s a repeatabl e l ong-l i f e connector wi th a l ow return l oss. I t al so has a good
speci f i cati on f or i nter-modul ati on perf ormanceand ahi gh-power handl i ng capabi l i ty.
Termi nati ons, mi smatches, open and short ci rcui ts are al so made and back-to-
back adaptors, such as pl ug-to-pl ug, socket-to-pl ug and socket-to-socket are al so
avai l abl e.
They aredesi gned to aDI N speci f i cati on number 47223 (Fi gure4B.5). For f urther
i nf ormati on on the 7/16 connector the arti cl e by Paynter and Smi th i s recommended.
Thi s arti cl e descri bes the 7/16 connector and di scusses whether to use Type N con-
nector technol ogy or to repl ace i t wi th the 7/16 DI N i nterf ace f or use i n mobi l e radi o
GSM base stati ons.
B A
(a) (b)
Fi gure 4B.5 (a) The 7/16 socket connector and (b) the 7/16 pl ug connector
[ photogr aphs A.D. Ski nner ]
76 Mi crowave measurements
Tabl e 4B.2 7/16 connector
7-16 Di mensi ons
A B
Pl ug (I nches) Pl ug (mm) Socket (I nches) Socket (mm)
Speci f i cati on mi n. max. mi n. max. mi n. max. mi n. max.
General purpose 0.0579 0.0697 1.47 1.77 0.697 0.815 1.77 2.07
Ref erence/test 0.0681 0.0689 1.73 1.75 0.0705 0.0713 1.79 1.81
Fi gure 4B.6 The SMA connector [ photogr aph NPL]
The mechani cal gaugi ng requi rements f or the 7/16 connector are shown i n
Tabl e 4B.2.
4.B.5 T he SM A connector
The i nterf ace di mensi ons f or SMA connectors are l i sted i n MI L-STD 348A.
BS 9210 N0006 Part 2 publ i shed pri mari l y f or manuf acturers and i nspectorates,
al so gi vesdetai l sf or theSMA i nterf acebut someof therequi rementsand speci f i cati on
detai l s di ff er. For exampl e, wal l thi ckness may be a l i ttl e thi nner and hence a l i ttl e
weaker. However, MI L-STD-348A doesnot precl udethi n wal l si n connectorsmeeti ng
thi s speci f i cati on al though the physi cal requi rements and arrangements wi l l probabl y
ensure that thi cker wal l s are used f or both speci f i cati ons (Fi gure 4B.6).
TheSMA connector i sasemi -preci si on connector and shoul d becaref ul l y gauged
and i nspected bef oreuseasthetol erancesand qual i ty can vary between manuf acturers.
The user shoul d be aware of the SMA connector’ s l i mi tati ons and l ook f or possi bl e
probl ems wi th the sol i d pl asti c di el ectri c and any damage to the pl ug pi n. I n a good
qual i ty SMA connector the tol erances are f ai rl y ti ght. However the SMA connector
i s not desi gned f or repeated connecti ons and they can wear out qui ckl y, be out of
speci f i cati on, and potenti al l y destructi ve to other connectors. The SMA connector i s
wi del y used i n many appl i cati ons as i t i s a very cost-eff ecti ve connector and sui tabl e
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 77
f or many purposes; however, preci si on metrol ogy i s not normal l y possi bl e usi ng
SMA connectors.
Connector usersareadvi sed that manuf acturers’ speci f i cati onsvary i n theval ueof
coupl i ng torque needed to make a good connecti on. Unsati sf actory perf ormance wi th
hand ti ghteni ng can i ndi cate damage or di rty connector i nterf aces. I t i s common,
but bad practi ce to use ordi nary spanners to ti ghten SMA connectors. However,
excessi ve ti ghteni ng (>15 l b i n) can easi l y cause col l apse of the tubul ar porti on of the
pi n connector.
Destructi ve i nterf erence may resul t i f the contacts protrude beyond the outer
conductor mati ng pl anes; thi s may cause buckl i ng of the socket contact f i ngers or
damage to associ ated equi pment duri ng mati ng.
Thedi el ectri c i nterf acei sal so cri ti cal si nceprotrusi on beyond theouter conductor
mati ng pl ane may prevent proper el ectri cal contact, whereas an excessi vel y recessed
condi ti on can i ntroduce unwanted ref l ecti ons i n a mated pai r.
The cri ti cal axi al i nterf ace of SMA type connectors i s shown i n Fi gures 4B.7a
and b and Tabl e 4B.3 where the di mensi ons are gi ven i n i nches, wi th the equi val ent
i n mi l l i metres shown i n parentheses.
The speci f i cati on al l ows di el ectri c to protrude past the outer conductor mati ng
pl ane to 0.002 i nches (0.0508 mm) maxi mum. However, there i s some doubt i f the
SMA standards permi t the di el ectri c to protrude beyond the ref erence pl ane. There i s
a hi gh vol tage versi on that does al l ow the di el ectri c to protrude beyond the ref erence
pl ane, but i t does not cl ai m to be compati bl e wi th the SMA standard.
4.B.6 T he 3.5 mm connector
Thi s connector i s physi cal l y compati bl e wi th the SMA connector and i s of ten known
as the GPC 3.5 mm connector. I t has an ai r di el ectri c i nterf ace and cl osel y control l ed
centre conductor support bead provi di ng mechani cal i nterf ace tol erances si mi l ar to
hermaphrodi ti c connectors. However, al though i n some ways pl anar, i t i s not an
I EEE 287 preci si on connector. There i s a di sconti nui ty capaci tance when coupl ed
wi th SMA connectors.
Outer
conductor
(a) (b)
Plastic
dielectric
Center
conductor
Outer conductor
mating plane
Outer
conductor
Plastic
dielectric
Center
conductor
Outer conductor
mating plane
Fi gure 4B.7 (a) SMA pl ug connector and (b) SMA socket connector
78 Mi crowave measurements
T
a
b
l
e
4
B
.
3
S
M
A
c
o
n
n
e
c
t
o
r
S
M
A
s
p
e
c
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
P
i
n
d
e
p
t
h
i
n
i
n
c
h
e
s
(
m
m
)
S
o
c
k
e
t
p
i
n
S
o
c
k
e
t
d
i
e
l
e
c
t
r
i
c
P
l
u
g
p
i
n
P
l
u
g
d
i
e
l
e
c
t
r
i
c
M
I
L
-
S
T
D
-
3
4
8
A
C
l
a
s
s
2
+
0
.
0
3
0
(
0
.
7
6
2
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)

0
.
0
0
2
m
a
x
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
m
i
n

0
.
0
0
2
m
a
x
M
M
C
S
t
a
n
d
a
r
d
+
0
.
0
0
5
(
0
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1
2
7
0
)
0
.
0
0
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(
0
.
0
0
0
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0
.
0
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0
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0
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+
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5
0
8
)
0
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0
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(
0
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0
0
)

0
.
0
0
2
(

0
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0
5
0
8
)
+
0
.
0
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5
(
0
.
1
2
7
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
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0
.
0
0
0
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0
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0
0
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)
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0
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2
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5
0
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)
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0
0
0
(
0
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0
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0
)

0
.
0
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2
(

0
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0
5
0
8
)
M
M
C
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e
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i
s
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o
n
+
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0
0
5
(
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1
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7
0
)
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0
0
0
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0
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0
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0
0
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0
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0
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0
)
+
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0
2
(

0
.
0
5
0
8
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
+
0
.
0
0
5
(
0
.
1
2
7
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
+
0
.
0
0
2
(
0
.
0
5
0
8
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
.
0
0
0
)
M
I
L
-
S
T
D
-
3
4
8
A
s
t
a
n
d
a
r
d
t
e
s
t
+
0
.
0
0
3
(
0
.
0
7
6
2
)
0
.
0
0
0
(
0
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0
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0
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0
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0
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+
0
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2
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0
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)
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0
.
0
0
0
)
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 79
Outer
conductor
Centre
conductor
Outer
conductor
Centre
conductor
Outer conductor
mating plane
Outer conductor
mating plane
(a)
(b)
Fi gure 4B.8 (a) GPC 3.5 mm pl ug connector and (b) GPC 3.5 mm socket connector
[ photogr aph NPL]
Tabl e 4B.4 The 3.5 mm connector
3.5 mm Speci f i cati on Pi n depth i n i nches (mm)
Socket Pl ug
LPC 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127) 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127)
GPC 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508) 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508)
Note: A pl us (+) tol erance i ndi cates a recessed condi ti on bel ow the outer mati ng pl ane.
A speci al versi on of the GPC 3.5 mm connector has been desi gned. The desi gn
i ncorporates a shortened pl ug pi n and al l ows the centre conductors to be pre-al i gned
bef ore contact thus consi derabl y reduci ng the l i kel i hood of damage when connecti ng
or di sconnecti ng the 3.5 mm connector. Fi gure 4B.8 shows the pl ug and socket types
of GPC 3.5 mm connector and Tabl e 4B.4 shows the gaugi ng di mensi ons.
4.B.7 T he 2.92 mm connector
The 2.92 mm connector i s a rel i abl e connector that operates up to 46 GHz and i t i s
used i n measurement systems and on hi gh-perf ormance components, cal i brati on and
80 Mi crowave measurements
( )
0.000
0.005
0.000 mm
0.127 mm
( )
0.000
0.005
0.000 mm
0.127 mm
(a)
(b) (c)
Fi gure 4B.9 (a) Type K pl ug and socket connector [ photogr aph NPL] , (b) Type K
socket connector and (c) Type K pl ug connector
veri f i cati on standards. I t i s al so known as the Type K™ connector. The K connector
i nterf aces mechani cal l y wi th 3.5 mm and SMA connectors. However, when mated
wi th the 3.5 mm or SMA connector the j uncti on creates a di sconti nui ty that must be
accounted f or i n use.
Compared wi th the 3.5 mm and the SMA connector the 2.92 mm connector has
a shorter pi n that al l ows the outer conductor al i gnment bef ore the pi n encounters the
socket contact when mati ng a connector pai r. The type K connector i s theref ore l ess
prone to damage i n i ndustri al use.
Fi gure 4B.9 shows the di agram of the Type K connector and Tabl e 4B.5 gi ves the
i mportant gaugi ng di mensi ons.
4.B.8 T he 2.4 mm connector
The 2.4 mm connector was desi gned by the Hewl ett Packard Company (now Agi l ent
Technol ogi es) and the connector assures mode f ree operati on up to 60 GHz. I t i s
al so known as the Type Q connector. The 2.4 mm connector i s a pi n and socket type
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 81
Tabl e 4B.5 Type K connector
2.92 mm Speci f i cati on Pi n depth i n i nches (mm)
Socket Pl ug
LPC 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127) 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127)
GPC 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508) 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508)
Tabl e 4B.6 Type 2.4 mm connector
2.4 mm Speci f i cati on Pi n depth i n i nches (mm)
Socket Pl ug
LPC 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127) 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127)
GPC 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508) 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508)
connector that uti l i ses an ai r di el ectri c f i l l ed i nterf ace. The 2.4 mm i nterf ace i s al so
mechani cal l y compati bl e wi th the 1.85 mm connector.
Note: Themanuf acturersof smal l coaxi al connectorshaveagreed to themechani cal di mensi ons
so that they can be mated non-destructi vel y. Thi s has l ed to the use of the term ‘ mechani cal l y
compati bl e’ and because both l i nes are nomi nal l y 50 i t has been assumed that ‘ mechani cal l y
compati bl e’ equates to el ectri cal compati bi l i ty. The eff ect of the el ectri cal compati bi l i ty of
mechani cal l y mateabl ecoaxi al l i nesi sdi scussed i n ANAl yseNoteNo. 3 January 1994 i ncl uded
i n the l i st of f urther readi ng at the end of thi s chapter.
As f or other connectors of thi s type, the coupl i ng engagement of the outer con-
ductors i s desi gned to ensurethat theouter conductors arecoupl ed together bef orethe
i nner conductors can engage to prevent damage to the i nner conductor. Fi gure 4B.10
shows the di agram of the 2.4 mm connector and Tabl e 4B.6 gi ves the i mportant
gaugi ng di mensi ons.
4.B.9 T he 1.85 mm connector
The1.85 mm connector wasdesi gned by Anri tsu and theconnector assuresmode-f ree
operati on up to 75 GHz. I t i s al so known as the Type V™ connector. The 1.85 mm
connector i s a pi n and socket type connector that uses an ai r di el ectri c f i l l ed i nterf ace.
The coupl i ng engagement of the outer conductors i s desi gned to ensure that the
outer conductors are coupl ed bef ore the i nner conductors can engage to ensure a
damage-f ree f i t. Fi gure 4B.11 shows the di agram of the 1.85 mm connector and
Tabl e 4B.7 shows the i mportant gaugi ng di mensi ons.
82 Mi crowave measurements
0.000 (0.000) to + 0.002 (+ 0.0508)
Fi gure 4B.10 The 2.4 mm socket and pl ug connector [ photogr aph NPL]
Tabl e 4B.7 Type 1.85 mm connector
1.85 mm Speci f i cati on Di mensi ons i n i nches (mm)
Socket Pl ug
LPC 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127) 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127)
GPC 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508) 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508)
Note: A pl us (+) tol erance i ndi cates a recessed condi ti on bel ow the outer mati ng pl ane.
4.B.10 T he 1.0 mm connector
The1.0 mm connector was desi gned by Hewl ett Packard (now Agi l ent Technol ogi es)
and i s descri bed i n I EEE 287 Standard. No patent appl i cati ons were f i l ed to protect
the desi gn of the 1.0 mm connector as i t i s i ntended by Agi l ent to al l ow f ree use of
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 83
0.000 (0.0000)
0.004 (–0.1016)
(a)
(b) (c)
Fi gure 4B.11 (a) The 1.85 mm socket and pl ug connector [ photogr aph NPL] , (b)
Type V socket connector and (c) Type V pl ug connector
the i nterf ace by everyone. Any manuf acturer of connectors i s f ree to manuf acture i ts
own versi on of the 1.0 mm connector.
The1.0 mmconnector i sal so known astheTypeW Connector. I t i sapi n and socket
type connector that uti l i ses an ai r di el ectri c f i l l ed i nterf ace and assures mode-f ree
operati on up to 110 GHz.
The coupl i ng di ameter and thread si ze are chosen to maxi mi se strength and
i ncrease durabi l i ty. The coupl i ng engagement of the outer conductors i s desi gned
to ensure that they are coupl ed together bef ore the i nner conductors can engage, toe
ensure a damage-f ree f i t.
Fi gures 4B.12 and 4B.13 show two versi ons of the 1.0 mm connector avai l -
abl e f rom Agi l ent Technol ogi es and the Anri tsu Company. They are based on the
di mensi ons shown i n I EEE 287.
Fi gure 4B.14 i s a di agram of Anri tsu’ s W connector; a 1.0 mm connector based
on the di mensi ons i n the I EEE 287 Standard.
Tabl e 4B.8 shows the i mportant gaugi ng di mensi ons f or a 1.0 mm connector.
84 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 4B.12 The Agi l ent 1.0 mm socket and pl ug connector [ photogr aph NPL]
Fi gure 4B.13 The Agi l ent 1.0 mm socket and pl ug connector [ photogr aph Anr i tsu]
Male Female
UT 47 coax
Female
contact
Cable sleeve
Lock nut
Fi gure 4B.14 Di agr am of the pl ug and socket ar r angement
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 85
Tabl e 4B.8 Maxi mum pi n depth for a 1.0 mm connector
1.0 mm Speci f i cati on Pi n depth i n i nches (mm)
Socket Pl ug
LPC 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127) 0 to +0.0005 (+0.0127)
GPC 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508) 0 to +0.002 (+0.0508)
Note: A pl us (+) tol erance i ndi cates a recessed condi ti on bel ow the outer conductor mati ng
pl ate.
4.C Appendi x C
4.C.1 Repeatability of connector pair inser tion loss
The val ues shown i n Tabl e 4C.1 show some i nserti on l oss repeatabi l i ty (dB) f i gures
provi ded that theconnector-pai rs arei n good mechani cal condi ti on and cl ean; f urther,
that i n use, they arenot subj ected to stressand strai n dueto mi sal i gnment or transverse
l oads. For any parti cul ar measurement process the connector repeatabi l i ty i n the
uncertai nty budget i s cal cul ated i n the same uni ts of the f i nal measurements. For
exampl e, when measuri ng the cal i brati on f actor of a power sensor the repeatabi l i ty
i s measured i n per cent.
These gui dance f i gures wi l l serve two purposes:
(1) They show l i mi ts f or connector repeatabi l i ty f or normal use i n uncertai nty
esti mates where unknown connectors may be i nvol ved.
(2) Provi de a measure agai nst whi ch a ‘ real ’ repeatabi l i ty assessment can be
j udged.
The f i gures i n Tabl e 4C.1 are based on practi cal measurement experi ence at NPL,
SESC, and i n UKAS Cal i brati on Laboratori es. I n practi ce, connector repeatabi l i ty
i s an i mportant contri buti on to measurement uncertai nti es and shoul d be caref ul l y
determi ned when veri f yi ng measurement systems or cal cul ated f or each set of mea-
surements made. I n some cases val ues better than those shown i n Tabl e 4C.1 can be
obtai ned.
Tabl e 4C.1 Typi cal connector i nser ti on l oss repeatabi l i ty
Connector Connector I nserti on l oss repeatabi l i ty dB
GR900 – 14 mm 0.001 (DC to 0.5 GHz) 0.002 (0.5–8.5 GHz)
GPC7 – 7 mm 0.001 (DC to 2 GHz) 0.004 (2–8 GHz) 0.006 (8–18 GHz)
Type N – 7 mm 0.001 (DC to 1 GHz) 0.004 (1–12 GHz) 0.008 (12–18 GHz)
GPC3.5 – 3.5 mm 0.002 (DC to 1 GHz) 0.006 (1–12 GHz)
SMA 3.5 mm 0.002 (DC to 1 GHz) 0.006 (1–12 GHz)
86 Mi crowave measurements
4.D Appendi x D
4.D.1 Tor que wr ench setting values for coaxial connector s
Tabl e 4D.1 gi ves a l i st of recommended connector ti ghteni ng torque val ues to be used
f or metrol ogy purposes f or each connector type.
Thi s l i st i s based on the best avai l abl e i nf ormati on f rom vari ous sources and
shoul d be used wi th care. Some manuf acturers recommend sl i ghtl y di ff erent val ues
f or the torque setti ngs i n thei r publ i shed perf ormance data. Where thi s i s the case the
manuf acturers’ data shoul d be used. Wi th al l torque spanners, i t i s possi bl e to get
substanti al l y the wrong torque by twi sti ng the handl e axi al l y and by a vari ety of other
i ncorrect methods of usi ng the torque spanner.
There are al so some di ff erences on the torque setti ngs used when maki ng a per-
manent connecti on (wi thi n an i nstrument) rather than f or metrol ogy purposes. Many
manuf acturers quote a maxi mum coupl i ng torque whi ch i f exceeded wi l l resul t i n
permanent mechani cal damage to the connector.
For combi nati onsof GPC3.5/SMA connectorsthetorqueshoul d beset to thel ower
val ue, f or exampl e, 5 i n-l b. Torque spanners used shoul d be regul arl y cal i brated, and
set to the correct torque setti ngs f or the connector i n use and cl earl y marked.
On some torque spanners, the handl es are col our coded to represent the torque
val ue set f or ease of i denti f i cati on, f or exampl e, 12 i n-l b (1.36 N-m) bl ue and 8 i n-l b
(0.90 N-m) red.
However, f or saf ety, al ways check the torque setti ng bef ore use especi al l y i f i t i s
a spanner not owned by or normal l y used every day i n the l aboratory (Tabl e 4D.1).
Tabl e 4D.1 Torque spanner setti ng val ues
Connector Torque
Type Si ze (mm) i n-l b N-m
GR900 14 12 1.36
GPC 7 7 12 1.36
N 7 12 1.36
7/16 16.5 20 2.26
GPC 3.5 3.5 8 0.90
SMA 3.5 5 0.56
K 2.92 5–8 0.56–0.90
Q 2.4 8 0.90
V 1.85 8 0.90
W1 1.1 4 0.45
W 1.0 3 0.34
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 87
4.E Appendi x E
4.E.1 Calibr ating dial gauges and test pieces
There are a number of di ff erent types of di al gauge and gauge cal i brati on bl ock
used f or gaugi ng connectors. They requi re regul ar cal i brati on to ensure that they
are perf ormi ng correctl y. There i s a Bri ti sh Standard BS 907: ‘ Speci f i cati on f or
di al gauges f or l i near measurement’ dated 1965 that covers the procedure f or the
cal i brati on of di al gauges and thi s shoul d be used. However, the cal i brati on of the
gaugecal i brati on bl ocksi snot covered by aBri ti sh Standard, but they can bemeasured
i n a mechani cal metrol ogy l aboratory. I t i s i mportant to use the correct gauge f or each
connector type to avoi d damage to the connector under test. Some gauges have very
strong gaugepl unger spri ngs that, i f used on thewrong connector, can push thecentre
bl ock through the connector resul ti ng i n damage. Al so i f gauges are used i ncorrectl y
they can compress the centre conductor col l et i n preci si on GPC 7 mm connectors,
duri ng a measurement, resul ti ng i n i naccurate readi ngs when measuri ng the col l et
protrusi on.
4.E.2 Types of dial gauge
Di al gauges used f or the testi ng of connectors f or correct mechani cal compl i ance are
basi cal l y of two types:
4.E.2.1 Push on type
The push on type i s used f or measuri ng the general -purpose type of connector. For
pl ug and socket connectors two gauges are normal l y used (one pl ug and one socket)
or a si ngl e gauge wi th pl ug and socket adaptor bushi ngs.
4.E.2.2 Screw on type
The screw on type i s mai nl y used (except GR 900) i n cal i brati on ki ts f or network
anal ysers and ref l ectometers. They are used f or the GPC7 and sexed connectors
and f or the l atter they are made i n both pl ug and socket versi ons. The screw on
type i s made i n the f orm of a connector of the opposi te sex to the one bei ng
measured.
When a gauge bl ock i s used to i ni ti al l y cal i brate the di al gauge, a torque spanner
shoul d be used to ti ghten up the connecti on to the correct torque.
4.E.3 Connector gauge measur ement r esolution
Becauseof connector gaugemeasurement resol uti on uncertai nti es(onesmal l di vi si on
on the di al ) and vari ati ons i n measurement techni que f rom user to user connector
di mensi onsmay bedi ff i cul t to measure. Di rt and contami nati on can causedi ff erences
of 0.0001 i nch (0.00254 mm) and i n addi ti on the way that the gauge i s used can resul t
88 Mi crowave measurements
i n l arger vari ati ons. When usi ng a gauge system f or mechani cal compl i ance testi ng
of connectors carry out the f ol l owi ng procedures each ti me:
(1) caref ul l y i nspect the connector to be tested and cl ean i f necessary;
(2) cl ean and i nspect the di al gauge, and the gauge cal i brati on bl ock;
(3) caref ul l y zero the di al gauge wi th the gauge cal i brati on bl ock i n pl ace;
(4) remove the gauge cal i brati on bl ock;
(5) measure the connector usi ng the di al gauge and note the readi ng and
(6) repeat the process at l east once or more ti mes as necessary.
4.E.4 Gauge calibr ation blocks
Every connector gauge requi res a gauge cal i brati on bl ock that i s used to zero the
gauge to a pre-set val ue bef ore use.
The di agram i n Fi gure 4E.1 shows a set of di al gauges and gauge cal i brati on
bl ocks f or a Type N connector screw on type gauge.
The di agram i n Fi gure 4E.2 shows an SMA di al gauge of the push on type wi th
i ts gauge cal i brati on bl ock.
There are a number of di ff erent types and manuf acturers of connector gauge ki ts
i n general useand themanuf acturer’ sspeci f i cati on and cal i brati on i nstructi onsshoul d
be used.
0
0
10 90
20 80
30 70
40 60
0.4
0.4
0.001 mm
Marconi
Instruments
0.2
0.2
0
50 50
60 40
70 30
80 20
90 10
0
0
10 90
20 80
30 70
40 60
0.001 mm
Marconi
Instruments
50 50
60 40
70 30
80 20
90 10
Dial Gauge unit
Calibration standard
6
0
8
2
3
6
0
8
2
3
6
0
8
2
3
6
0
8
2
3
0.4
0.4
0.2
0.2
0
Fi gure 4E.1 Type N screw on di al gauge and cal i br ati on bl ock
Usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement 89
SMA
FP
F
5 5
10
10
15 15
20 20
25
MAURY MICROWAVE
M
SMA
FD
F
5 5
10
10
15 15
20 20
25
MAURY MICROWAVE
M
Fi gure 4E.2 Type SMA push – on type di al gauge for socket pi n depth (FP) and
di el ectr i c FD wi th cal i br ati on bl ock
Fur ther r eading
Uncer tai nti es of measurement
UKAS: The expressi on of uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurement, M3003,
2nd edn (HMSO, London)
ANAMET Repor ts
1
Ri dl er, N. M., and Medl ey, J. C.: ANAMET-962: di al gauge compar i son exerci se,
ANAMET Report, no. 001, Jul 1996
Ri dl er, N. M., and Medl ey, J. C.: ANAMET-963 l i ve di al gauge compar i son exerci se:
ANAMET Report, no. 007, May 1997
Ri dl er, N. M., and Graham, C.: An i nvesti gati on i nto the var i ati on of torque val ues
obtai ned usi ng coaxi al connector torque spanner s, ANAMET Report, no. 018,
Sep 1998.
French, G. J.: ANAMET-982: l i ve torque compar i son exerci se, ANAMET Report,
no. 022, Feb 1999
Ri dl er, N. M., and Morgan, A. G.: ANAMET-032: ‘ l i ve’ di al gauge measurement
i nvesti gati on usi ng Type-N connector s, ANAMET Report, no. 041, Nov 2003
1
Other r epor ts which ar e for e-r unner s of the 2nd edition of the ANAM ET
Connector Guide
Ski nner, A. D.: Gui dance on usi ng coaxi al connector s i n measurement – dr aft for
comment, ANAMET Report, no. 015, Feb 1998
90 Mi crowave measurements
Ski nner, A. D.: ANAMET connector gui de, ANAMET Report, no. 032, Jan 2001,
Revi sed Mar 2006
ANAl yse notes
I de, J. P. L.: A study of the el ectr i cal compati bi l i ty of mechani cal l y mateabl e coaxi al
l i nes, ANAl yse Note, no. 3, Jan 1994
Ri dl er, N. M.: How much var i ati on shoul d we expect from coaxi al connector di al
gauge measurements?, ANAl yse Note, no. 14, Feb 1996
ANA ti ps notes
Smi th, A. J. A., and Ri dl er, N. M.: Gauge compati bi l i ty for the smal l er coaxi al l i ne
si zes, ANA-ti ps Note, no. 1, Oct 1999
Wool l i ams, P. D. and Ri dl er, N. M.: Ti ps on usi ng coaxi al connector torque spanner s,
ANA-ti ps Note, no. 2, Jan 2000
ANAMET news ar ti cl es
[ The f i rst three i tems i n thi s l i st are short, amusi ng, arti cl es (al bei t contai ni ng
i mportant i nf ormati on).]
I de, J. P.: ‘ Are two col l ets better than one?’ , ANAMET News, I ssue 2, Spri ng 1994,
p. 3
I de, J. P.: ‘ Masters of the mi croverse’ , ANAMET News, I ssue 2, Spri ng 1994, p. 2
I de, J. P.: ‘ More f rom the gotcha! f i l es: out of my depth’ , ANAMET News, I ssue 9,
Autumn 1997, p. 9
I nstone, I .: ‘ The eff ects of port recessi on on ANA accuracy’ , ANAMET News, I ssue
11, Autumn 1998, pp. 4–6
For fur ther publ i cati ons on connector s
Ri dl er, N. M.: ‘ Connectors, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance’ , notes to accompany
the I EE trai ni ng course on Mi crowave Measurements, Mi l ton Keynes, UK,
13–17 May 2002
Connector repeatabi l i ty
Bergf i el d, D., and Fi scher, H.: ‘ I nserti on l oss repeatabi l i ty versus l i f eof somecoaxi al
connectors’ . I EEE Tr ansacti ons on I nstr umentati on and Measurement Nov 1970,
vol . I m-19, no. 4, pp. 349–53
Type 7/16 coaxi al connector
Paynter, J. D., and Smi th, R.: ‘ Coaxi al connectors: 7/16 DI N and Type N’ , Mobi l e
Radi o Technol ogy, Apri l 1995 (I ntertec Publ i shi ng Corp.)
Ri dl er, N. M.: ‘ Traceabi l i ty to Nati onal Standards f or S-parameter measurements
of devi ces f i tted wi th preci si on 1.85 mm coaxi al connectors’ , presented at 68th
ARFTG Conf erence, Broomf i el d, Col orado, Dec 2006
Chapter 5
Attenuation measur ement
Al an Coster
5.1 I ntr oduction
Accurate attenuati on measurement i s an i mportant part of characteri si ng radi o
f requency (RF) or mi crowave ci rcui ts and devi ces. For exampl e, attenuati on
measurement of the component parts of a radar system wi l l enabl e a desi gner to
cal cul ate the power del i vered to the antenna f rom the transmi tter, the noi se f i gure of
the recei ver and hence the f i del i ty or bi t error rate of the system. A preci si on power
measurement system, such as the cal ori meter descri bed by Ol df i el d [ 1] , requi res the
transmi ssi on l i neprecedi ng themeasurement el ement to becharacteri sed to determi ne
the eff ecti ve eff i ci ency of the system. The thermal el ectri cal noi se standard descri bed
by Si ncl ai r [ 2] requi res accurate attenuati on measurement of the transi ti on or thermal
bl ock between the hot termi nati on and the ambi ent temperature output connector to
determi ne i ts excess noi se rati o.
5.2 Basic pr inciples
Wi th ref erence to Fi gure 5.1, when a generator wi th a ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent
G
i s
connected di rectl y to a l oad of ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent
L
, l et the power di ssi pated i n
the l oad be denoted by P
1
. Now i f a two-port network i s connected between the same
generator and l oad, l et the power di ssi pated i n the l oad be reduced to P
2
.
I nserti on l oss i n deci bel s of thi s two-port network i s def i ned as f ol l ows:
L(dB) = 10 l og
10
P
1
P
2
(5.1)
Attenuati on i s def i ned as the i nserti on l oss where the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents
G
and

L
= 0.
92 Mi crowave measurements
Generator Load P
1
Γ
G
Γ
L
Generator
Two-port
network
Load
P
2
Γ
G
Γ
L
Fi gure 5.1 I nser ti on l oss
Γ
G
Γ
L
S
11
S
22
S
12
S
21
E
Fi gure 5.2 Si gnal fl ow
Note that i nserti on l oss depends on the val ue of
G
and
L
, whereas attenuati on
dependsonl y on thetwo-port network. I f thesourceand l oad arenot perf ectl y matched
i n an attenuati on measurement, there wi l l be an error associ ated wi th the resul t. Thi s
error i s cal l ed the ‘ mi smatch error’ and i t i s def i ned as the di ff erence between the
i nserti on l oss and attenuati on. Hence
Mi smatch error (M ) = L −A (5.2)
Fi gure 5.2 shows a si gnal f l ow di agram of a two-port network between a generator
and l oad where S
11
i s the vol tage ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent l ooki ng i nto the i nput port
when the output port i s perf ectl y matched. S
22
i s the vol tage ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent
l ooki ng i nto theoutput port when thei nput port i sperf ectl y matched. S
21
i stherati o of
the compl ex wave ampl i tude emergi ng f rom the output port to that i nci dent upon the
i nput port when the output port i s perf ectl y matched. S
12
i s the rati o of the compl ex
wave ampl i tude emergi ng f rom the i nput port to that i nci dent upon the output port
when the i nput port i s perf ectl y matched.
Attenuati on measurement 93
From the above def i ni ti ons, the equati on f rom Warner [ 3] f or i nserti on l oss i s
gi ven as f ol l ows:
L = 20 l og
10
|(1 −
G
S
11
) (1 −
L
S
22
) −
L

G
S
12
S
21
|
|S
21
| · |1 −
G

L
|
(5.3)
I t can now be seen that the i nserti on l oss i s dependent upon
G
and
L
as wel l as
the S-parameters of the two-port network. When
G
and
L
are matched (
G
and

L
= 0), then (5.3) i s si mpl i f i ed to
A = 20 l og
10
1
|S
21
|
(5.4)
where A represents attenuati on (dB).
From (5.2), the mi smatch error M i s the di ff erence between (5.3) and (5.4).
M = 20 l og
10
|(1 −
G
S
11
) (1 −
L
S
22
) −
G

L
S
12
S
21
|
|1 −
G

L
|
(5.5)
Note that al l the i ndependent vari abl es of (5.5) are compl ex. I n practi ce, i t may be
di ff i cul t to measure the phase rel ati onshi ps where the magni tudes are smal l . Where
thi s i s the case, and onl y magni tudes are known, the mi smatch uncertai nty i s gi ven
as a maxi mum and mi ni mum l i mi t. Thus
M (l i mi t) = 20 l og
10
1 ±(|
G
S
11
| +|
L
S
22
| +|
G

L
S
11
S
22
| +|
G

L
S
12
S
21
|)
1 ∓|
G

L
|
(5.6)
I f the two-port network i s a vari abl e attenuator, then the mi smatch l i mi t i s expanded
f rom (5.6) to gi ve
M (l i mi t) = 20 l og
10
×
1 ±(|
G
S
11e
| +|
L
S
22e
| +|
G

L
S
11e
S
22e
| +|
G

L
S
12e
S
21e
|)
1 ∓(|
G
S
11b
| +|
L
S
22b
| +|
G

L
S
11b
S
22b
| +|
G

L
S
12b
S
21b
|)
(5.7)
where suff i x b denotes the attenuator at zero or datum posi ti on (resi dual attenua-
ti on) and suff i x e denotes the attenuator i ncremented to another setti ng (i ncremental
attenuati on).
5.3 M easur ement systems
Many di ff erent and i ngeni ous ways of measuri ng attenuati on have been devel oped
over the years, and most methods i n use today embody the f ol l owi ng pri nci pl es:
(1) Power rati o
(2) Vol tage rati o
(3) AF substi tuti on
(4) I F substi tuti on
(5) RF substi tuti on
94 Mi crowave measurements
Signal generator
Matching
attenuator
Device
under test
Power sensor
Insertion point
Power meter
Fi gure 5.3 Power r ati o
5.3.1 Power r ati o method
The power rati o method of measuri ng attenuati on i s perhaps one of the easi est to
conf i gure. Fi gure 5.3 represents a si mpl e power rati o conf i gurati on. Fi rst, the power
sensor i sconnected di rectl y to thematchi ng attenuator and thepower meter i ndi cati on
noted P
1
. Next, the devi ce under test i s i nserted between the matchi ng pad and power
sensor and thepower meter i ndi cati on agai n noted P
2
. I nserti on l ossi sthen cal cul ated
usi ng
L(dB) = 10 l og
10
P
1
P
2
(5.8)
Note that unl ess the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of the generator and l oad at the i nserti on
poi nt i s known to be zero, or that the mi smatch f actor has been cal cul ated and taken
i nto consi derati on, measured i nserti on l oss and not attenuati on i s quoted.
Thi s si mpl e method has some l i mi tati ons:
(1) Ampl i tude stabi l i ty and dri f t of the si gnal generator
(2) Power l i neari ty of the power sensor
(3) Zero carry over
(4) Range swi tchi ng and resol uti on
Ampl i tude dr i ft of the si gnal gener ator. Measurement accuracy i s di rectl y propor-
ti onal to the si gnal generator output ampl i tude dri f t.
Power l i near i ty of the power sensor. The modern semi conductor thermocoupl e
power sensor embodi es a tantal um ni tri de f i l m resi stor, shaped so that i t i s thi n i n
the centre and thi ck at the outsi de, such that when RF power i s absorbed, there i s a
temperature gradi ent gi vi ng ri se to a thermoel ectri c emf . The RF match due to the
deposi ted resi stor i s extremel y good and the sensor wi l l operate over a 50 dB range
(+20 dBm to –30 dBm) but therei s consi derabl edeparturef rom l i neari ty (10 per cent
at 100 mW), and i t i snecessary to compensatef or thi sand thetemperaturedependence
of the sensi ti vi ty by el ectroni cs.
Attenuati on measurement 95
Di ode power sensors, descri bed by Cherry et al . [ 4] may be model l ed by the
f ol l owi ng equati on
P
i n
= kV
dc
exp(yV
dc
) (5.9)
where P
i n
i s the i nci dent power, V
dc
i s the recti f i ed dc vol tage, and k and y are
constants whi ch are f uncti ons of parameters such as temperature, i deal i ty f actor and
vi deo i mpedance.
At l evel s bel ow 1 µW (−30 dBm), the exponent tends to zero, l eadi ng to a
l i near rel ati onshi p between di ode output vol tage and i nput power (dc output vol tage
proporti onal to thesquareof thermsRF i nput vol tage). For power l evel sabove10 µW
(−20 dBm), correcti on f or l i neari ty must be made. Modern (smart) di ode power
sensors embody an RF attenuator precedi ng the sensi ng el ement. The attenuator
i s el ectroni cal l y swi tched i n or out to mai ntai n best sensor l i neari ty over a wi de
i nput l evel range. These sensors have a cl ai med dynami c range of 90 dB (+20 dBm
to −70 dBm) and may be corrected f or power l i neari ty, f requency response and
temperature coeff i ci ent by usi ng the manuf acturer’ s cal i brati on data stored wi thi n the
sensor e2prom.
Experi ments by Orf ord and Abbot [ 5] show that power meters based on the
thermi stor mount and sel f compensati ng bri dge are extremel y l i near. Here the thermi -
stor f ormsonearm of aWheatstonebri dgewhi ch i spowered by dc current, heati ng the
thermi stor unti l i ts resi stance i s such that the bri dge bal ances. The RF power changes
the thermi stor resi stance but the bri dge i s automati cal l y rebal anced by reduci ng the
appl i ed dc current. Thi s reducti on i n dc power to the bri dge i s cal l ed retracted power
and i sdi rectl y proporti onal to theRF power absorbed i n thethermi stor. Theadvantage
of thi ssystem i sthat thethermi stor i mpedancei smai ntai ned constant astheRF power
changes. Thermi stors, however, have a sl ower response ti me than thermocoupl e and
di ode power sensors and have a usef ul dynami c range of onl y 30 dB.
Zero car r y over. Dueto theel ectroni c ci rcui ts, smal l errorsmay occur when apower
meter i s zeroed on one range and then used on another.
Range swi tchi ng and resol uti on. Most power meters operate over several ranges,
each of approxi matel y 5 dB. Wi th a near f ul l scal e readi ng, the resol uti on and noi se
of the power meter i ndi cati on wi l l be good. However, the resol uti on and noi se con-
tri buti on at a l ow scal e readi ng may be an order worse (thi s shoul d be borne i n mi nd
when maki ng measurements and al l eff ort made to ensure that the power meter i s at
near f ul l scal e f or at l east one of the two power measurements P
1
, P
2
).
Fi gure 5.4 shows a dual channel power rati o attenuati on measurement system,
whi ch uses a two-resi stor power spl i tter to i mprove the source match and moni tor the
source output l evel . Fi rst, power sensor A i s connected di rectl y to the two-resi stor
spl i tter and the power meter i ndi cati on i s noted as PA
1
, PB
1
.
Next thedevi ceunder test i si nserted between power sensor A and thetwo-resi stor
spl i tter and agai n the power meter i ndi cati on i s noted as PA
2
, PB
2
. I nserti on l oss may
96 Mi crowave measurements
Signal generator
Two resistor
splitter
Insertion point
Power sensor B Power sensor A
Device
under test
Dual channel
power meter
B A
Fi gure 5.4 Dual channel power r ati o
now be cal cul ated usi ng
L(dB) = 10 l og
10
PA
1
PB
1
·
PB
2
PA
2
(5.10)
The dual channel power rati o method has two advantages over the si mpl e system of
Fi gure 5.3.
(1) The si gnal l evel i s constantl y moni tored by power sensor B, reduci ng the
error due to si gnal generator RF output l evel dri f t.
(2) Usi ng a two-resi stor power spl i tter or hi gh di recti vi ty coupl er wi l l i mprove
the source match [ 6,7] .
The f i xed f requency perf ormance of thi s system may be i mproved by usi ng tuners or
i sol ators to reduce the generator and detector mi smatch.
A system has been descri bed by Stel zri ed and co-workers [ 8,9] that i s capabl e of
measuri ng attenuati on i n wavegui de, WG22 (26.5–40 GHz), wi th an uncertai nty of
±0.005 dB/10 dB to 30 dB.
The author has assembl ed a measurement system si mi l ar to that shown i n
Fi gure 5.4, wi th the equi pment computer control l ed through the general -purpose
i nterf ace bus (GPI B). The system operates f rom 10 MHz to 18 GHz and has a mea-
surement uncertai nty of ±0.03 dB up to 30 dB, and ±0.06 to ±0.3 dB f rom 30 dB
up to 70 dB. Return l oss of the devi ce under test i s measured usi ng an RF bri dge at the
i nserti on poi nt. I nserti on l oss i s then measured as descri bed above and the mi smatch
error i s cal cul ated so that the attenuati on may be quoted.
Fi gure5.5 shows ascal ar network anal yser attenuati on and vol tagestandi ng wave
rati o (VSWR) measurement system. The anal yser compri ses a l evel l ed swept f re-
quency generator, three detector channel s and a di spl ay. The DC output f rom the
detectors i s di gi ti sed and a mi croprocessor i s used to make temperature, f requency
response and l i neari ty correcti ons f or the detectors. Mathemati cal f uncti ons such
Attenuati on measurement 97
Scatar network analyser
RF
Detector
A
Two
resistor
splitter
VSWR
autotester
C
Device
under test
Open
short
Detector
B
C B
A
Fi gure 5.5 Scal ar networ k anal yser
as addi ti on, subtracti on, and averagi ng may be perf ormed, maki ng thi s set up very
f ast and versati l e. The system has a cl ai med dynami c range of 70 dB (+20 dBm to
−50 dBm), al though thi s wi l l be reduced i f the source output i s reduced by usi ng a
two-resi stor spl i tter or paddi ng attenuator.
Attenuati on measurement uncertai nty vari es accordi ng to the f requency and
appl i ed power l evel to the detectors but i s general l y ±0.1 to ±1.5 dB f rom 10 to
50 dB. Al though thi s may not be consi dered as bei ng hi ghl y accurate, the system i s
f ast and can i denti f y resonanceswhi ch may behi dden when usi ng astepped f requency
measurement techni que. I t i s al so more usef ul when adj usti ng a devi ce under test.
An i mportant consi derati on f or al l of the above power rati o (homodyne) systems
i s that they make wi de band measurements. When cal i brati ng a narrow band devi ce,
such as a coupl er or f i l ter, i t i s i mportant that the si gnal source be f ree of harmoni c or
spuri ous si gnal s as they may pass through the devi ce un-attenuated and be measured
at the detector.
5.3.2 Vol tage r ati o method
Fi gure 5.6 represents a si mpl e vol tage attenuati on measurement system, where a
DVM (di gi tal vol tmeter) i s used to measure the potenti al di ff erence across a f eed-
through termi nati on, f i rst when i t i s connected di rectl y to a matchi ng attenuator, V
1
,
and then when the devi ce under test has been i nserted, V
2
. I nserti on l oss may be
cal cul ated f rom:
L(dB) = 20 l og
10
V
1
V
2
(5.11)
(Note that the generator and l oad i mpedance are matched.)
98 Mi crowave measurements
Signal generator
Matching
attenuator
Device
under test
Feed–through
termination
Insertion point
Digital voltmeter
Fi gure 5.6 Vol tage r ati o
Thi ssi mpl esystemi sl i mi ted by thef requency responseand resol uti on of theDVM
as wel l as vari ati ons i n the output of the si gnal generator. The vol tage coeff i ci ent of
the devi ce under test and resol uti on of the DVM wi l l determi ne the range, typi cal l y
40–50 dB f rom dc to 100 kHz. A maj or contri buti on to the measurement uncertai nty
i s the l i neari ty of the DVM used, whi ch may be typi cal l y 0.01 dB/10 dB f or a good
qual i ty ei ght di gi t DVM. Thi s may be measured usi ng an i nducti ve vol tage di vi der,
and correcti ons made.
5.3.3 The i nducti ve vol tage di vi der
Fi gure 5.7 i s a si mpl i f i ed ci rcui t di agram of an ei ght-decade I VD (i nducti ve vol tage
di vi der), descri bed by Hi l l and Mi l l er [ 10] . Thi s i nstrument i s an extremel y accurate
vari abl e attenuati on standard operati ng over a nomi nal f requency range of 20 Hz
to 10 kHz. (Speci al i nstruments have been constructed to operate at 50 kHz and
1 MHz.) I t consi sts of a number of auto-transf ormers, the toroi dal cores of whi ch are
constructed of wound i nsul ated Supermal l oy tape. (Supermal l oy i s an al l oy that i s
70 per cent Ni , 15 per cent Fe, 5 per cent Mo and 1 per cent other el ements, and has
a permeabi l i ty >100,000 and hysteresi s <1 J m
−3
per Hz at 0.5 T).
The wi ndi ngs of a decade di vi der may be constructed by taki ng ten exactl y equal
l engthsof i nsul ated copper wi ref rom thesamereel and twi sti ng them together to f orm
a rope, whi ch i s wound around the core (doubl e l ayer on the i nner ci rcumf erence and
si ngl e l ayer on the outer ci rcumf erence). Ni ne pai rs of the ten strand cabl e are j oi ned
together, f ormi ng ten seri es-ai di ng coi l s. Hi gh-qual i ty swi tches are requi red between
thestagesand caremust betaken wi th thephysi cal l ayout to avoi d l eakageand l oadi ng
by the l ater decades.
The attenuati on through a perf ect I VD set to gi ve a rati o D i s gi ven by
A = 20 l og
10
V
i n
DV
i n
= 10 l og
10
1
D
(5.12)
Attenuati on measurement 99
X1.0
X0.9
X0.8
X0.7
X0.6
X0.5
X0.4
X0.3
X0.2
X0.1
X0.0
X1.0
X0.9
X0.8
X0.7
X0.6
X0.5
X0.4
X0.3
X0.2
X0.1
X0.0
X1.0
X0.9
X0.8
X0.7
X0.6
X0.5
X0.4
X0.3
X0.2
X0.1
X0.0
X1.0
X0.9
X0.8
X0.7
X0.6
X0.5
X0.4
X0.3
X0.2
X0.1
X0.0
I
n
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
4

s
i
m
i
l
a
r
a
u
t
o



t
r
a
n
s
f
o
r
m
e
r
s
O
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
Fi gure 5.7 I nducti ve vol tage di vi der
The overal l error, ε, i n an i nducti ve vol tage di vi der may be def i ned as
ε =
V
out
−DV
i n
V
i n
(5.13)
where V
i n
i s the i nput vol tage, D i s the i ndi cated rati o and V
out
i s the actual output
vol tage. ε = ±4 × 10
−8
f or a commerci al l y avai l abl e ei ght-decade I VD, or ±10
−6
to ±10
−7
f or a seven-decade I VD.
There are three i mportant vol tage rati o attenuati on measurement systems i n use
at the Nati onal Physi cal Laboratory (NPL), Teddi ngton, UK.
Fi gure 5.8 i s a computer control l ed vol tage rati o system descri bed by Warner
and co-workers [ 11–13] desi gned to cal i brate the programmabl e rotary vane attenu-
ators used at NPL i n the Noi se Standards Secti on. Two wi de band synthesi sed si gnal
generators are phase l ocked to a stabl e external ref erence f requency and thei r RF
f requenci es adj usted f or a 50 kHz di ff erence. RF f rom the si gnal generator i s l evel l ed
and i sol ator and tuners used to match the system, presenti ng a generator and l oad
100 Mi crowave measurements
10MHz locking signal
0.05 – 18GHz
synth
Levelling Isolator Isolator
Mixer
LO
IVD
50kHz
Amp
50kHz
0.05 – 18GHz
synth
Matching Matching
Computer
controller
DUT
AC DVM
Fi gure 5.8 Automated vol tage r ati o system
40dB
coupler
20dB
coupler
10dB
coupler
WG switch
WG switch WG switch
Matching
Matching
Computer
controller
AC DVM
IVD
50kHz amp
50kHz
DUT
Isolator
Isolator
Isolator
Isolator Isolator
Fet amp
Mixer
Levelling loop
1
0
M
H
z

l
o
c
k
i
n
g

s
i
g
n
a
l
0.05 – 18GHz
synthesised
source
0.05 – 18GHz
synthesised
source
Fi gure 5.9 Gauge bl ock vol tage r ati o system
ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent better than 0.005 to the devi ce under test. The 50 kHz i nterme-
di ate f requency (I F) si gnal i s ampl i f i ed and then measured on a preci si on AC DVM.
The ac to dc conversi on l i neari ty of the DVM i s peri odi cal l y measured usi ng a stabl e
50 kHz source and I VD. The non-corrected l i neari ty i s approxi matel y 0.012/20 dB
and the corrected l i neari ty 0.0005/20 dB.
Fi gure 5.9 shows a rati o system descri bed by Warner and Herman [ 14] si mi l ar to
that shown i n Fi gure 5.8 but wi th the addi ti on of a gauge bl ock attenuator, f ormed
by three wavegui de swi tched coupl ers i n cascade. The gauge bl ock may be swi tched
f rom 0 to 70 dB i n 10 dB steps, gi vi ng the system a 90 dB dynami c range. The
standard devi ati on of ten repeated measurements at the same attenuati on val ue i s
bel ow 0.0005–40 dB, 0.001–70 dB and <0.002–90 dB. Attenuati on may be f ound
f rom
A
DUT
(dB) =
¸
20 l og
10

V
1
V
2
¸
+A
gb
+C (5.14)
where A
gb
i s the gauge bl ock attenuati on (dB) and C i s the ac DVM correcti on dB.
Attenuati on measurement 101
0.05 – 18GHz
synth
0.05 – 18GHz
synth
1
0
M
H
z

l
o
c
k
i
n
g

s
i
g
n
a
l
DUT
20dB 40dB
Linear
mixer
10 kHz
isolation
amp
V o
u
t

=

V
f ± 10 kHz
θ
VI = V cosθ
V
out
Reference channel
Measurement channel
IVD
10kHz
10 kHz
isolation
amp
Linear
mixer
Matched
low noise
pre–amp
Gauge
block
atten
Lock – in
analyser
V
Q

=

V

s
i
n
θ
Fi gure 5.10 Dual channel vol tage r ati o system
Fi gure5.10 shows adual channel vol tagerati o system devel oped at NPL by Ki l by
and co-workers [ 15,16] to provi de extremel y accurate attenuati on measurements f or
the cal i brati on of standard pi ston attenuators. I t operates over the f requency range
0.5–100 MHz, i s f ul l y automati c and has a dynami c range of 160 dB wi thout the
need f or noi se bal anci ng. The upper channel provi des a ref erence si gnal f or a l ock-i n
anal yser whi l st themeasurement processtakespl acei n thel ower channel . Thel ock-i n
anal yser contai ns i n-phase and quadrature phase sensi ti ve detectors (PSDs), whose
output (VI = cosψ and VQ = si n ψ) are combi ned i n quadrature to yi el d a di rect
vol tage gi ven by:
V
out
= (VI
2
+VQs)
0.5
=
¸
(V cosψ)
2
+(V si n ψ)
2
¸
0.5
(5.15)
= V
Thus, V
out
i s di rectl y rel ated to the peak val ue, V , of the 10 kHz si gnal emergi ng f rom
the l ower channel and i s i ndependent of the phase di ff erence, ψ, between si gnal s i n
the upper and l ower channel s.
Attenuati on may be f ound f rom
A
DUT
=
¸
20 l og
10

V
out1
V
out2
¸
A
gba
+A
i vd
(5.16)
where V
out1
and V
out2
are the output vol tages f or the datum and cal i brati on setti ng.
A
gba
and A
i vd
aretheattenuati ons i n dB removed f rom thegaugebl ock and I VD when
the devi ce under test i s i nserted.
102 Mi crowave measurements
0.01 – 18GHz
synth
Matching
Matching
30MHz
IF
30 MHz
cal source
30 MHz
IF
10 dB
isolation
amp
31.25 MHz
VCO
Mixer Mixer
1.26 MHz
IVD
10k Hz
Synth
8kHz
15 bit
a/d 1.25 MHz
12dB PSD
10 MHz
ref
Loop
filter
Autoranging
0/10/20 dB
amp
Autoranging
0/10/20/30
amp
Autoranging
0/10/20dB
amp
0.01 – 18 GHz
synth
Mixer
D
U
T
12 dB
Fi gure 5.11 A commerci al attenuator cal i br ator
Thi s dual channel system al so yi el ds the phase changes that occur i n the devi ce
under test. From the vector di agram i n Fi gure 5.10 we have
tan ψ =
VQ
VI
Hence,
ψ = arctan

VQ
VI

(5.17)
Fi gure 5.11 i s a si mpl i f i ed di agram of a commerci al l y avai l abl e vol tage rati o attenu-
ator cal i brator manuf actured by Lucas Wei nschel of Gai thersberg, MD 2087, USA.
The i nstrument i s a mi croprocessor control l ed 30 MHz tri pl e conversi on recei ver and
may be used at other f requenci es wi th the addi ti on of an RF generator, l ocal osci l l ator
and mi xer.
The30 MHz i nput si gnal i srouted through a10 dB i sol ati on ampl i f i er to aseri esof
pi n-swi tched attenuators, whi ch are automati cal l y sel ected to present the f i rst mi xer
wi th a 30 MHz si gnal at the correct l evel f or l ow noi se l i near mi xi ng. A phase l ocked
l oop ref erenced to the i nstrument’ s i nternal 10 MHz osci l l ator provi des the correcti on
f or the f i rst vol tage control l ed l ocal osci l l ator (31.25 MHz), resul ti ng i n a f i rst I F of
1.25 MHz. The f i rst I F i s routed through a vari abl e gai n ampl i f i er havi ng swi tched
gai ns of 0, 10 and 20 dB, to the second mi xer. The si gnal i s then mi xed wi th a
1.26 MHz l ocal osci l l ator deri ved f rom the 10 MHz ref erence, to f orm a second I F
of 10 kHz. Thi s 10 kHz si gnal i s appl i ed to a second vari abl e gai n ampl i f i er havi ng
swi tched gai ns of 0, 10, 20 and 30 dB. The vari abl e gai n ampl i f i ers and auto-rangi ng
attenuator are mi croprocessor control l ed i n the auto-rangi ng sequence i nvol ved i n
maki ng a measurement.
Attenuati on measurement 103
−0.0025
−0.002
−0.0015
−0.001
−0.0005
0
0.0005
0.001
0.0015
0.002
0.0025
0.003
5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Attenuation dB
A
/
D

e
r
r
o
r

d
B
0
Fi gure 5.12 VM7 A/D cal i br ati on
The f i nal conversi on i s made by a sampl e and hol d ampl i f i er wi thi n the 15 bi t
anal ogue to di gi tal converter. The sampl e and hol d ampl i f i er i s cl ocked at 8 kHz. The
sampl i ng of the 10 kHz si gnal every 8 kHz provi des a quasi -mi xi ng acti on that resul ts
i n a 2 kHz si gnal wi th f our sampl es per cycl e. Thi s anal ogue si gnal i s then converted
to di gi tal f orm.
Bef ore use, the i nstrument i s cal i brated by swi tchi ng the 30 MHz recei ver i nput
to a 30 MHz i nternal osci l l ator. Each attenuati on and gai n bl ock i s automati cal l y
cal i brated agai nst the A/D converter and the cal i brati on resul ts stored i n ram, to be
used duri ng themeasurement process. Thel i neari ty of theA/D converter i sparamount
to the overal l accuracy of the system and thi s may be checked by i nserti ng a preci si on
I VD i nto the 10 kHz path precedi ng the A/D.
Thi s system has a sensi ti vi ty of −127 dBm and measurement accuracy of
±0.015 dB, +0.005 dB per 10 dB to 80 dB and ±0.1 dB per 10 dB f rom 80 dB
to 105 dB.
Fi gure 5.12 shows the resul ts of the A/D cal i brati on usi ng an ei ght-decade i nduc-
ti ve vol tage di vi der matched to the system. The 10 kHz si gnal i s hel d between +14
to −2 dBm on al l but the l ast range, where i t may cover +14 to −12 dBm.
Fi gure 5.13 i s a si mpl i f i ed di agram of an I FR 2309 FFT Si gnal Anal yser. I nput
si gnal s are down converted to a 10.7 MHz I F and then routed through si gnal con-
di ti oni ng ci rcui ts to a 1 bi t si gma-del ta anal ogue to di gi tal converter (better known
f or i ts use i n CD pl ayers, gi vi ng l ow noi se and hi gh l i neari ty). The A to D converter
contai ns a comparator and quanti ser wi th a f eed back l oop, havi ng a two-bi t del ay.
The comparator compares the present i nput sampl e wi th the previ ous sampl e and
outputs i nto a di gi tal si gnal processor f or compl ex anal ysi s. The uni t operates f rom
104 Mi crowave measurements
LO
RF input
100 MHZ to 2.4 GHz
Mixer
10.7 MHZ IF
signal processing
One bit sigma–delta
a–d converter
IQ clock
sync FFT
Display
Control
Fi gure 5.13 I FR 2309 FFT si gnal anal yser
10MHz locking signal
Synth DUT
Gauge block
attenuator
Buffer amp
Mixer
Low pass
filter
Synth
10kHz
ultra linear
amp
IVD
A/D
− +
10kHz
amp
AC DVM
Noise
generator
Backing off
voltage
DC amp
Null
detector
Fi gure 5.14 Audi o frequency substi tuti on system
100 MHz to 2.4 GHz and has a maxi mum sensi ti vi ty of −168 dBm, resol uti on of
0.0001 dB and a cl ai med l i neari ty of ±0.01 dB per 10 dB.
5.3.4 AF substi tuti on method
I n an audi o f requency substi tuti on system, the attenuati on through the devi ce under
test i s measured by compari son wi th an audi o f requency standard, usual l y a resi sti ve
or i nducti ve vol tage di vi der. Fi gure 5.14 i s a si mpl i f i ed di agram of an AF substi tuti on
system desi gned and used at NPL and descri bed by Warner [ 17] . I t i s used at nati onal
standards l evel over the f requency range 0.5–100 MHz and has a dynami c range
of 150 dB.
An external 10 MHz ref erence f requency i s used to l ock the two synthesi ser ti me
bases and the l ocal osci l l ator i s operated at a f requency di ff erence of 10 kHz to the
RF source, gi vi ng a stabl e 10 kHz I F af ter mi xi ng. The attenuati on standard i s a
seven-decade preci si on I VD i nserted between two 10 kHz tuned ampl i f i ers.
Attenuati on measurement 105
The gauge bl ock attenuator, whi ch i s a repeatabl e step attenuator, DUT and I VD
are adj usted duri ng the measurement so that the vol tage to the nul l detector remai ns
constant. The 10 kHz ampl i f i ers are purpose bui l t and are l ow noi se, very stabl e
and extremel y l i near (better than ±0.001 per cent). The I VD i s dri ven f rom a l ow
i mpedancesourceand i tsoutput i sl oaded wi th ahi gh i mpedance. From 100 to 150 dB,
noi se must be i nj ected i nto the system to compensate f or the noi se generated by the
mi xer. Thi s i s normal l y accompl i shed by setti ng the gauge bl ock attenuator to zero,
the I VD to uni ty and gai n of the second 10 kHz ampl i f i er f or 2 V rms output. The
backi ng off vol tage i s adj usted f or a nul l meter readi ng. The si gnal source i s now
swi tched off and the output vol tage caused by the noi se al one i s measured on the
DVM. Af ter thi s, the gauge bl ock attenuator i s swi tched to a val ue, A
gba
and the DUT
moved to i ts datum posi ti on, the I VD i s set to zero, the noi se generator i s swi tched
on and adj usted to gi ve the same output readi ng as bef ore. Fi nal l y, the si gnal source
i s swi tched back on and the I VD i s adj usted to a rati o R, whi ch gi ves a nul l readi ng
on the output meter.
The attenuati on change i n the DUT i s then gi ven by
A
DUT
= A
gba
+20 l og
10

1
R

(5.18)
Wi th great care bei ng taken to reduce the eff ects of mi smatch and l eakage, the
total uncertai nty of measurement usi ng thi s system i s f rom ±0.0006 dB at 10 dB
to ±0.01 dB at 100 dB, f or 95 per cent conf i dence probabi l i ty.
5.3.5 I F substi tuti on method
An I F substi tuti on attenuati on system compares the attenuati on through the devi ce
under test wi th an I F attenuati on standard, whi ch may be an I F pi ston attenuator,
hi gh-f requency I VD or a box of ‘ π’ or ‘ T ’ type resi sti ve attenuator networks.
Fi gure 5.15 shows a si mpl i f i ed pi ston attenuator arrangement normal l y used as
an I F substi tuti on standard. The tube acts as a wavegui de bel ow cut-off transmi ssi on
l i ne. An I F si gnal , usual l y 30 or 60 MHz, i s l aunched i nto the tube f rom the f i xed
i nput coi l . A metal l i c gri d acts as a mode f i l ter ensuri ng that onl y a si ngl e mode (H
11
,
E
01
, H
21
, E
11
or H
01
) i s transmi tted. The vol tage i n the output coi l f al l s exponenti al l y
as the separati on between the two coi l s i ncreases. For perf ectl y conducti ng cyl i nder
Fixed
inout coil
Mode
filter
Circular tube
Moveable
output coil
(Piston)
Fi gure 5.15 Pi ston attenuator
106 Mi crowave measurements
wal l s wi th a coi l separati on Z
1
to Z
2
, the attenuati on i n dB may be f ound f rom:
αp = 8.686 ×2π (Z
2
−Z
1
)
¸

Snm
2πr

2

1
λ
2

0.5
(5.19)
where r i s the cyl i nder radi us, λ i s the f ree space wavel ength and Snm i s a constant
dependent upon the exci tati on mode.
Preci si on engi neeri ng i s requi red i n manuf acturi ng the pi ston attenuator. A tol er-
ance of ±1 part i n 10
4
on the i nternal radi us i s equi val ent to ±0.001 dB per 10 dB.
Thecyl i nder i s someti mes temperaturestabi l i sed and al aser i nterf erometer empl oyed
to measure the pi ston di spl acement.
When the pi ston attenuator i s adj usted f or a l ow attenuati on setti ng, there i s a
systemati c error resul ti ng i n non-l i neari ty due to the i nteracti on between the coi l s.
Thi s error reduces as the coi l s part, and i s negl i gi bl e at about 30 dB i nserti on l oss.
A pi ston attenuator devel oped at NPL by Yel l [ 18,19] i sused asanati onal standard.
The pi ston i s mounted verti cal l y and supported on ai r beari ngs to prevent contact
wi th the cyl i nder wal l . Di spl acements are measured wi th a l aser i nterf erometer. The
cyl i nder i s made of el ectrof ormed copper deposi ted on a stai nl ess steel mandrel . Thi s
uni t has a range of 120 dB, resol uti on of 0.0002 dB and a stated accuracy of 0.001 i n
120 dB.
Fi gure 5.16 shows the basi c l ayout of a paral l el I F substi tuti on system. Here, the
30 MHz I F i nput si gnal i s compared wi th a 30 MHz ref erence si gnal , whi ch may be
adj usted i n l evel by usi ng a cal i brated preci si on pi ston attenuator. These two si gnal s
are100 per cent squarewavemodul ated i n counter phaseand aref ed to theI Fampl i f i er.
A tuned phase sensi ti ve detector (PSD) i s used to detect and di spl ay the di ff erence
between the two al ternatel y recei ved si gnal s. Thi s ci rcui t i s very eff ecti ve and can
detect a nul l i n the presence of much noi se. The system i s i nsensi ti ve to changes i n I F
ampl i f i er gai n, but an automati c gai n control l oop i s provi ded, to automati cal l y keep
the detector sensi ti vi ty constant.
0.01– 18GHz
synth
Matching
Matching
0.01 – 18GHz
synth
Combiner
2nd
detector
Piston
attenuator
Noise
generator
30 MHz
generator
1kHz
amp
PSD
1kHz
squarewave
generator
IF
amp
afc
amp
30MHz
if
30MHz
IF
D
U
T
Mixer
Fi gure 5.16 Par al l el I F substi tuti on system
Attenuati on measurement 107
I n operati on, the two si gnal s are adj usted to be at the same ampl i tude, i ndi cated
by a nul l on the ampl i tude bal ance i ndi cator. Af ter the DUT i s i nserted, the system i s
agai n brought to a nul l by adj usti ng the preci si on pi ston attenuator. The di ff erence i n
the two setti ngs of the standard attenuator may be read di rectl y and i s a measure of
the i nserti on l oss of the unknown devi ce.
For si gnal l evel s bel ow −90 dBm, noi se generated by the mi xer i n the si gnal
channel may cause an error and i t i s necessary to bal ance thi s by i ntroduci ng extra
noi se i nto the ref erence channel . The system descri bed above has a speci f i cati on of
±0.01 dB per 10 dB up to 40 dB, ±0.27 dB at 80 dB and ±0.5 dB at 100 dB.
5.3.6 RF substi tuti on method
Wi th the RF substi tuti on method, the attenuati on through the devi ce under test i s
compared wi th a standard mi crowave attenuator operati ng at the same f requency.
The standard mi crowave attenuator i s usual l y a preci si on wavegui de rotary vane
attenuator (rva) or mi crowave pi ston attenuator.
Fi gure5.17 showsthebasi c partsof awavegui derotary vaneattenuator, descri bed
by Banni ng [ 20] . I t consi sts of three metal i sed gl ass vanes: two end vanes f i xed i n a
di recti on perpendi cul ar to the i nci dent el ectri c vector and a thi rd vane, whi ch i s l ossy
and abl e to rotate, set di ametri cal l y across the ci rcul ar wavegui de. When the central
Rectangular to
circular waveguide
tapers
Rotor
Metalised
galss vanes
θ
Fi gure 5.17 Rotar y vane attenuator
108 Mi crowave measurements
Detector
Indicator
Isolator Isolator Isolator
Isolator
Matching Matching
Matching Matching
DUT
Insertion point
Precision
RVA 1
Precision
RVA 2
Matching Matching
High power
microwave
generator
Fi gure 5.18 Ser i es RF substi tuti on
vane i s at an angl e θ rel ati ve to the two f i xed vanes, the total attenuati on i s gi ven by:
A
rva
= 40 l og
10
(sec θ) +A
0
(5.20)
where A
0
i s the resi dual attenuati on when al l three vanes l i e i n the same pl ane
(θ = 0).
The rotary vane attenuator i s an extremel y usef ul i nstrument as the attenuati on i s
al most i ndependent of f requency and there i s l i ttl e phase change as the attenuati on
i s vari ed. As can be seen f rom (5.20), attenuati on i s not a l i near f uncti on of the
central vane angl e. A change i n θ f rom 0.000

to 0.615

= 0.001 dB, but a change
i n θ f rom 86.776

to 88.188

changes the attenuati on f rom 50 to 60 dB. A hi gh-
qual i ty rotary vane attenuator can have an attenuati on range of 0–70 dB, dependent
on the attenuati on of the central vane and the vane al i gnment error. The accuracy
of a commerci al l y avai l abl e rotary vane attenuator i s i n the order of ±2 per cent of
readi ng or 0.1 dB whi chever i s the l arger. Rotary vane attenuators have been made
at NPL whi ch have a di spl ay resol uti on of 0.0001

. They f ol l ow the 40 l og
10
(sec θ)
l aw to wi thi n ±0.006 dB up to 40 dB.
Fi gure 5.18 i s a bl ock di agram of a very si mpl e seri es RF substi tuti on system,
empl oyi ng two preci si on rotary vane attenuators. As attenuati on through the DUT i s
i ncreased, the attenuati on i n the preci si on rotary vane attenuator i s adj usted f rom the
datum setti ng to keep the detector output constant. The di ff erence between the new
rotary vane attenuator setti ng and the datum setti ng i s equal to the l oss through the
DUT. Thi s system coul d be enhanced by square wave modul ati ng the si gnal source
and usi ng a synchronous detector. By usi ng two preci si on rotary vane attenuators
i t i s possi bl e to obtai n a dynami c range of 100 dB but a very stabl e hi gh power
si gnal generator woul d be necessary and the output power must be wi thi n the power
coeff i ci ent l i mi ts of the mi crowave components used. Great care must be taken to
reduce RF l eakage.
5.3.7 The automati c networ k anal yser
Fi gure 5.19 i s a greatl y si mpl i f i ed bock di agram of a commerci al l y avai l abl e
mi crowave network anal yser. The i nstrument i s basi cal l y a mi croprocessor con-
trol l ed two-channel superhetrodynerecei ver, empl oyi ng an ul tral i near phasesensi ti ve
detector to detect magni tude and phase di ff erence between the channel s. The si gnal
generator RF output i s spl i t i nto a ref erence channel and a measurement channel ,
Attenuati on measurement 109
Power
splitter
Bridge or
coupler
Bridge or
coupler
Mixer Mixer Mixer Mixer
CH1 CH2 CH3 CH4 LO
IF IF IF IF
PSD
S
21
or S
22
S
11
or S
12
PSD
Power
splitter
Signal
generator
DUT
Fi gure 5.19 Vector networ k anal yser
whi ch consi sts of hi gh-di recti vi ty di recti onal coupl ers or RF Wheatstone bri dges,
capabl e of spl i tti ng the f orward and ref l ected waves to and f rom the devi ce under test.
Wi th ref erence to Fi gure 5.18, when both swi tches are posi ti oned to the ri ght,
channel 1 provi des the ref erence si gnal s f or the phase sensi ti ve detectors, channel 2
gi ves the real and i magi nary parts of S
11
and channel 3 yi el ds the real and i magi nary
parts of S
21
. Wi th the swi tches set to the l ef t, channel 4 provi des the ref erence si gnal s
f or the phase sensi ti ve detectors, channel 2 gi ves the real and i magi nary parts of S
12
and channel 3 yi el ds the real and i magi nary parts of S
22
. Thus, al l f our S-parameters
may be determi ned wi thout reversi ng the devi ce under test.
I n use, thei nstrument i streated asabl ack box, whereknown cal i brati on standards,
such as open and short ci rcui ts, ai r l i nes, sl i di ng or f i xed termi nati on and known
attenuators are measured at the test ports and the resul ts stored and used to correct
measurements made on the devi ce under test. Wi th the devi ce under test removed and
port 1 connected to port 2, the i nstrument wi l l measure the compl ex i mpedance of i ts
generator and detector. These data are stored and used i n the equati on f or cal cul ati ng
attenuati on.
These i nstruments are extremel y f ast and versati l e and resul ts may be di spl ayed
i n f requency or ti me domai n, usi ng a f ast Fouri er transf orm process. They are very
accurate when measuri ng ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent but have a l i mi ted dynami c range
f or attenuati on measurement, due to avai l abl e si gnal source l evel , harmoni c mi xi ng
and channel crosstal k or l eakage. The network anal yser bri dge or coupl er sensi ti vi ty
decreases wi th f requency (rol l off ); theref ore, one may f i nd an RF network anal yser
110 Mi crowave measurements
Tabl e 5.1 RF vector networ k anal yser
Attenuati on (dB) 300 kHz (dB) 3 GHz (dB) 6 GHz (dB)
0 ±0.03 ±0.04 ±0.05
50 ±0.11 ±0.09 ±0.12
75 ±1.65 ±1.34 ±1.68
Tabl e 5.2 Mi crowave vector networ k anal yser
Attenuati on (dB) 50 MHz (dB) 26.5 GHz (dB)
0 ±0.03 ±0.11
50 ±0.05 ±0.21
80 ±0.60 ±3.50
operati ng f rom 300 kHz to 6 GHz, a mi crowave network anal yser operati ng f rom
50 MHz to 50 GHz and a mi l l i metri c wave network anal yser operati ng f rom 75 to
110 GHz.
Typi cal measurement uncertai nti es are gi ven i n Tabl es 5.1 and 5.2.
5.4 I mpor tant consider ations when making attenuation measur ements
5.4.1 Mi smatch uncer tai nty
Mi smatch between the generator, detector and devi ce under test i s usual l y one of the
most si gni f i cant contri buti onsto attenuati on measurement uncertai nty. Wi th ref erence
to (5.6) and (5.7), these parameters must be measured to cal cul ate the attenuati on of
the DUT f rom the measured i nserti on l oss. I t may be possi bl e to measure the devi ce
under test and the detector ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent by usi ng a sl otted l i ne, RF bri dge or
scal ar/network anal yser. Measuri ng the si gnal generator output ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent
i s more di ff i cul t, as i t may have an acti ve l evel l i ng l oop i n i ts RF output stage.
I f si ngl e f requency measurements are to be made then the generator and detector
match may be i mproved by usi ng f erri te i sol ators and tuners such as i n Fi gure 5.8.
The tuner must be adj usted f or each f requency and thi s once tedi ous process has been
i mproved by the i ntroducti on of computer-control l ed motori sed tuners. Tuners and
i sol ators are narrow band devi ces and are not practi cal f or l ow-RF f requenci es (l ong
wavel ength) use due to thei r physi cal si ze. They are al so prone to RF l eakage and
great care must be taken when maki ng hi gh-attenuati on measurements wi th these
devi ces i n ci rcui t.
For wi de band measurements, the generator match may be i mproved by usi ng a
hi gh-di recti vi ty di recti onal coupl er or atwo-resi stor spl i tter i n al evel l i ng l oop ci rcui t.
Attenuati on measurement 111
2
1
3
50 Ω
50 Ω
50 Ω
50 Ω
Leveling
loop
Generator
Fi gure 5.20 Two-resi stor power spl i tter
A hi gh-qual i ty ‘ paddi ng’ attenuator pl aced bef ore the detector wi l l al so i mprove the
detector match but i ts attenuati on may restri ct the dynami c range of the system.
Fi gure 5.20 shows a two-resi stor power spl i tter, whi ch i s constructed to have a
50 resi stor i n seri esbetween port 1 and port 2, and an i denti cal resi stor between port
1 and port 3. Thi s type of spl i tter shoul d onl y ever be used i n a generator l evel l i ng
ci rcui t conf i gurati on as i n Fi gure 5.20 and must never be used as a power di vi der
i n a 50 system. (I f you connect a 50 termi nati on to port 1 and port 2 then the
i mpedance seen at port 3 i s approxi matel y 83.33 .)
Thi s power spl i tter has been speci f i cal l y desi gned to l evel the power f rom the
si gnal source and to i mprove the generator source match. I n Fi gure 5.19, i f a detector
i sconnected to port 3 and theoutput of thedetector i scompared wi th astabl eref erence
and then connected to thesi gnal generator ampl i tudecontrol vi aahi gh-gai n ampl i f i er
(l evel l i ng l oop), then any change i n the generator output at port 1 i s seen across both
50 seri esresi storsand detected at port 3. Thi schangei sused to correct thegenerator
output f or a constant l evel at port 3. As port 2 i s connected to port 1 by an i denti cal
resi stor, port 2 i s al so hel d l evel .
I f an i mperf ect termi nati on i s connected to port 2 then vol tage wi l l be ref l ected
back i nto port 2 at some phase. Thi s vol tage wi l l be seen across the 50 resi stor and
the generator i nternal i mpedance. I f the generator i nternal i mpedance i s i mperf ect
then some of the vol tage wi l l be re-ref l ected by the generator, causi ng a change i n
l evel at port 1. Thi s change i n l evel i s detected at port 3 and used to correct the
generator to mai ntai n a constant output l evel at the j uncti on of the two resi stors. Port
1 i s percei ved as a vi rtual earth, thus when the l evel l i ng ci rcui t i s acti ve, the eff ecti ve
i mpedance seen l ooki ng i nto port 2 wi l l be the i mpedance of the 50 seri es resi stor.
112 Mi crowave measurements
Two-resi stor spl i tters are characteri sed i n terms of output tracki ng and equi val ent
output ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent. A typi cal speci f i cati on f or a spl i tter f i tted wi th type N
connectors woul d be ±0.2 dB tracki ng between ports at 18 GHz, and an eff ecti ve
ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of ±0.025 to ±0.075 f rom DC to 18 GHz. The spl i tter has a
nomi nal i nserti on l oss of 3 dB between the i nput and output ports.
I n keepi ng wi th the Uni ted Ki ngdom Accredi tati on Servi ce (UKAS) document
M3003 [ 21] , the equati on recommended f or cal cul ati ng mi smatch uncertai nty f or a
step attenuator i s
M =
8.686
(2)
0.5
¸
|
G
|
2

|S
11a
|
2
+|S
11b
|
2

+|
L
|
2

|S
22a
|
2
+|S
22b
|
2

+|
G
|
2
|
L
|
2

|S
21a
|
4
+|S
21b
|
4
¸
0.5
(5.21)
where
G
and
L
are the source and l oad ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents. S
11
, S
22
, S
21
are the
scatteri ng coeff i ci ents of the attenuator, a and b ref erri ng to the starti ng and f i ni shi ng
val ue.
The probabi l i ty di stri buti on f or mi smatch usi ng thi s f ormul a i s consi dered to be
normal , compared to the l i mi t di stri buti on of f ormul ae (5.6) and (5.7).
5.4.2 RF l eakage
I n wi dedynami c rangemeasurementsi t i sessenti al to check f or RF l eakagebypassi ng
the devi ce under test and enteri ng the measurement system. Thi s may be done by
setti ng the system to the hi ghest attenuati on setti ng and movi ng a di el ectri c, such
as a hand or metal obj ect, over the equi pment and cabl es. I n a l eaky system the
detector output wi l l vary as the l eakage path i s di sturbed. I f the measurement set up
i ncorporates a l evel l i ng power meter, thi s can be used to produce a known repeatabl e
step, whi ch shoul d be constant f or any setti ng of the devi ce under test.
RF l eakage may be reduced by usi ng good condi ti on preci si on connectors and
semi -ri gi d cabl es, wrappi ng connectors, i sol atorsand other componentsi n al umi ni um
or copper f oi l , keepi ng the RF source a good di stance f rom the detector and ensur-
i ng that no other l aboratory work at the cri ti cal f requenci es takes pl ace. When the
measured attenuati on i s much greater than the l eakage, A
1
A
a
then:
U
LK
i s approxi matel y ±8.686 ×10
−(A
1
−A
a
)/20
(5.22)
where A
1
=l eakage path, A
a
= DUT attenuator setti ng, U
LK
=uncertai nty due to
l eakage.
For exampl e, i f al eakagepath 40 dB bel ow theDUT attenuator setti ng i sassumed,
then error due to l eakage i s gi ven i n Tabl e 5.3. Thi s contri buti on i s a l i mi t havi ng a
rectangul ar probabi l i ty di stri buti on.
5.4.3 Detector l i near i ty
Thi s i ncl udes the l i neari ty of the anal ogue to di gi tal ci rcui ts of a di gi tal vol tmeter,
squarel aw of adi odeor thermocoupl edetector, or mi xer l i neari ty of asuperhetrodyne
recei ver. The l i neari ty may be determi ned by appl yi ng the same smal l repeatabl e
Attenuati on measurement 113
Tabl e 5.3 Measured step and assumed l eakage er ror
Measured step (dB) Assumed l eakage error (dB)
10 ±0.000
20 ±0.000
30 ±0.000
40 ±0.000
50 ±0.000
60 ±0.001
70 ±0.003
80 ±0.009
90 ±0.027
100 ±0.087
110 ±0.275
Signal generator
External
levelling
HP432A power meter
BP filter
1dB
step attenuator
Power sensor
under test
10dB
step attenuator
HP 8478B
thermistor mount
DMM
Power meter
Termination
High directivity
coupler
Fi gure 5.21 Detector l i near i ty tests
l evel change to the detector over i ts enti re dynami c range. Thi s l evel change may be
produced wi th a very repeatabl e swi tched attenuator operati ng i n a matched system.
Fi gure 5.21 shows a vari ati on of a techni que descri bed at the 22nd ARMMS
Conf erence 1995 and at BEMC 1995. I t i nvol ves appl yi ng a preci se and repeatabl e
5 dB step, at vari ous l evel s, to a power sensor, detector or recei ver under test. I f the
si gnal generator i s external l y l evel l ed f rom the power meter recorder output, as i n
114 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 5.20, then swi tchi ng to a consecuti ve range, say 3 mW to 1 mW, produces a
nomi nal but hi ghl y repeatabl e 5 dB step. The power l evel appl i ed to the devi ce under
test i s adj usted usi ng the step attenuators, such that the 5 dB step i s appl i ed over the
i nstrument’ s operati ng range.
Measurements are best made starti ng wi th mi ni mum power appl i ed to the DUT
and i ncreasi ng the power to a maxi mum. The system may be automated usi ng a GPI B
control l er setti ng the si gnal generator output and swi tchi ng the step attenuator. The
HP432A power meter bri dgeoutput vol tages V
0
, V
1
, V
comp
aremeasured usi ng al ong
scal e di gi tal vol tmeter.
5.4.4 Detector l i near i ty measurement uncer tai nty budget
• Li neari ty of the 5 dB step due to the thermi stor and power meter = ±0.0005 dB.
• Measurement repeatabi l i ty = ±0.01 dB nomi nal (but shoul d be determi ned by
mul ti pl e measurements).
• Dri f t i s determi ned by experi ment and i s dependent on temperature stabi l i ty and
the power meter range.
• Leakage i s determi ned by experi ment and i s dependent on the step attenuator
setti ng.
• Mi smatch. The eff ecti ve source match remai ns constant f or the 5 dB step mea-
surement; thus, uncertai nty contri buti ons due to mi smatch between source and
DUT cancel . Changes i n l oad i mpedance are seen as contri buti ng to the measured
non-l i neari ty.
Fi gure 5.22 shows a typi cal di ode power sensor l i neari ty response usi ng the mea-
surement method descri bed above. Note that dri f t and noi se eff ect the measurement
at l evel s l ess than −50 dBm.
0.04
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.08
0.1
0.12
0.14
0.16
0.18
0.02
−65 −45 −25 15
Applied level dB
D
e
v
i
a
t
i
o
n

f
r
o
m

l
i
n
e
a
r
i
t
y

d
B
−0.04
−0.02
0
0.04
0.06
0.08
0.1
0.12
0.14
0.16
0.18
0.02
Fi gure 5.22 Power sensor l i near i ty
Attenuati on measurement 115
5.4.5 System resol uti on
I f the detector i s a power meter or measurement recei ver i ncorporati ng measurement
ranges, then i t i s possi bl e that the i nstrument resol uti on wi l l depend on whether i t i s
measuri ng at near f ul l scal e or at l ow scal e. A power meter f or i nstance, may resol ve
to three deci mal pl aces at f ul l scal e but onl y three deci mal pl aces at l ow scal e. A
di gi tal vol tmeter resol uti on i s l i mi ted by the scal e of i ts anal ogue to di gi tal converter
and an anal oguemeter may haveanon-l i near scal e. Thecontri buti on dueto resol uti on
i s taken as a l i mi t, havi ng a rectangul ar probabi l i ty di stri buti on.
5.4.6 System noi se
The system noi se i s a measure of the recei ver or detector sensi ti vi ty. As the measure-
ment gets cl ose to the sensi ti vi ty l i mi t, thermal , shot and l /f noi se create a f l uctuati ng
readi ng. The detector output may be ti me averaged to present a more stabl e i ndi -
cati on but there i s a l i mi t to appl yi ng averagi ng af ter whi ch, thi s process becomes
unhel pf ul and may obscure the correct answer. The system noi se may be reduced by
i ncreasi ng the generator output l evel , usi ng a phase sensi ti ve detector, or usi ng a l ow
noi se ampl i f i er bef ore the detector. The gauge bl ock techni que shown i n Fi gure 5.9
i s another way around thi s probl em.
Noi se i s consi dered as a random (type A) uncertai nty contri buti on, where mul ti -
pl e measurements usi ng the same equi pment set up wi l l gi ve di ff erent resul ts. [ For
systemati c (type B) uncertai nti es, resul ts change i f the system set up changes.]
5.4.7 Stabi l i ty and dr i ft
System stabi l i ty and dri f t are parti cul arl y i mportant uncertai nty contri buti ons f or
si ngl e channel measurement systems, where any dri f t i n generator output or detec-
tor sensi ti vi ty wi l l have a f i rst-order eff ect on the measurement resul ts. I t i s good
measurement practi ce to al l ow test equi pment to temperature stabi l i se bef ore mea-
surements commence and to measure system dri f t over the possi bl e ti me requi red to
make a measurement.
5.4.8 Repeatabi l i ty
The repeatabi l i ty of a parti cul ar measurement may onl y be deri ved by f ul l y repeati ng
that measurement a number of ti mes. Stati sti cs such as those descri bed i n UKAS
document M3003 are used to determi ne the contri buti on to measurement uncertai nty.
I f the devi ce under test i s a coaxi al devi ce i nserted i nto the measurement system, i t
i s usual to rotate the connector by 45

f or each i nserti on. Uncertai nty contri buti ons
due to the eff ect of f l exi ng RF cabl es, mechani cal vi brati ons, operator contri buti on,
system noi se and RF swi tch contacts, to l i st but a f ew, shoul d be f ul l y expl ored.
Semi -ri gi d RF cabl es gi ve l ower l eakage and attenuati on/phase change than
screened coaxi al cabl es when they are f l exed. Chokel ess wavegui de f l anges gi ve
better repeatabi l i ty than choked j oi nts. For preci si on measurements or where a
mi crowave network anal yser i s empl oyed i t i s usef ul to al l ow several peopl e to make
116 Mi crowave measurements
thesamemeasurement, i n order to quanti f y operator uncertai nty. Wherean i nstrument
or system contai ns mechani cal mi crowave swi tches i t has been f ound benef i ci al to
exerci se the swi tches several ti mes, i f they have not been i n use f or some hours
(a smal l sof tware routi ne can do thi s).
5.4.9 Cal i br ati on standard
Cal i brati on standards such as the i nducti ve vol tage di vi der, I F pi ston attenuator, RF
pi ston attenuator, rotary vane attenuator, swi tched coaxi al attenuator and vari ous
power sensors have been covered previ ousl y i n the text. These standards woul d
normal l y be cal i brated by the Nati onal Physi cal Laboratory or a UKAS Accredi ted
Laboratory provi di ng nati onal traceabi l i ty.
The Nati onal Standards are proven by exhausti ve physi cal and sci enti f i c research
and i nternati onal i ntercompari son. The measurement uncertai nti es are usual l y
cal cul ated f or approxi matel y 95 per cent conf i dence probabi l i ty.
When usi ng the cal i brati on resul ts f rom the hi gher l aboratory, the uncertai nti es
must be i ncreased to i ncl ude the dri f t of the attenuator between cal i brati ons and any
i nterpol ati on between cal i brated poi nts. I t i sal so i mportant that thestandard beused at
the same temperature at whi ch i t was cal i brated, parti cul arl y a pi ston or swi tched step
attenuator. A 100 dB coaxi al attenuator havi ng a temperature coeff i ci ent of 0.0001
dB per

C may change by 0.01 dB per 1

C change i n temperature.
5.5 A wor ked example of a 30 dB attenuation measur ement
The worked exampl e i n Tabl e 5.4 i s f or a si mpl e case of a 30 dB coaxi al attenua-
tor, measured usi ng the dual channel power rati o system as shown i n Fi gure 5.23.
The measurement i s repeated f i ve ti mes, f rom whi ch the mean resul t and standard
Signal generator
Two resistor
splitter
Power sensor B Power sensor A
Device
under test
Insertion point
A B
Dual channel
power meter
Fi gure 5.23 A si mpl e dual channel power r ati o system
Attenuati on measurement 117
Tabl e 5.4 Measurements of dual channel power r ati o system
P
1
A (µW) P
1
B (µW) P
2
A (µW) wi th P
2
A (µW) wi th Cal cul ated i nserti on
wi thout DUT wi thout DUT DUT i nserted DUT i nserted l oss (dB)
10.001 10.1 10.01 10.2 30.039
10.002 10.1 10.01 10.2 30.039
9.993 10.1 9.99 10.1 30.047
9.997 10.0 9.99 10.2 30.089
9.995 10.0 9.98 10.1 30.050
Mean val ue of the f i ve cal cul ated sampl es: 30.053 dB.
devi ati on are cal cul ated. Thi s exampl e f ol l ows the requi rements of UKAS document
M3003.
I nserti on l oss i s cal cul ated f rom
10 l og
10

P
1
A
P
1
B

·

P
2
B
P
2
A

(5.23)
5.5.1 Contr i buti ons to measurement uncer tai nty
Type A r andom contr i buti ons, U
ran
. The esti mated standard devi ati on of the
uncorrected mean = 0.009 dB (normal probabi l i ty di stri buti on).
Thi s may be cal cul ated usi ng
(σn −1)
(n)
0.5
(5.24)
whereσ i s thestandard devi ati on of thepopul ati on, n i s thenumber of measurements,
mi smatch contri buti on, U
mi s
, where
G
= 0.05,
L
= 0.02, S
11
= 0.07, S
22
= 0.05,
S
12
and S
11
= 0.031.
Themeasurement uncertai nty of theseval uesi staken as±0.02 and combi ni ng the
measured val ue and i ts uncertai nty i n quadrature, we have
G
= 0.054,
L
= 0.028,
S
11
= 0.073 and S
22
= 0.054. Putti ng these val ues i nto the mi smatch f ormul a (5.21)
we arri ve at an uncertai nty of 0.026 dB (normal probabi l i ty di stri buti on).
Detector l i near i ty, U
l i n
. Thedetector l i neari ty was measured and f ound to be ±0.02
dB over 30 dB range (l i mi t di stri buti on).
The measurement uncertai nty of the detector l i neari ty i s i n the order of ±0.002
dB and i s i gnored, bei ng an order l ess than other contri buti ons.
Power meter resol uti on, U
res
. The uncertai nty due to power meter resol uti on
was determi ned by experi ment and f ound to be a maxi mum of ±0.03 dB (l i mi t
di stri buti on).
Leakage. The l eakage was f ound to be l ess than 0.0001 dB and has not been i ncl uded
i n the uncertai nty cal cul ati ons.
118 Mi crowave measurements
T
a
b
l
e
5
.
5
M
e
a
s
u
r
e
m
e
n
t
u
n
c
e
r
t
a
i
n
t
y
s
p
r
e
a
d
s
h
e
e
t
f
o
r
a
3
0
d
B
c
o
a
x
i
a
l
a
t
t
e
n
u
a
t
o
r
a
t
1
0
G
H
z
S
y
m
b
o
l
U
l
i
n
U
r
e
s
U
m
i
s
U
r
a
n
v
e
f
f
k
U
c
(
A
t
t
e
n
x
)
U
n
c
e
r
t
a
i
n
t
y
S
o
u
r
c
e
o
f
u
n
c
e
r
t
a
i
n
t
y
L
i
n
e
a
r
i
t
y
o
f
p
o
w
e
r
s
e
n
s
o
r
R
e
s
o
l
u
t
i
o
n
M
i
s
m
a
t
c
h
u
(
x
i
)
=
σ
e
s
t
(
n
)
1
/
2
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
d
i
s
t
r
i
b
u
t
i
o
n
R
e
c
t
R
e
c
t
N
o
r
m
a
l
N
o
r
m
a
l
N
o
r
m
a
l
N
o
r
m
a
l
(
k
=
2
)
D
i
v
i
s
o
r

3

3
1
1
S
e
n
s
i
t
i
v
i
t
y
m
u
l
t
i
p
l
i
e
r
c
i
1
1
1
1
M
e
a
s
u
r
e
d
s
t
e
p
C
o
m
b
i
n
e
d
s
t
a
n
d
a
r
d
u
n
c
e
r
t
a
i
n
t
y
±
d
B
E
x
p
a
n
d
e
d
u
n
c
e
r
t
a
i
n
t
y
±
d
B
C
o
n
t
r
i
b
u
t
i
o
n
(
d
B
)
0
.
0
2
0
.
0
3
0
.
0
2
6
0
.
0
0
9
3
0
.
0
5
3
1
3
8
6
2
0
.
0
3
9
0
.
0
8
M
e
a
s
u
r
e
d
a
t
t
e
n
u
a
t
i
o
n
:
3
0
.
5
3
d
B
±
0
.
0
8
d
B
Attenuati on measurement 119
Power meter range and zero carry over are i ncl uded i n the power sensor l i neari ty
measurements and cannot be separated. Si mi l arl y, noi se and dri f t cannot be separated
f rom the random measurement of the f i ve sampl es.
The spreadsheet i n Tabl e 5.5 i s a conveni ent way to l i st the uncertai nty
contri buti ons and cal cul ate the measurement uncertai nty.
The reported expanded uncertai nty i s based on a standard uncertai nty mul ti pl i ed
by a coverage f actor k = 2, provi di ng a l evel of conf i dence of approxi matel y 95
per cent. The uncertai nty eval uati on has been carri ed out i n accordance wi th UKAS
requi rements.
Refer ences
1 Ol df i el d, L. C.: Mi crowave Measurement, I EE El ectri cal Measurement Seri es 3
(Peter Peregri nus, London, 1985), p. 107
2 Si ncl ai r, M. W.: Mi crowave Measurement, I EE El ectri cal Measurement Seri es 3
(Peter Peregri nus, London, 1985), p. 202
3 Warner, F. L.: Mi crowave Attenuati on Measurement (Peter Peregri nus, London,
1977), Chapter 2.9
4 Cherry, P., Oram, W., and Hj i pi eri s, G.: ‘ A dynami c cal i brator f or detector non-
l i neari ty characteri zati on’ , Mi crowave Engi neer i ng Europe, 1995
5 Orf ord, G. R., and Abbot, N. P.: ‘ Some recent measurements of l i neari ty of
thermi stor power meters’ , I EE Col l oqui um Di gest, 1981;49
6 Coster, A.: ‘ Cal i brati on of the Lucas Wei nschel attenuator and si gnal cal i brator’ ,
BEMC Conference Di gest, 1995
7 Coster, A.: ‘ Aspects of cal i brati on – power spl i tters and detector l i neari ty
cal i brati on’ , 27th ARMMS Conference Di gest, 1998
8 Stel zri ed, C. T., and Petty, S. M.: ‘ Mi crowave i nserti on l oss test set’ , I EEE
Tr ansacti ons on Mi crowave Theor y and Techni ques, 1964;M T T-12:475–477
9 Stel zri ed, C. T., and Rei d, M. S.: ‘ Preci si on DC potenti ometer mi crowave i nser-
ti on l oss test set’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on I nstr umentati on and Measurement,
1966;L M -15:98–104
10 Hi l l , J. J., and Mi l l er, A. P.: ‘ A seven decade adj ustabl e rati o i nducti vel y coupl ed
vol tage di vi der wi th 0.1 part per mi l l i on accuracy’ , Proc. I EEE, 1962;109B:
157–162
11 Warner, F. L.: Mi crowave Measurement, I EE El ectri cal Measurement Seri es 3
(Peter Peregri nus, London, 1985), Chapter 8
12 Bayer, H., Warner, F. L., and Yel l , R. W.: ‘ Attenuati on and rati o nati onal
standards’ , Proc. I EEE, 1986;74:46–59
13 Warner, F. L., Herman, P., and Cummi ngs, P.: ‘ Recent i mprovements to
the UK Nati onal mi crowave attenuati on standards’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on
I nstr umentati on and Measurement, 1983;L M -32:33–37
14 Warner, F. L., and Herman, P.: ‘ Very preci se measurement of attenuati on over a
90 dB range usi ng a vol tage rati o pl us gauge bl ock techni que’ , I EE Col l oqui um
Di gest, 1989;53:17/1–17/7
120 Mi crowave measurements
15 Ki l by, G. J., and Warner, F. L.: ‘ The accurate measurement of attenuati on and
phase’ , I EE Col l oqui um Di gest, 1994;042:5/1–5/4
16 Ki l by, G. J., Smi th, T. A., and Warner, F. L.: ‘ The accurate measurement of
hi gh attenuati on at radi o f requenci es’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on I nstr umentati on
and Measurement, 1995;I M -44(2):308–311
17 Warner, F. L.: ‘ Hi gh accuracy 150 dB attenuati on measurement system f or
traceabi l i ty at RF’ , I EE Col l oqui um Di gest, 1990;174:3/1–3/7
18 Yel l , R. W.: ‘ Devel opment of hi gh preci si on wavegui de beyond cut-off attenua-
tor’ , CPEM Conference Di gest, 1972, pp. 108–110
19 Yel l , R. W.: ‘ Devel opment i n wavegui de bel ow cut-off attenuators at NPL’ , I EE
Col l oqui um Di gest, 1981;49:1/1–1/5
20 Banni ng, H. W.: The measurement of Attenuati on: a Pr acti cal Gui de (Wei nschel
Engi neeri ng Co. I nc., Gai thersburg, MD 20877, USA)
21 UKAS: The expressi on of uncer tai nty and confi dence i n measurement, M3003,
1st edn (HMSO, London, 1997)
Fur ther r eading
Warner, F. L.: Mi crowaveAttenuati on Measurement (Peter Peregri nus, London, 1977)
Chapter 6
RF voltage measur ement
Paul C. A. Rober ts
6.1 I ntr oduction
The maj ori ty of si gnal ampl i tude or l evel measurements made at RF and mi crowave
f requenci esaremeasurementsof power rather than vol tage. Vol tagemeasuri ng i nstru-
ments such as RF mi l l i vol tmeters are sti l l i n f requent use but are nowadays l ess
common than i n the past. Probabl y, the most wi despread test i nstrument i s the osci l -
l oscope, and modern osci l l oscopes have bandwi dths that extend wel l i nto the RF and
mi crowave f requency ranges. There are a vari ety of tests and measurements of hi gh-
speed wavef orms made wi th osci l l oscopes and si mi l ar si gnal anal ysi s i nstruments
that rel y on accuratel y probi ng and capturi ng si gnal s at RF and mi crowave f requen-
ci es. Thi s chapter overvi ews a vari ety of RF and mi crowave measuri ng i nstruments,
i ncl udi ng di gi ti si ng and sampl i ng osci l l oscopes. I t bri ef l y descri bes thei r operati ng
pri nci pl es and characteri sti cs, di scusses probi ng and l oadi ng i ssues, and consi ders
traceabi l i ty and cal i brati on f or these i nstruments.
Fi gure6.1 i sachart i l l ustrati ng part of theel ectromagneti c spectrum and anumber
of typi cal appl i cati ons. The range of the el ectromagneti c spectrum descri bed by the
term ‘ RF’ (meani ng radi o f requency) i s usual l y consi dered to begi n at the f requency
whereAM broadcast radi o transmi ssi on takes pl ace(around 200 kHz). Thef requency
at whi ch ‘ RF’ becomes ‘ Mi crowave’ i s l ess cl ear, but i s usual l y consi dered to be i n
the regi on of a f ew GHz. I t i s common i n the cal i brati on communi ty to make the
di sti ncti on between the ‘ DC and l ow f requency AC’ and ‘ RF and mi crowave’ f i el ds
at around 1 MHz. Thi s chapter wi l l consi der the measurement of RF vol tage i n the
f requency of 1 MHz to a f ew GHz.
122 Mi crowave measurements
AM broadcast
Mobile phones
VHF TV
FM broadcast
UHF TV
Radars
Sat comms
GPS
RFID
Radio LANS
Automotive
anti-collision
RFID RFID
Radars Radars
Sat comms
10MHz 1GHz 100MHz 10GHz 1MHz 100GHz
300m 3m 300mm 30mm 3mm 30m
100 kHz 10 kHz
3km 30km
Frequency
Wavelength
RF
LFAC Microwave
Fi gure 6.1 Char t showi ng frequency spectr um and typi cal usage
6.2 RF voltage measur ing instr uments
6.2.1 Wi deband AC vol tmeter s
Wi deband (or broadband) AC vol tmeters are i nstruments capabl e of measuri ng vol t-
ages at f requenci es up to 10 or 20 MHz. They are essenti al l y l ow-f requency devi ces
wi th an extended f requency range – ei ther AC onl y or mul ti meter uni ts – rather than
dedi cated hi gh-f requency RF i nstruments. I nternal l y, an anal ogueRMSmeasurement
techni quei sempl oyed wi th ol der i nstrumentsf eaturi ng an anal oguedi spl ay and mod-
ern i nstruments provi di ng adi gi tal readout. General l y i nput i mpedancei s hi gh, 1 M
or 10 M wi th paral l el capaci tance of tens to hundreds of pF. I nput connectors may
be BNC coaxi al or si mpl e bi ndi ng posts.
Few modern benchtop mul ti meter or vol tmeter i nstrumentsarecapabl eof measur-
i ng above 1 or 2 MHz. Among those that do have extended bandwi dth (i n the regi on
of 10 MHz) are some preci si on systems di gi tal mul ti meters (DMMs), whi ch i ncl ude
si gnal sampl i ng and di gi ti si ng capabi l i ty. Comprehensi ve tri ggeri ng and acqui si ti on
control stogether wi th sophi sti cated i nternal si gnal anal ysi sf eaturesal l ow avari ety of
si gnal characteri sti csto bemeasured and di spl ayed. I ndi vi dual sampl eval uescan al so
bestored i n i nternal memory f or subsequent transf er to acontrol l i ng computer f or anal -
ysi s. There are al so card-based di gi ti si ng i nstruments that are capabl e of measuri ng
si gnal s at f requenci es up to around 100 MHz, but these are not di scussed here.
Ol der wi deband vol tmeter desi gnsused matched thermal vol tageconverter (TVC)
el ements to perf orm an RMS to DC conversi on. TVC i s a devi ce that responds to
the heati ng eff ect produced by a vol tage appl i ed to a heater wi re, whi ch i s sensed
by a thermocoupl e j uncti on attached to the heater wi re. A modern al ternati ve i s a
monol i thi c thermal sensor whi ch uses a transi stor as a temperature sensi ng devi ce
to sense the heati ng eff ect produced i n a resi stor – i n thi s case, a pai r of resi s-
tor/transi stor sensors i s manuf actured on a si l i con substrate. I n common wi th the
RF vol tage measurement 123
ACV
meas
Range amplifier
AC DC
RMS sensor
ADC
DMM
display
DMM
common
Fi gure 6.2 Bl ock di agr am of ther mal RMS i mpl ementati on
Fi gure 6.3 Ther mal conver ter and monol i thi c ther mal conver ter el ements
ACV
meas
Range amplifier
Operational rectifier
ADC
and
DMM
display
DMM
common
Fi gure 6.4 Bl ock di agr am of recti fi er i mpl ementati on
TVC-based desi gns, the sensors are used i n a back-to-back f eedback ci rcui t whi ch
rel i es on the matchi ng between devi ces to bal ance the heati ng eff ect f rom a DC vol t-
age wi th that of the AC i nput, produci ng a DC output equal to the true RMS val ue of
the i nput (Fi gures 6.2 and 6.3).
124 Mi crowave measurements
ACV
meas
Range amplifier
Clock
Fast
ADC
Sampling
gate
Micro-
processor
Waveform sampling
ADC
and
DMM
display
DMM
common
Fi gure 6.5 Bl ock di agr am of DMM sampl i ng system
Other si mpl e AC to DC conversi on techni ques can be empl oyed, i nvol vi ng
recti f i cati on and respondi ng to ei ther the peak or the average val ues of the si gnal . An
exampl e appears i n Fi gure 6.4. The i nstrument i s cal i brated to respond i n terms of the
RMSval ue of a si nusoi dal si gnal and wi l l exhi bi t errors i f the i nput i s non-si nusoi dal ,
has di storti on or harmoni c content.
Anal ogue RMS conversi on techni ques uti l i si ng l og-f eedback ci rcui ts i mpl e-
mented wi th bi pol ar transi stor anal ogue mul ti pl i ers (of ten ref erred to as Gi l bert
mul ti pl i er cel l s) arecommonl y used at l ower f requenci esto provi detrueRMSconver-
si on. However, they tend to have l i mi ted bandwi dth i n preci si on appl i cati ons and are
general l y not used i n i nstrumentati on above 1 or 2 MHz. Despi te thi s, recentl y i ntro-
duced RF si gnal l evel detector I Cs operati ng up to 6 GHz f or use i n communi cati ons
devi ce and systems appl i cati ons do empl oy Gi l bert mul ti pl i er techni ques.
6.2.2 Fast sampl i ng and di gi ti si ng DMMs
Al though not speci f i cal l y RF measuri ng i nstruments, some systems DMM and di gi -
ti ser cards arecapabl eof hi gh-speed si gnal sampl i ng and di gi ti si ng of si gnal s up to 10
MHz and above. Readouts can si mpl y be the RMS or peak to peak val ue of the si gnal
or can i ncl ude more compl ex anal ysi s and measurement of si gnal characteri sti cs such
as crest f actor. Access may be provi ded to the i ndi vi dual sampl e val ues stored i n an
i nternal memory or transf erred vi a a remote i nterf ace.
A sampl e and hol d ci rcui t acqui res i nstantaneous sampl es of the i nput si gnal
whi ch are di gi ti sed by an anal ogue to di gi tal converter (Fi gure 6.5). Al ternati vel y, a
f ast ‘ f l ash’ anal ogue to di gi tal converter di gi ti ses the si gnal di rectl y. Ti mi ng of the
sampl es i s cri ti cal , and a number of sampl i ng schemes can be used.
Sampl i ng schemes can take a number of approaches dependi ng on whether the
si gnal i s a one-shot event or repeti ti ve (Fi gure 6.6). I n the si mpl est f orm, sampl es
are taken at regul ar i nterval s to bui l d up a compl ete representati on of the wavef orm.
For a repeti ti ve si gnal the sampl i ng may take pl ace at a hi gher f requency than the
si gnal , wi th many sampl es per si gnal cycl e. Al ternati vel y, synchronous subsampl i ng
takes sampl es at sl i ghtl y l ater poi nts on each subsequent wavef orm, bui l di ng up
RF vol tage measurement 125
Signal sampled many
times per cycle
Signal sampled at progressively later part
of the cycle for each subsequent cycle
Fi gure 6.6 Sampl i ng a repeti ti ve si gnal
acompl eterepresentati on of thewavef orm over al argenumber of cycl es. Thi smethod
i s commonl y used f or hi gh-f requency si gnal s where the sampl i ng f requency i s much
l essthan thei nput f requency. Random sampl i ng can beused f or non-repeti ti vesi gnal s
such as noi se. Care must be taken when choosi ng the sampl i ng f requency to avoi d
al i asi ng (wherethesampl ed output i snot atruerepresentati on of thei nput si gnal ). For
si nusoi dal si gnal s consi derati on must be gi ven to the i nput si gnal f requency and i n
the case of non-si nusoi dal or di storted si gnal s the hi ghest f requency content present
must be consi dered.
6.2.3 RF mi l l i vol tmeter s
RF mi l l i vol tmeters are capabl e of measuri ng vol tages f rom a f ew mi crovol ts to sev-
eral vol ts, at f requenci es up to 1–2 GHz. Onl y a f ew manuf acturers produce thi s type
of i nstrument, but many of the popul ar i nstruments produced i n the past are sti l l i n
use today. The maj ori ty of i nstruments empl oy a hi gh i mpedance probe whi ch can be
converted to 50 or 75 i nput wi th a vari ety of termi nator and attenuator acces-
sori es. I nserti on (or ‘ through’ ) probes are avai l abl e f or some i nstruments, al l owi ng
the measurement of RF vol tage i n a matched coaxi al system. Modern i nstruments are
capabl e of accepti ng vol tage detector probes and al so power sensor probes al l owi ng
power or vol tage measurements to be made wi th the same i nstrument.
Most i nstruments use di ode detector probes that respond to the RMS val ue f or
l ow-l evel si gnal s bel ow about 30 mV and respond to the peak val ue f or hi gher l evel
si gnal s. Thei r di spl aysarecal i brated i n termsof theRMSval uef or asi nusoi dal si gnal ,
so can i ndi cate i ncorrectl y f or non-si nusoi dal si gnal s and si gnal s wi th di storti on and
hi gh harmoni c content. Other i nstruments use an RF sampl i ng techni que (descri bed
l ater, not to be conf used wi th the sampl i ng/di gi ti si ng f eatures avai l abl e on some
preci si on systems DMMs or card-based di gi ti sers), and measure the true RMS val ue
of the si gnal .
A di ode recti f i er (usual l y f ul l wave) wi thi n the meter probe converts the RF i nput
i nto a DC si gnal f or measurement and di spl ay i n the mai n uni t. At l ow l evel s (bel ow
around 30 mV) di ode response i s l ogari thmi c, eff ecti vel y measuri ng the RMS val ue
of the i nput, even f or non-si nusoi dal wavef orms. At hi gher l evel s the i nput si gnal
peak val ue i s sensed, and the meter i s cal i brated to i ndi cate the equi val ent RMS
val ue of a si newave. At these hi gher l evel s the readi ng wi l l be i n error i f the i nput
i s non-si nusoi dal , has di storti on or harmoni c content. Anal ogue l i neari sati on may
126 Mi crowave measurements
Detector probe
typically 100 kΩ/<3pF
Linearisation
Amplifier
Meter
Fi gure 6.7 Bl ock di agr amof RF mi l l i vol tmeter empl oyi ng di odedetector probewi th
anal ogue l i near i sati on
Detector probe
typically 100kΩ/<3 pF
Level
control
Amplifier
Meter
LF
source
LF comparison signal
+
Fi gure 6.8 Bl ock di agr am of RF mi l l i vol tmeter empl oyi ng matched di ode detector
probe wi th LF feedback techni que
be appl i ed to produce a l i near scal e over the enti re ampl i tude range. Compensati on
i s al so appl i ed f or the temperature dependence of the recti f i er di ode, usual l y wi th
another di ode matched to devi ce used f or detecti on (Fi gure 6.7).
Other i mpl ementati ons have addi ti onal matched di odes i n the probe to recti f y
a l ow-f requency compari son si gnal , wi th f eedback to set the compari son si gnal
ampl i tude equal to the RF i nput. The compari son si gnal i s then measured and di s-
pl ayed, automati cal l y produci ng a l i near scal e and compensati ng f or the recti f i er
di ode temperature dependency (Fi gure 6.8). Modern desi gns may i ncorporate di gi tal
compensati on wi th l i neari sati on, temperature compensati on and f requency response
correcti on i nf ormati on stored i n a cal i brati on memory wi thi n the probe i tsel f .
Al l di ode probes suff er f rom dependency of the i nput i mpedance on si gnal l evel
and f requency. I nput capaci tancei s usual l y smal l (<3 pF) but reduces at hi gher si gnal
l evel s. I ncreased l osses at hi gher f requenci es wi thi n the di ode capaci tance can cause
i nput resi stance to f al l as f requency i ncreases. Manuf acturers of ten provi de data on
i nput i mpedance vari ati on wi th thei r products.
6.2.4 Sampl i ng RF vol tmeter s
Sampl i ng RF vol tmeters use a f ast sampl i ng techni que to measure repeti ti ve wave-
f orms. Sampl i ng takes pl ace usi ng a hi gh speed di ode swi tch to charge a capaci tor to
the i nstantaneous val ue of the i nput wavef orm. Ti mi ng of the sampl i ng i s control l ed
RF vol tage measurement 127
Measurement
and display
Sample pulse
generator
Sampling probe
typically 100 kΩ/<3pF
Fi gure 6.9 Bl ock di agr am of sampl i ng vol tmeter
by the sampl e pul se generator to sampl e the i nput at progressi vel y l ater poi nts of
the wavef orm i n subsequent cycl es and create a much l ower f requency representa-
ti on of the i nput, preservi ng i ts RMS and peak val ues f or measurement and di spl ay
(Fi gure 6.9). Sampl i ng vol tmeters are much l ess common nowadays, but many of
the ol der i nstruments empl oyi ng thi s techni que are sti l l i n use. A vari ety of i mpl e-
mentati ons are used i n commerci al i nstruments, i ncl udi ng dual and random sampl i ng
techni quescapabl eof measuri ng si nusoi dal , pul seand noi sesi gnal s. Sampl i ng probes
typi cal l y havehi gh-i nput i mpedance(100 k/<3 pF), wi th 50 termi nator and atten-
uator accessori es al so avai l abl e. Accuraci es of 1–2 per cent are achi eved at 100 MHz
and around 10 per cent at 1 GHz.
Two channel s of sampl i ng usi ng a coherent sampl i ng techni que whi ch preserves
si gnal ampl i tudeand phasei nf ormati on enabl etheVector Vol tmeter to measureampl i -
tudeand phaseof theRF i nput. A typi cal i mpl ementati on empl oysavari abl esampl i ng
f requency control l ed by a phase l ock l oop to produce a sampl ed output wavef orm at
the centre f requency of two i denti cal bandpass f i l ters, one i n each channel . The f i l ter
outputs are then measured f or ampl i tude and phase di ff erence (Fi gure 6.10). Phase
accuracy of 1

can be achi eved at 100 MHz, 6

at 1 GHz and 12

at 2 GHz. Li ke
the Sampl i ng Vol tmeter, Vector Vol tmeter i nstruments are f ar l ess common than i n
the past; however, si mi l ar sampl i ng techni ques f or measuri ng ampl i tude and phase
rel ati onshi p of two si gnal s are empl oyed i n Vector Network Anal ysers.
6.2.5 Osci l l oscopes
Modern osci l l oscopes wi th bandwi dths above 1 GHz are becomi ng more popul ar
and are consi dered as general purpose test equi pment rather than speci al i st i nstru-
ments. Osci l l oscopes di spl ay vol tage wavef orms, and can do so at RF and mi crowave
f requenci es but are sel dom thought of as RF and mi crowave devi ces. Many osci l l o-
scopes have sophi sti cated measurement and readout f uncti ons capabl e of di spl ayi ng
a vari ety of si gnal characteri sti cs i n the ti me and f requency domai ns. They wi l l of ten
havehi gh i mpedanceand 50 i nputs and bepartnered wi th avari ety of probes. Mak-
i ng accuratemeasurementsdependson theappropri atechoi ceof i nput and probetype.
128 Mi crowave measurements
Sampling probe
Sampling probe
Sample pulse
generator
Phase
meter
Volt meter
PLL
Bandpass filter
Fc 20kHz BW 1kHz
Bandpass filter
Fc 20 kHz BW 1kHz
A
B
f = 20kHz
f = 20kHz
f = 1GHz
f = 1GHz
Fi gure 6.10 Bl ock di agr am of vector vol tmeter
Attenuators Pre amp
ADC Ch1
Ch2
Trigger
Memory
and
processing
ADC
Display
Trigger Timebase
Attenuators Pre amp
Switch
Ch1
Ch2
CRT
X
Y
50Ω
50Ω
50Ω
50Ω
Fi gure 6.11 Bl ock di agr ams of anal ogue osci l l oscope (top) and di gi tal osci l l oscope
(bottom)
Al ong wi th i ncreased bandwi dth, sophi sti cated probi ng systems are now avai l abl e to
al l ow probi ng of hi gh-speed and hi gh-f requency ci rcui ts and si gnal s, i ncl udi ng waf er
probe stati ons.
Anal ogue (or real ti me) osci l l oscopes di spl ay the i nput si gnal di rectl y on a cath-
ode ray tube (CRT) screen (Fi gure 6.11). Bandwi dths tend to be l i mi ted to around
RF vol tage measurement 129
Samplers
ADC Ch1
Ch2
Trigger
Memory
and
processing
ADC
Display
Fi gure 6.12 Bl ock di agr am of sampl i ng osci l l oscope
500 MHz, and these i nstruments wi l l of ten have swi tched 1 M/50 i nputs. Typi cal
1 M i nputs have up to 30 pF paral l el capaci tance f rom the i nput attenuator and
preampl i f i er ci rcui ts. Thi scapaci tancewi l l al so appear acrossthei nternal 50 termi -
nati ng i mpedance and can adversel y aff ect i ts vol tage standi ng wave rati o (VSWR).
Compensati ng networks are of ten empl oyed whi ch can al so make the 50 i nput
appear sl i ghtl y i nducti ve at some f requenci es.
Di gi tal osci l l oscopes use f ast ‘ f l ash’ anal ogue to di gi tal converters to di gi ti se and
store the i nput si gnal f or subsequent di spl ay and anal ysi s (Fi gure 6.11). Bandwi dths
of up to more than 10 GHz are currentl y avai l abl e, and these hi gh-bandwi dth i nstru-
ments have dedi cated 50 i nputs. Typi cal VSWR f i gures are <1.1 at 2 GHz, <1.3
at 4–6 GHz, wi th some i nstruments up to 2.0 at 4 GHz. VSWR worsens on the more
sensi ti ve ranges where there i s l ess attenuati on pri or to the preampl i f i er. Lower band-
wi dth osci l l oscopes have swi tched to 1 M/50 i nputs and al so tend to suff er the
VSWR eff ects resul ti ng f rom i nternal paral l el capaci tance descri bed above. A typi cal
1 GHz osci l l oscope i nput VSWR wi l l be <1.5 at 1 GHz.
Sampl i ng osci l l oscopes off er bandwi dths up to 70 GHz and sampl e the si gnal
di rectl y at thei r i nputs usi ng f ast di ode sampl er techni ques (Fi gure 6.12). Conse-
quentl y the i nput range i s typi cal l y l i mi ted to a f ew vol ts. As wi th al l sampl i ng
systems, care shoul d be taken when operati ng di gi tal and sampl i ng osci l l oscopes to
avoi d al i asi ng between the sampl i ng rate and si gnal f requency content, whi ch may
cause unexpected or erroneous resul ts.
6.2.6 Swi tched i nput i mpedance osci l l oscopes
Osci l l oscopes wi th swi tched 1 M and 50 i nputs are l i kel y to have 50 VSWR
characteri sti csthat suff er degradati on at hi gher f requenci es. Thesei nstrumentstend to
be the l ower bandwi dth devi ces, but 1 GHz osci l l oscopes are avai l abl e wi th swi tched
i nputs. Desi gni ng an osci l l oscope to gi ve a good 50 i nput presents a chal l enge as
the i nput ci rcui try typi cal l y has a reasonabl e amount of i nput capaci tance, whi ch wi l l
appear across the i nternal 50 termi nati on when i t i s swi tched i n. There are usual l y
compensati ng networkswhi ch counteract theeff ect (Fi gure6.13), but i nevi tabl y resul t
130 Mi crowave measurements
Input attenuator and
amplifier
Internal termination
50 Ω
C
o
m
p
e
n
s
a
t
i
o
n
n
e
t
w
o
r
k
C
o
m
p
e
n
s
a
t
i
o
n
n
e
t
w
o
r
k
1MΩ 10pF
Fi gure 6.13 Desi gns wi th swi tched i nput i mpedance typi cal l y empl oy compensati ng
networ ks to i mprove 50 i nput match
i n VSWR that worsens at hi gh f requenci es, and may even cause the i nput i mpedance
to becomei nducti veat somef requenci es. Consequentl y somepeaki ng or ri ngi ng may
be seen wi th si gnal s contai ni ng f ast transi ents or hi gh-speed edges, and there may be
correspondi ng f requency response vari ati ons.
6.2.7 I nstr ument i nput i mpedance effects
The manuf acturer’ s publ i shed speci f i cati ons f or i nstruments and probes general l y
i ncl ude f i gures f or nomi nal i nput i mpedance, but the actual i nput i mpedance can be
dependent on i nput si gnal l evel and/or f requency. The i nstrument’ s i nput ci rcui try
can be compl ex, model l ed by a much si mpl er equi val ent ci rcui t representati on f or
the speci f i cati ons – of ten a paral l el resi stance/capaci tance combi nati on. Even wi th
passi ve ci rcui ts, there can be vari ati on wi th f requency, caused by such eff ects as
capaci tance di el ectri c l oss i ncreasi ng at hi gher f requency, appeari ng as an apparent
i nput resi stance drop. The presence of acti ve devi ces can compl i cate matters even
f urther. Where di odes are i nvol ved, such as di ode detector or probes or sampl i ng
i nputs, the reverse (depl eti on) capaci tance of the di ode(s) wi l l have some vol tage
dependency, resul ti ng i n i nstrument or detector probe i nput capaci tance varyi ng wi th
i nput l evel . Much l esspredi ctabl evari ati onscan al so occur, such aseff ecti venegati ve
resi stance bei ng created by some i nput ampl i f i er ci rcui ts. I n some cases, manuf actur-
ers’ speci f i cati ons or i nstrument handbooks i ncl ude i nf ormati on on i nput i mpedance
vari ati on, as i l l ustrated by the exampl es i n Fi gure 6.14.
I nput i mpedance vari ati on can produce unexpected vol tage measurement resul ts
(hi gher or l ower readi ngs), wherethei nput i mpedanceof theprobeor i nstrument f orm
a vol tage di vi der wi th the output i mpedance of the source. I f the source i s i nducti ve,
resonances can occur, and even i f the resonant f requency i s wel l away f rom the
f requency of i nterest, hi gh-preci si on measurements can be aff ected si gni f i cantl y.
RF vol tage measurement 131
Boonton BEC RF probe input capacitance at 10MHz
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
0.01 0.1 1 10
Input voltage (V)
C
a
p
a
c
i
t
a
n
c
e

(
p
F
)
Boonton BEC RF probe input resistance
1
10
100
1000
0.1 1 10 100 1000
Frequency (MHz)
R
e
s
i
s
t
a
n
c
e

(
k

)
1mV
10mV
100 mV
1V
Fi gure 6.14 Exampl e RF mi l l i vol tmeter probe i nput i mpedance char acter i sti cs
Vari ati on of i nput i mpedance characteri sti cs wi th f requency and l evel i s not l i m-
i ted to i nstruments and probes wi th hi gh-i nput i mpedances. I nstruments and probes
wi th matched i nputs al so exhi bi t vari ati on of i nput i mpedance characteri sti cs wi th
f requency and l evel . I t i s common to see that these are vari ati ons descri bed i n spec-
i f i cati ons, f or exampl e, di ff erent VSWR f i gures f or di ff erent f requency bands. The
changes can be caused by f requency dependences i n the i nput networks and the
components themsel ves, such as f requency-dependent di el ectri c l osses i n capaci tors,
cabl es and pri nted ci rcui t board materi al s. Acti ve devi ces al so contri bute to vari a-
ti ons, i ncl udi ng the l evel dependent reverse capaci tance of di odes used i n recti f i er
and sampl i ng probes.
I nput attenuators are of ten empl oyed to reduce i nput l evel s down to better sui t the
acti veci rcui try. I nput attenuatorscan al so beused to provi desomei sol ati on (paddi ng)
of the i nput f rom vari ati on i n the i nput ci rcui t acti ve devi ces, i nput i mpedance or
VSWR, and provi de better overal l perf ormance. I n mul ti range i nstruments the i nput
attenuati on i s of ten range dependent, l eadi ng to di ff erent VSWR characteri sti cs on
di ff erent ranges. Of ten VSWRworsenson themoresensi ti verangeswheretheamount
of attenuati on i s l ess, reduci ng the paddi ng eff ect and exposi ng more of the VSWR
vari ati on of the i nput stage acti ve devi ces.
132 Mi crowave measurements
Osci l l oscopes wi th dedi cated 50 i nputs are al so l i kel y to have f requency-
dependent VSWR characteri sti cs. Agai n there i s usual l y some smal l capaci tance
f rom the acti ve ci rcui try f ol l owi ng the i nput attenuators. At hi gher sensi ti vi ti es thi s
has greater i mpact on i nput VSWR because l ess attenuati on i s present at the i nput
so there i s l ess paddi ng (de-sensi ti sati on) of the i nput VSWR f rom vari ati on of the
acti ve i nput ci rcui try i mpedance.
6.2.8 Source l oadi ng and bandwi dth
I f a 50 source i s measured by an i nstrument wi th a hi gh-i mpedance probe or
i nput, typi cal l y wi th R
i n
> 100 k, the eff ect of the resi sti ve l oadi ng i s negl i gi bl e
(0.05 per cent). However, i nput capaci tance can have a dramati c eff ect. For exampl e,
25 pF produces an error of 3 dB (30.3 per cent) at 129 MHz. I f the source i s cal i brated
f or operati on i n a matched system, termi nated i nto a 50 l oad, when measured
wi thout the termi nati on present the measured vol tage wi l l be twi ce the expected
val ue (Fi gure 6.15).
I f the source i s correctl y termi nated bef ore bei ng appl i ed to the measuri ng i nstru-
ment, the eff ect of the measuri ng i nstrument i nput capaci tance i s reduced. An
al ternati ve vi ew i s that eff ecti ve bandwi dth i s i ncreased, 25 pF wi l l produce a 3 dB
bandwi dth of 257 MHz. I f the i nput capaci tance i s reduced to 2.5 pF the bandwi dth
i mproves to 2.6 GHz. Fi gure6.16 i l l ustrates theeff ect i n terms of f requency response.
50Ω
Source
Measuring
inst
R
in
C
in
50Ω
Source
Termination
Measuring
inst
50Ω
Fi gure 6.15 Source and measur i ng i nstr ument: unter mi nated (l eft) and ter mi nated
(r i ght)
Capacitance loading of 50Ω source
−20
−15
−10
−5
0
1 10 100 1000
Frequency (MHz)
R
e
s
p
o
n
s
e

(
d
B
)
Unterminated C
in
= 25pF
Terminated C
in
=25 pF
Terminated C
in
=2.5pF
Fi gure 6.16 Frequency response effect of capaci ti ve l oadi ng on 50 source
RF vol tage measurement 133
A practi cal exampl ei stesti ng of an osci l l oscopebandwi dth wi th ahi gh-f requency
source. Most hi gh-f requency sources have a 50 output, so i f the osci l l oscope has
a 1 M i nput i mpedance best resul ts wi l l onl y be obtai ned wi th a 50 termi nati on
at the osci l l oscope i nput. However, resul ts wi l l be aff ected by the osci l l oscope i nput
capaci tance appeari ng across the 50 termi nati on. Hi gher bandwi dth osci l l oscopes
tend to have l ower i nput capaci tances.
6.3 AC and RF/micr owave tr aceability
At l ower f requenci es, AC vol tage traceabi l i ty i s establ i shed usi ng thermal converters
to compare the RMS val ue of the AC vol tage to a known DC vol tage. Up to 1 MHz
extremel y l ow uncertai nti es are achi evabl e, and begi n to ri se above 1 MHz. Thermal
convertersareuseabl eto several hundred MHz and 50 thermal convertersareavai l -
abl e speci f i cal l y f or hi gh-f requency use. At these hi gher f requenci es i n compari son
wi th l ower f requency, AC vol tage i s of ten used i nstead of DC, as a rel ati ve f requency
response measurement rather than an absol ute measurement.
At hi gher f requenci es RF and mi crowave power traceabi l i ty i s establ i shed usi ng
mi crocal ori meter techni ques, whi ch compare RF and DC power. Mi crocal ori me-
ter measurement ti mes are extremel y l ong, so practi cal measurements are made
usi ng thermi stor, thermocoupl eor di ode-based power sensors cal i brated agai nst these
mi crocal ori meters.
There i s overl ap between the RF vol tage and RF power traceabi l i ty i n the regi on
f rom about 1 MHz to several hundred MHz, and i t i s al so possi bl e to obtai n a
measurement of vol tage deri ved f rom a power measurement based on power trace-
abi l i ty. To obtai n a vol tage measurement f rom power i t i s al so necessary to have
i mpedance traceabi l i ty (P = V
2
/R). Practi cal l y, thi s means knowl edge of the power
sensor VSWR when vol tage measurement i s requi red. Most cal i brati on l aboratori es
wi l l use thermal converters or thermal transf er standards up to 1 MHz and use power
sensors f or hi gher f requenci es (Fi gure 6.17).
6.3.1 Ther mal conver ter s and mi cropotenti ometer s
Thermal converters are used extensi vel y to establ i sh traceabi l i ty f or AC vol tage
at l ow f requenci es (up to 1 MHz), but can al so be used at hi gher f requenci es up
to several hundred MHz. These hi gh-f requency thermal converters have matched
i nputs (50 or 75 ). Constructi on i s si mi l ar to the l ower f requency devi ces,
except f or the addi ti on of a termi nati ng resi stor (Fi gure 6.18). The heati ng eff ect
i n the resi sti ve heater wi re of the thermal converter el ement due to the appl i ed
RF vol tage (and theref ore i ts RMS val ue) can be compared to that of a known
LF or DC vol tage by measuri ng the thermocoupl e output. Thermal transf er i nstru-
ments provi de the compari son capabi l i ty, and some ol der i nstruments have f aci l i ty
f or external hi gh-f requency TVC operati on. However, use of thermal convert-
ers at RF i s not very common, as RF power sensors provi de a more useabl e
al ternati ve.
134 Mi crowave measurements
Voltage Power
DC voltage
AC–DC
difference
DC power
RF/MW power
10MHz 1GHz 100MHz 10GHz 1MHz 100GHz 100kHz
Microcalorimeter
Power
sensors
Single and multi
junction thermal
converters
5–10 ppm at LF, 50 ppm at 1MHz, 0.2% at 50MHz 0.1% at 1MHz, 0.4% at 1GHz, 1% at 10GHz
Deriving voltage from power
also requires impedance
measurement and traceability
10kHz
Micropotentiometer
Fi gure 6.17 Tr aceabi l i ty paths for the RF and mi crowave frequency r anges
Thermocouple O/P
(7mV nom)
Thermal converter
element
Termination
resistor
Series resistor
Input
Element
Thermal converter
Fi gure 6.18 Ter mi nated ther mal conver ter. Photogr aph shows el ement (top) and a
commerci al coaxi al ther mal conver ter standard
Mi cropotenti ometers provi de a means of generati ng known vol tages at mi crovol t
and mi l l i vol t l evel s at f requenci es up to several hundred MHz. I n the mi cropot the
TVC el ement i s used as theupper arm of avol tagedi vi der together wi th acoaxi al di sc
resi stor constructed wi thi n theoutput connector (Fi gure6.19). Thi sproducesavol tage
di vi der wi th extremel y good hi gh-f requency response and l ow output i mpedance
(typi cal l y 20 f or 100 mV and 0.2 f or 1 mV). I n use, the thermocoupl e output
i s measured wi th a nanovol tmeter as a means of compari ng the RMS val ue of RF
si gnal s i n the vol tage di vi der wi th ei ther a l ower f requency or DC si gnal whi ch can
be accuratel y measured at the output. Thus, an RF to DC or RF to LF compari son
can be made at mi crovol t and mi l l i vol t l evel s. Uncertai nti es around 1 per cent at 100
MHz and 5 per cent at 500 MHz are achi evabl e, but avoi di ng si gnal swi tchi ng and
thermal stabi l i ty errors can be di ff i cul t.
RF vol tage measurement 135
uV–mV
output
RF source
Nanovoltmeter
Micropot
Thermal converter
element (5mA)
Coaxial disc
output resistor
Input Output
Thermocouple O/P
(7mV nom)
Fi gure 6.19 Mi cropotenti ometer (Mi cropot) used to gener ate known RF vol tages
from µV to mV
Load
R
S
Source
R
L
V
L
R
L
R
S
+ R
L
V
L
=

V
S
V
S
Fi gure 6.20 Resi sti ve source and l oad
Z
0
Z
0
Z
0
Fi gure 6.21 Tr ansmi ssi on l i ne wi th char acter i sti c i mpedance Z
0
ter mi nated wi th Z
0
6.4 I mpedance matching and mismatch er r or s
I f asourceof vol tageV
S
and output i mpedanceR
S
i sconnected to al oad of i mpedance
R
L
, the vol tage devel oped across the l oad V
L
i s gi ven by V
L
= V
S
· R
L
/(R
S
+ R
L
)
(Fi gure 6.20).
Maxi mum power i s transf erred when R
S
= R
L
, whi ch l eads to the requi rement to
match l oad and source i mpedances. The f ul l anal ysi s at hi gh f requency wi th compl ex
i mpedances (R + j X ) becomes more i nvol ved, and al so yi el ds a requi rement f or
i mpedance matchi ng to ensure maxi mum power transf er.
V
L
= V
S
R
L
R
S
+R
L
A hi gh-f requency transmi ssi on l i ne wi l l have characteri sti c i mpedance Z
0
such
that when termi nated wi th Z
0
at i ts output i t al so presents Z
0
at i ts i nput (Fi gure 6.21).
Thi s i mpedance can be purel y resi sti ve, and practi cal transmi ssi on l i nes are typi cal l y
desi gned to have an i mpedance of 50 . Other val ues such as 75 are al so common.
136 Mi crowave measurements
I n practi ce, thei mpedancesarenot purel y resi sti ve, parti cul arl y at hi gh f requency,
and are not expressed di rectl y i n terms of resi stance, capaci tance and i nductance, but
i n terms of VSWR or return l oss (whi ch i s rel ated to VSWR). These parameters are
hi gh-f requency terms that are used to descri be how wel l the actual i mpedance vari es
f rom the nomi nal (50 ) i mpedance, and rel ate the i nci dent and ref l ected si gnal s at
a mi smatch. I f ei ther the source i mpedance or the l oad i mpedance i s extremel y cl ose
to the nomi nal 50 , the i mpact of di ff erence f rom nomi nal (mi smatch) of the other
i mpedance i s mi ni mi sed.
The i mpact of mi smatch on si gnal l evel accuracy can be assessed by consi der-
i ng the VSWR of source and l oad. I f the magni tude and phase of the mi smatch are
known a correcti on coul d be appl i ed f or the mi smatch error. Unl ess detai l ed mea-
surements are made (e.g. wi th a vector network anal yser), VSWR f i gures f or typi cal
i nstrument i nputs and probes are worst case val ues and correcti on cannot be appl i ed.
Measuri ng source VSWR i s even more compl i cated, and havi ng phase i nf ormati on i s
extremel y rare. Cal cul ati on of the measurement error due to mi smatch can easi l y be
made f rom the VSWR val ues, usual l y as an esti mate based on the i nstrument speci f i -
cati onsunl ess(scal ar) measurementshavebeen made, f or exampl e, usi ng areturn l oss
bri dge.
I f used, adapters wi l l al so i ntroduce mi smatch and attenuati on errors. More com-
pl ex mul ti pl emi smatch model s can beused to eval uatethei r eff ects. As an al ternati ve
f or si mpl i ci ty, a si ngl e VSWR val ue can be determi ned by measurement of the l oad
and adapter combi nati on.
6.4.1 Uncer tai nty anal ysi s consi der ati ons
When maki ng vol tage measurements, the mi smatch error shoul d be cal cul ated as
a vol tage error. I n most texts mi smatch errors are treated as an error i n the power
del i vered to the l oad, not the error i n the vol tage appeari ng at the l oad. Vol tage
mi smatch error may be cal cul ated usi ng the expressi on bel ow:
Vol tage error =

1 −
1
(1 ±|
S
| |
L
|

×100%
where the magni tude of the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent, , i s gi ven by
|| =
VSWR −1
VSWR +1
and the return l oss = 20 l og ||
−1
dB.
As an al ternati ve, i f the errors are smal l , the vol tage error wi l l be hal f the power
error. Thi s i s because vol tage i s proporti onal to the square root of power. More
compl etel y, i n uncertai nty anal ysi s i t i s usual to cal cul ate a sensi ti vi ty coeff i ci ent as
the parti al deri vati ve of the expressi on descri bi ng the measured quanti ty wi th respect
to the i nf l uence vari abl e concerned – i n thi s case the val ue i s 0.5.
When perf ormi ng an uncertai nty anal ysi s, i t i s necessary to combi ne the vari ous
uncertai nty contri buti onsat thesameconf i dencel evel , known asstandard uncertai nty,
equi val ent to onestandard devi ati on (1σ) or 68.3 per cent conf i dencel evel . Mi smatch
RF vol tage measurement 137
uncertai nti es are consi dered as one of the type B (systemati c) contri buti ons and are
general l y treated ashavi ng aU-shaped di stri buti on. Theesti mateof vol tagemi smatch
error cal cul ated above i s di vi ded by

2 to convert i t to standard uncertai nty. More
i nf ormati on on uncertai nty anal ysi s, i ncl udi ng RF exampl es, can be f ound i n UKAS
publ i cati on M3003.
6.4.2 Exampl e: Osci l l oscope bandwi dth test
Asan exampl e, consi der thetesti ng of an osci l l oscope’ sbandwi dth. The50 i nput of
the osci l l oscope i s connected to the l evel l ed si ne output of an osci l l oscope cal i brator,
whi ch has a 50 output i mpedance. The measurement procedure ei ther determi nes
the f requency at whi ch the di spl ayed response f al l s by 3 dB f rom a l ow-f requency
val ue (usual l y at 50 kHz), or conf i rms that the di spl ayed response at the nomi nal
bandwi dth f requency i s wi thi n 3 dB of that at a l ow f requency.
The vol tage ampl i tude di spl ayed or measured by the osci l l oscope wi l l be sub-
j ect to mi smatch error, whi ch may be esti mated f rom the VSWR val ues i nvol ved.
The f ol l owi ng are VSWR f i gures f or a popul ar osci l l oscope cal i brator and f or some
common hi gh-bandwi dth osci l l oscopes:
Cal i brator (source): VSWR <1.1 to 550 MHz, <1.2 550 MHz to 3 GHz,
<1.35 3 GHz to 6 GHz
Osci l l oscope (UUT):
Typi cal 1 GHz osci l l oscope VSWR <1.5 to 1 GHz
Typi cal 4–6 GHz osci l l oscopes VSWR <1.1 to 2 GHz, <1.3 4 GHz to 6 GHz,
some <2.0 at 4 GHz.
Osci l l oscope VSWR can be worse on the more sensi ti ve ranges. A popul ar 6 GHz
osci l l oscope quotes typi cal VSWR characteri sti cs as 1.3 at 6 GHz f or >100 mV per
di v and 2.5 at 6 GHz f or <100 mV per di v.
The chart i n Fi gure 6.22 shows the mi smatch error as a f uncti on of f requency f or
a number of UUT (l oad) VSWR val ues f or thi s parti cul ar source and i ts speci f i ed
VSWR f i gures. Note that the errors are not symmetri cal – the amount by whi ch a
gi ven mi smatch can reduce the si gnal ampl i tude i s sl i ghtl y more than the amount by
whi ch i t can i ncrease the ampl i tude. The l arger f i gure woul d usual l y be used as a
worst case pl us-or-mi nus contri buti on f or uncertai nty anal ysi s purposes.
6.4.3 Har moni c content er ror s
Harmoni c content causes wavef orm di storti on whi ch wi l l l ead to errors f or measure-
mentsmadewi th peak detecti ng i nstruments. Most i nstrumentsarecal i brated i n terms
of theRMSval ueof asi newavei nput, even when themeasurement system detects the
peak val ue of the wavef orm, such as a di ode detector operati ng above the square-l aw
regi on. The error depends on both the magni tude and phase of the harmoni c si gnal ,
and the di ff erent harmoni cs wi l l have di ff erent eff ects. General l y the eff ect becomes
l ess sensi ti ve to phase as the harmoni c number i ncreases, as there wi l l be more cycl es
of harmoni c per cycl e of f undamental .
138 Mi crowave measurements
Uncertainty (V) arising from
UUT mismatch v Frequency
−6%
−4%
−2%
0%
2%
4%
6%
0
.
0
0
.
5
1
.
0
1
.
5
2
.
0
2
.
5
3
.
0
3
.
5
4
.
0
4
.
5
5
.
0
5
.
5
6
.
0
Frequency (GHz)
U
n
c
e
r
t
a
i
n
t
y

%
UUT VSWR 1.02
UUT VSWR 1.02
UUT VSWR 1.1
UUT VSWR 1.1
UUT VSWR 1.2
UUT VSWR 1.2
UUT VSWR 1.6
UUT VSWR 1.6
UUT VSWR 2
UUT VSWR 2
Fi gure 6.22 Char t showi ng vol tage uncer tai nty due to mi smatch
Determi ni ng the i mpact of harmoni c content depends on the nature of the peak
detector – whether i t i s a hal f or f ul l wave recti f i er, and whether the detector responds
to the peak or average val ue. The exampl e wavef orms shown i n Fi gure 6.23 i l l ustrate
theeff ectsof thi rd harmoni c i n phasewi th thef undamental , whi ch f l attenstheposi ti ve
and negati ve hal f cycl es al i ke, and second harmoni c at 45

whi ch i ncreases the peak
val ue of posi ti ve hal f cycl es and decreases the peak val ue of negati ve hal f cycl es.
Usual l y therei sno knowl edgeof phaserel ati onshi ps, so i t i snecessary to consi der
worst case condi ti ons. The chart i n Fi gure 6.24 shows the i mpact of second, thi rd and
f ourth harmoni cs at vari ous l evel s bel ow the f undamental (as dBc). Of ten onl y the
worst case harmoni c l evel i s known, not the harmoni c number – f or exampl e, f rom
harmoni c content speci f i cati ons of a si gnal source. I n thi s case the worst case f or any
harmoni c must be consi dered. The total RMS val ue i s si mpl y the Root-Sum-Square
summati on of the f undamental and harmoni c vol tages.
6.4.4 Exampl e: Osci l l oscope cal i br ator cal i br ati on
Consi der the exampl e of cal i brati ng the l evel l ed si ne f uncti on of an osci l l oscope
cal i brator. Thi s cal i brator f eature produces a si nusoi dal output wi th accurate peak
to peak ampl i tude over a wi de f requency range (6 GHz) f or osci l l oscope bandwi dth
testi ng.
The equi pment used to cal i brate the osci l l oscope cal i brator l evel l ed si ne output
measures RMS vol tage at l ow f requency (a preci si on AC vol tmeter) and RF power
at hi gh f requency (a power meter and sensor). The set-up f or hi gh-f requency power
meter measurementsi sshown i n Fi gure6.25. To perf ormtherequi red cal i brati on these
measurements must yi el d aresul t i n terms of peak to peak vol tage. At l ow f requenci es
RF vol tage measurement 139
−1.25
−1
−0.75
−0.5
−0.25
0
0.25
0.5
0.75
1
1.25
45 90 135 180 225 270 315 360
−1.25
−1
−0.75
−0.5
−0.25
0
0.25
0.5
0.75
1
1.25
45 90 135 180 225 270 315 360
180 360
180 360
0
0
Fi gure 6.23 Exampl esof har moni c di stor ti on: thi rd har moni c at 0

(top) and second
har moni c at 45

(bottom)
Error effect of RF source harmonics
−4.00
−3.00
−2.00
−1.00
0.00
1.00
2.00
3.00
4.00
5.00
6.00
7.00
0 10 20 30 40 50
Harmonic level (dBc)
E
r
r
o
r

i
n

d
B
All harmonics upper limit
2nd harmonic lower limit
3rd harmonic lower limit
4th harmonic lower limit
Fi gure 6.24 Char t showi ng er ror i n peak to peak vol tage due to har moni c di stor ti on
140 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 6.25 Photogr aph showi ng setup for l evel l ed si ne cal i br ati on up to 3.2 GHz
agai nst a power meter
theRMSvol tagemeasurement i sconverted by mul ti pl yi ng by 2

2, di rectl y provi di ng
an absol ute pk–pk vol tage val ue. At hi gh f requency, the measurements are made as
f l atness wi th respect to a ref erence f requency of 100 kHz (the l owest f requency f or
whi ch the i nternal l y AC coupl ed power sensor presents a reasonabl e VSWR). The
eff ecti ve RMS vol tage i s f i rst cal cul ated f rom the measured power i nto 50 , then
RMS to pk–pk conversi on i s perf ormed.
The cal i brator 6 GHz output head i s si mi l ar, but has an SMA connector and i s
cal i brated wi th a di ff erent sensor.
The eff ects of mi smatch and of wavef orm di storti on (harmoni c content) are key
uncertai nty consi derati ons. The mi smatch error contri buti on i s cal cul ated f rom the
VSWR data f or the cal i brator and power sensor, i n terms of vol tage error (not
power), and i s treated as a U-shaped di stri buti on. The di storti on contri buti on i s
cal cul ated f rom knowl edge of the worst case harmoni cs taken f rom the cal i brator
speci f i cati ons, conf i rmed by measurement (<–35 dBc f or second-order harmoni cs
and <–40 dBc f or thi rd- and hi gher-order harmoni cs). Connector repeatabi l i ty i s
another appl i cabl e uncertai nty contri buti on, common i n RF cal i brati on. Fi gure 6.26
shows a tabl e summari si ng the rel evant uncertai nty contri buti ons.
6.4.5 RF mi l l i vol tmeter cal i br ati on
RF mi l l i vol tmeters are usual l y cal i brated agai nst power sensors, as shown i n
Fi gure 6.27 (another exampl e where RF vol tage i s deri ved f rom RF power). The
RF vol tage measurement 141
0.5% 95%CL B Cal factor at test freq

A
A
B
B
B
B
B
B
1.9%
0.05%
0.05%
0.5%
2.4%
0.4%
0.015%
0.3%
0.6%
Example flatness uncertainties for 10mV to 5Vp/p at 1GHz
1σ Connector repeatability (Pwr)
95%CL TOTAL (Expanded unc) (Vp/p)
1σ Combined noise (Pwr)
Rect Distortion (Vp/p)
U Mismatch (Pwr)
Rect Linearity and resolution
95%CL
Rect 1Yr Stability
95%CL Cal factor at ref freq

Power
meter
(Pwr)
±3° C tempco
Fi gure 6.26 Tabl e showi ng i ndi vi dual type A and B uncer tai nty contr i buti ons. Total
i s expanded uncer tai nty after combi nati on i n accordance wi th UKAS
M3003. Aster i sk represents Power Meter Cal factor contr i buti on, that
i s, power uncer tai nty, taken from i ts cal i br ati on cer ti fi cate.
Power sensor
(standard)
Millivoltmeter
probe
(UUT)
Source
Tee
Power sensor
reference plane
Alternative: Add 50 Ω termination at
UUT sensor input to balance Tee
Fi gure 6.27 RF mi l l i vol tmeter cal i br ati on
mi l l i vol tmeter probe wi l l usual l y present a hi gh i mpedance (e.g. 100 k/3 pF) and
the power sensor wi l l be a 50 devi ce.
A key i ssue i s arrangi ng that the vol tage probe senses the vol tage present at
the ref erence pl ane of the power sensor. I n practi ce, a Tee-pi ece must be used to make
thephysi cal i nterconnecti ons, whi ch wi l l i ntroduceasmal l l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne
between the power sensor ref erence pl ane and the vol tage probe i nput. There wi l l be
a vol tage standi ng wave i n thi s short l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne whi ch produces a
smal l di ff erence between the vol tage at the power sensor ref erence pl ane and the
probe i nput, resul ti ng i n a measurement error. The l ength of l i ne may be qui te short,
say 20–30 mm physi cal l ength f or a preci si on N-seri es Tee (i ts eff ecti ve el ectri cal
l ength depends on the di el ectri c properti es of the i nsul ati on wi thi n the tee), but f or
142 Mi crowave measurements
3.12GHz 625MHz 125MHz 25MHz 2.2 24 BNC
1.75GHz 350MHz 70MHz 16 MHz 2.2 43 N- Type
λ/4 λ/20 λ/100 λ/500
ε
R
L
E
(mm)
Frequency for fractional λ separation
Estimated electrical length between connector and T reference plane
-
Fi gure 6.28 Esti mated tr ansmi ssi on l i ne l ength i n the Tee-pi ece for typi cal connec-
tor types
Error due to line length at 1GHz with 1.1VSWR
90%
91%
92%
93%
94%
95%
96%
97%
98%
99%
100%
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Line length (mm)
Error due to line length at 100MHz with 1.1VSWR
99.60%
99.65%
99.70%
99.75%
99.80%
99.85%
99.90%
99.95%
100.00%
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Line length (mm)
Fi gure 6.29 Change i n vol tage wi th el ectr i cal tr ansmi ssi on l i ne l ength
preci si on measurements the smal l error i ntroduced coul d be si gni f i cant (Fi gures 6.28
and 6.29). I n theory a correcti on coul d be determi ned and appl i ed, but i n practi ce
especi al l y constructed Tee-pi eces are empl oyed to make the connecti ons physi cal l y
much cl oser, and mi ni mi se the error. Al ternati vel y, a 50 termi nati on at the UUT
sensor i nput wi l l bal ance the Tee, and avoi d the probl em (assumi ng a 50 power
sensor).
Other error sources i ncl ude mi smatch (error f rom the nomi nal i mpedance of the
sensor assumed f or the power to vol tage conversi on), di storti on of the source wave-
f orm and power meter uncertai nti es (cal i brati on, l i neari ty, resol uti on, stabi l i ty, etc.)
as di scussed i n previ ous exampl es.
RF vol tage measurement 143
Source
Power
sensor
(standard)
Insertion
probe
(UUT)
Fi gure 6.30 I nser ti on probe cal i br ati on
Millivoltmeter
probe
(UUT)
Source
Tee
Millivoltmeter
probe
(standard)
Fi gure 6.31 I ntercompar i ng vol tmeter probes havi ng si mi l ar i mpedances
I nserti on probes i ncorporate the vol tage probe wi thi n a short transmi ssi on l i ne,
al l owi ng a vol tage measurement to be made i n a matched system, and si mpl i f y the
cal i brati on i ssue. I n thi s case the Tee-pi ece i s eff ecti vel y bui l t i nto the i nserti on
probe, al l owi ng di rect connecti on to the power sensor used as the ref erence standard
as i l l ustrated i n Fi gure 6.30. When cal i brati ng one vol tmeter agai nst another, they are
usual l y connected ei ther si de of a Tee, as shown i n Fi gure 6.31. I f thei r i mpedances
are si mi l ar and the Tee i s symmetri cal , no addi ti onal errors or correcti ons need to be
consi dered.
Fur ther r eading
The popul ar test equi pment manuf acturers are usef ul sources f or a vari ety of usef ul
i nf ormati on, publ i shed i n the f orm of appl i cati on notes and gui des, many avai l abl e
f or downl oad f rom thei r websi tes. The f ol l owi ng are a f ew exampl es of parti cul ar
rel evance to the topi cs di scussed i n thi s chapter.
144 Mi crowave measurements
Agilent Technologies application note
Fundamental s of RF and Mi crowave Power Measurements (Par ts 1, 2, 3 and 4),
AN1449-1,2,3,4, l i terature number 5988-9213/4/5/6EN
Part 3 di scusses theory and practi ce of expressi ng measurement uncertai nty,
mi smatch consi derati ons, si gnal f l owgraphs, I SO 17025 and exampl es of typi cal
cal cul ati ons. Go to www.agi l ent.com and search f or AN1449 to downl oad.
Rohde & Schwar z application note
Vol tage & Power Measurement: Fundamental s, Defi ni ti ons, Products, PD
757.0835.23
Comprehensi ve document i ncl udi ng def i ni ti ons, di scussi on of ref l ecti ons, stand-
i ng waves, mi smatches, sensors and i nstrumentati on operati ng pri nci pl es and
characteri sti cs, etc. Go to www.rohde-schwarz.com and search f or 757.0835.23 to
downl oad.
Anr itsu application note
Refl ectometer Measurements – Revi si ted
I ncl udes di scussi on of VSWR measurement, mi smatch uncertai nti es and eff ects
of adapters. Go to www.us.anri tsu.com and search f or ref l ectometer measurements
to downl oad.
Aer oflex booklet
RF Datamate, P/N 46891/883
Produced by the si gnal sources group. A 72-page gui de to commonl y used
RF data, measurement methods, power measurement uncertai nti es, etc. Go to
www.aerof l ex.com and search f or RF Datamate to order f ree copy onl i ne.
TheI ET publ i shespaperspresented at conf erencesand other eventsi n i tsProceed-
i ngs documents. UKAS (Uni ted Ki ngdom Accredi tati on Servi ce) and the European
Cooperati on f or Accredi tati on (EA) al so provi dedownl oadabl egui des. Thef ol l owi ng
are a f ew exampl es of parti cul ar rel evance to the topi cs di scussed i n thi s chapter.
Paper discussing mismatch uncer tainties
Harri s, I . A., and Warner, F. L.: ‘ Re-exami nati on of mi smatch uncertai nty when mea-
suri ng mi crowave power and attenuati on’ , I EE Proceedi ngs H, Mi crowaves Opti cs
and Antennas, 1981;128: 35–41
UKAS Publication M 3003
The Expressi on of Uncer tai nty and Confi dence i n Measurement
Produced by the Uni ted Ki ngdom Accredi tati on Servi ce. An i nterpretati on of
the I SO Gui de to the Uncertai nty of Measurements (GUM) document, i ncl udi ng
measurement uncertai nty esti mati on exampl es, f or the use of I SO17025 Accredi ted
l aboratori es. Go to www.ukas.com and sel ect I nf ormati on Centre, then Publ i cati ons
to downl oad.
RF vol tage measurement 145
Eur opean Cooper ation for Accr editation of L abor ator ies publication
EAL Gui de EA-10/07 Cal i br ati on of Osci l l oscopes (previ ousl y EAL-G30)
Produced by EAL to harmoni se osci l l oscope cal i brati on. Provi des gui dance to
nati onal accredi tati on bodi es setti ng up mi ni mum requi rements f or osci l l oscope cal -
i brati on and gi ves advi ce to cal i brati on l aboratori es to establ i sh practi cal procedures.
Publ i shed June 1997. Go to www.euromet.org/docs/cal gui des/i ndex.html and sel ect
document ‘ EA-10/07’ to downl oad.
Chapter 7
Str uctur es and pr oper ties of tr ansmission lines
R. J. Col l i er
7.1 I ntr oduction
The number of di ff erent transmi ssi on l i nes has greatl y i ncreased i n recent years. Thi s
range of l i nes enabl es the mi crowave ci rcui t desi gner to choose parti cul ar f eatures
whi ch meet the speci f i cati ons. For i nstance, i t may be that certai n val ues of charac-
teri sti c i mpedance, phase constant, di spersi on or attenuati on are requi red. Or i t may
be that the ease wi th whi ch these l i nes can be used to coupl e to vari ous sol i d-state
devi ces i s i mportant. Or, f i nal l y, i t may be that the l i ne has uni que properti es i n
certai n conf i gurati ons, f or exampl e, gi ves good coupl i ng to other ci rcui ts or radi ates
i n a speci al way. As many mi crowave ci rcui ts are now compl etel y i ntegrated so that
the l argest di mensi on of the whol e ci rcui t coul d be l ess than a mi l l i metre, speci al
l i nes are requi red to coupl e si gnal s i nto them.
Measuri ng mi crowave ci rcui ts i s sti l l as i mportant as ever. Al most wi thout excep-
ti on, most mi crowave measurement equi pment has remai ned wi th the same i nput and
output transmi ssi on l i nes. For most mi crowave f requenci es, a coaxi al output i s used.
Above 20 GHz, a wavegui de output i s someti mes used. One of the maj or probl ems i n
ci rcui t measurement i sdesi gni ng transi ti onsf rom thestandard coaxi al and wavegui de
ports to numerous transmi ssi on l i nes that now exi st i n modern ci rcui ts. I n the case
of i ntegrated ci rcui ts speci al surf ace probes are used that i nvol ve a tapered transmi s-
si on l i ne. As many mi crowave measurements of i mpedance, noi se, gai n, etc. i nvol ve
usi ng transi ti ons f rom ei ther coaxi al or wavegui de to these other transmi ssi on l i nes
the properti es of transi ti ons are cri ti cal i n the measurement. Fi nal l y, most i mpedance
measurements consi st of a compari son wi th a standard i mpedance. These standards
are usual l y constructed out of ei ther coaxi al or wavegui de transmi ssi on l i nes. Agai n,
the properti es of the coaxi al or wavegui de j uncti ons can be the mai n l i mi tati on of
these measurements, parti cul arl y at hi gher f requenci es.
148 Mi crowave measurements
Most transmi ssi on l i nes are desi gned to operate wi th onl y one mode propagati ng.
However, every transmi ssi on l i ne wi l l support hi gher-order modes i f the f requency
i s hi gh enough. Si nce these hi gher-order modes have separate vel oci ti es, i t i s not
usual l y possi bl e to do si mpl e measurements when they are present. Hence, i n the
descri pti on that f ol l ows, the upper l i mi t of mono-mode propagati on i s usual l y gi ven.
As a si mpl e rul e the transmi ssi on l i ne has to get smal l er as the wavel ength gets
smal l er to avoi d hi gher-order modes. Thi s has a marked eff ect on the attenuati on
of transmi ssi on l i nes usi ng metal l i c conductors. The attenuati on wi l l ri se due to the
ski n eff ect by a f actor of f
1/2
. However, i n addi ti on as the structures get smal l er, the
i ncreased current crowdi ng means that the overal l attenuati on i ncreases by a f actor of
f
3/2
. Thus, a transmi ssi on l i ne l i ke coaxi al cabl e i s of ten made wi th a smal l di ameter
at hi gh f requenci es to ensure mono-mode propagati on but the consequence i s a l arge
i ncrease i n attenuati on whi ch can greatl y aff ect measurements.
Fi nal l y, di spersi on hasseveral causes. Oneof thesei swhen thepermi tti vi ty of any
di el ectri c used i n a transmi ssi on l i ne changes wi th f requency. I n practi ce thi s i s of ten
qui te a smal l eff ect. Thi s i s cal l ed materi al or chromati c di spersi on. I n transmi ssi on
l i nes where the el ectromagneti c waves propagate i n onl y one di el ectri c and the mode
has onl y transverse f i el ds, f or exampl e, coaxi al l i ne, the materi al di spersi on i s the
onl y type. For standards i n coaxi al l i nes, of ten an ai r-f i l l ed l i ne i s used to avoi d
even materi al di spersi on. For transmi ssi on l i nes where the el ectromagneti c waves
propagate i n two or more di el ectri cs the modes are more compl ex. I n general , as the
f requency i ncreasestheenergy concentratesi n thedi el ectri c wi th thehi ghest di el ectri c
constant. Thi s di spersi on i s usual l y cal l ed wavegui de di spersi on and occurs i n, f or
exampl e, mi crostri p and mono-mode opti cal f i bre. Wavegui de di spersi on al so occurs
where there i s a f i rm cut-off f requency as i n metal l i c rectangul ar wavegui de. Modal
di spersi on occurs when there are many modes propagati ng whi ch i s the case i n some
f orms of opti cal f i bre. Si nce most transmi ssi on l i nes are desi gned to be mono-mode,
modal di spersi on i s usual l y avoi ded.
7.2 Coaxial lines
A coaxi al l i ne i s shown i n Fi gure 7.1. The radi us of the i nner conductor i s a and the
i nner radi us of the outer conductor i s b. At mi crowave f requenci es the transmi ssi on
l i ne parameters are
L =
µ

l og
e

b
a

(7.1)
C =
2πε
l og
e
(b/a)
(7.2)
R =
R
S

1
b
+
1
a

(7.3)
G =
2πσ
l og
e
(b/a)
(7.4)
Str uctures and proper ti es of tr ansmi ssi on l i nes 149
2b
2a
Fi gure 7.1 A coaxi al l i ne
Thi s gi ves
Z
0
=
1

µ
ε
l og
e

b
a

(7.5)
v =
1

µε
(see chapter 1 on transmi ssi on l i nes) (7.6)
α =
R
2Z
0
+
GZ
0
2
(see chapter 1 on transmi ssi on l i nes) (7.7)
where R
S
i s the ski n resi stance of the conductors and i s proporti oned to f
1/2
, and σ
i s the conducti vi ty of the di el ectri c whi ch i s al so a f uncti on of f requency.
Coaxi al l i nes can be easi l y made wi th a range of characteri sti c i mpedances f rom
20 to 100 . Thei r di spersi on characteri sti cs are good except at very l ow f requenci es,
where
Z
0
=

R
G
, i .e. ωL R; ωC G (7.8)
and at very hi gh f requenci es when hi gher-order modes appear. These hi gher-order
modes are di scussed i n Ref erence 1 and an approxi mate gui de to thei r appearance i s
the condi ti on
λ < 2πb
To mai ntai n mono-mode propagati on, the coaxi al cabl e i s usual l y made smal l er at
hi gher f requenci es. Typi cal val ues f or b are 7, 5, 3 and 1 mm. Unf ortunatel y, as b
gets smal l er, the attenuati on i ncreases. Theref ore, most cabl es are desi gned to be an
acceptabl e compromi se between attenuati on and mono-mode propagati on.
Coaxi al l i nes are used as the i nput and output ports f or most measurement equi p-
ment up to about 25 GHz wi th 2b = 7 mm. Connectors wi th l ow i nserti on l oss and
150 Mi crowave measurements
good repeatabi l i ty make hi gh accuracy measurements possi bl e. Transi ti ons to other
transmi ssi on l i nes exi st f or most types and i n parti cul ar to rectangul ar wavegui de
and mi crostri p. Both these transi ti ons have i nserti on l oss and i n the l atter case the
l osses i ncl ude radi ati on l oss. As the mi crostri p transi ti on has poor repeatabi l i ty i t i s
good measurement practi ce to measure at a coaxi al j uncti on where possi bl e and use
de-embeddi ng techni ques to f i nd the ci rcui t parameters.
7.3 Rectangular waveguides
Al ong wi th coaxi al l i nes, metal l i c rectangul ar wavegui des are used extensi vel y i n
mi crowave measurements parti cul arl y above 25 GHz. Some of the properti es of
these gui des were gi ven i n chapter 1 on transmi ssi on l i nes. I t i s worth repeati ng
the comments about bandwi dth. Take the TE
10
mode i n X Band wavegui de as an
exampl e:
a b f
c
Usabl e f requency range α
0.9

0.4

6.557 GHz 8.20–12.40 GHz 0.164 dB m
−1
A wavegui de i s not normal l y used near i ts cut-off f requency, f
c
, and so an X Band
wavegui de i s not used between 6.557 and 8.20 GHz. Thi s i s because al l the properti es
of the gui de are changi ng rapi dl y wi th f requency i n thi s regi on. At 8.20 GHz most
properti es are wi thi n a f actor of 1.66 of the f ree space val ues. To avoi d hi gher-order
modeswhi ch start at 2f
c
or at 13.114 GHz, theusabl ef requency rangeendsat 12.4 GHz
where the properti es are wi thi n a f actor of 1.18 of thei r f ree space val ues. Theref ore,
wavegui de has a bandwi dth of 4.2 GHz whi ch i s about two-thi rds of the octave
band theoreti cal l y avai l abl e f or mono-mode propagati on. Even i n thi s bandwi dth the
wavegui dei s sti l l moredi spersi vethan most other transmi ssi on l i nes. To cover awi de
f requency range a seri es of wavegui des are used wi th di ff erent a and b val ues. As
wi th coaxi al l i nes, the attenuati on ri ses sharpl y as the wavegui de si ze reduces and
around 100 GHz i s unacceptabl y hi gh f or many appl i cati ons. One reason f or thi s i s
that the surf ace roughness of the i nner surf ace of the gui de contri butes si gni f i cantl y
to the l osses at these f requenci es. Al so at 100 GHz and above wavegui de connectors
do not have a sati sf actory i nserti on l oss or repeatabi l i ty f or accurate measurements.
At the l ower mi crowave f requenci es the wavegui des have di mensi ons of several
centi metresand areabl eto transmi t hi gh powersf ar better than any other transmi ssi on
l i ne. I t i s mai nl y f or thi s reason that thei r use has conti nued at these f requenci es.
7.4 Ridged waveguide
A techni que f or i ncreasi ng the bandwi dth of rectangul ar wavegui de i s to use a ri dge
i n the centre of the gui de as shown i n Fi gure 7.2.
Thi s ri dge has a mi ni mal eff ect on those wavegui de modes wi th a nul l of el ectri c
f i el d at thecentreof thegui de. Hencethecut-off f requency of theTE
20
modei sal most
Str uctures and proper ti es of tr ansmi ssi on l i nes 151
Ridges
Fi gure 7.2 Ri dged wavegui des.
Top conductor
Dielectric substrate
ε
R
Ground plane
Fi gure 7.3 Cross secti on of a mi crostr i p tr ansmi ssi on l i ne
unchanged. However, the cut-off f requency of the TE
10
mode i s greatl y reduced, i n
some cases by as much as a f actor of 4. For exampl e, i n an X Band wavegui de thi s
woul d l ower the cut-off f requency to 1.64 GHz and the usabl e f requency range woul d
be 2.054–12.4 GHz.
However, the concentrati on of f i el ds i n the gap al so concentrates the currents
i n that regi on. Thi s i ncreases the attenuati on and thi s f actor l i mi ts the use of thi s
transmi ssi on l i ne to the l ower mi crowave f requenci es. However, the mul ti octave
bandwi dth wi th reduced di spersi on i s the f eature that makes i ts use, parti cul arl y i n
wi deband sources, qui tecommon. Detai l sof thegui de’ sproperti esarei n Ref erences2
and 8.
7.5 M icr ostr ip
Mi crostri p transmi ssi on l i ne i s one of the most common transmi ssi on l i nes used i n
mi crowave ci rcui ts (Fi gure 7.3).
I t can be manuf actured usi ng conventi onal photol i thographi cal techni ques wi th
great accuracy approachi ng ±50 nm. I t has di mensi ons whi ch make connecti ons to
152 Mi crowave measurements
sol i d-state components rel ati vel y easy and si nce the ci rcui t i s usual l y on one si de of
the substrate access to the i nput and output ports i s al so strai ghtf orward. Wi th modern
i ntegrated ci rcui t technol ogy these mi crostri p ci rcui ts can of ten be made so smal l that
the transmi ssi on l i ne eff ects di sappear and si mpl e l ow-f requency ci rcui t desi gns can
be used.
Si nce the wave on a mi crostri p l i ne moves partl y i n the ai r above the substrate
and partl y i n the substrate i tsel f the vel oci ty, v, i s i n the range
3 ×10
8
m s
−1

ε
R
< v < 3 ×10
8
m s
−1
(7.9)
whereε
R
i stherel ati vepermi tti vi ty of thesubstrate. Thef requency rangeof mi crostri p
i s f rom 0 Hz to thecut-off f requency of thenext hi gher-order mode. Thi s can bef ound
f rom λ
c
whi ch i s approxi matel y gi ven by
λ
c
= 2w
where w i s the wi dth of the top conductor.
At X Band, f or exampl e, typi cal mi crostri p parameters mi ght be
Wi dth Thi ckness of substrate v ε
R
f
c
0.6 mm 0.6 mm 1.15×10
8
m s
−1
9.7 80 GHz
Di spersi on i n mi crostri p i s much l ess than rectangul ar wavegui deand thevel oci ty
and the characteri sti c i mpedance woul d typi cal l y change by onl y a f ew per cent
over several octaves. However, the attenuati on i n mi crostri p i s much greater than
rectangul ar wavegui de, by about a f actor of 100. Thi s i s because the currents are f ar
more concentrated i n mi crostri p. Surpri si ngl y, thi s i s of ten not a cri ti cal f actor as the
ci rcui ts are usual l y onl y a wavel ength i n si ze and i n i ntegrated f orm of ten very much
smal l er. The range of characteri sti c i mpedance can be vari ed, usual l y by changi ng
the wi dth, and val ues i n the range 5–150 are possi bl e. Transi ti ons to mi crostri p are
usual l y made wi th mi ni ature coaxi al l i nes at the edge of the substrate. ‘ On-waf er’
probi ng i s not possi bl e wi th mi crostri p, but probi ng usi ng el ectro-opti c methods i s
possi bl e. To a greater and l esser extent mi crostri p ci rcui ts radi ate. I ndeed, mi crostri p
antennas are i ndi sti ngui shabl e f rom some ci rcui ts. For thi s reason most mi crostri p
ci rcui ts need to be encl osed to prevent radi ati on l eavi ng or enteri ng the ci rcui ts. The
desi gn of thi sencl osurei sof ten acri ti cal part of thewhol eci rcui t. Vari ousal ternati ves
to mi crostri p exi st, i ncl udi ng i nverted mi crostri p, stri pl i ne and tri pl ate [ 3–6] .
7.6 Slot guide
Sl ot gui de i s shown i n Fi gure 7.4 and i s used i n vari ous f orms of ci rcui t.
The f i el ds l i ke mi crostri p are partl y i n the ai r and partl y i n the substrate, but the
di spersi on i s l ess than mi crostri p. The characteri sti c i mpedance i s mai nl y a f uncti on
of the wi dth of the sl ot and can have a range of val ues typi cal l y 50–200 . There are
some appl i cati ons of coupl ers of sl ot l i ne to mi crostri p l i ne whi ch have seri es rather
Str uctures and proper ti es of tr ansmi ssi on l i nes 153
Metal layers
Dielectric substrate
ε
R
Slot
Fi gure 7.4 Sl ot gui de
Dielectric Substrate
ε
R
Ground planes
Central conductor
Fi gure 7.5 Copl anar wavegui de
than the normal paral l el conf i gurati ons [ 6,7] . The mai n reason f or i ncl udi ng them i n
thi s l i st i s to l ead on to f orms of sl ot l i ne whi ch are wi del y used, namel y copl anar
wavegui de and f i nl i ne.
7.7 Coplanar waveguide
Copl anar wavegui de i s shown i n Fi gure 7.5 and i s used i n many i ntegrated ci rcui ts
as i t can be measured on the chi p usi ng on-waf er probes. These probes are i n the
f orm of a tapered copl anar wavegui de f ol l owed by a transi ti on to ei ther coaxi al l i ne
or rectangul ar wavegui de.
Si nce the gui de consi sts of two sl ots i n paral l el , the l ow di spersi on of sl ot gui de
i s al so present i n copl anar wavegui de. The range of characteri sti c i mpedances i s
typi cal l y 25–100 dependi ng on the wi dth of the sl ots and the rel ati ve permi tti vi ty
of the substrate. The vel oci ty of copl anar wavegui de, si mi l ar to that of sl ot l i ne i s
approxi matel y the average of the vel oci ti es of a TEM wave i n ai r and i n the substrate,
that i s
v =
3 ×10
8
m s
−1
((ε
R
+1)/2)
1/2
(7.10)
154 Mi crowave measurements
Rectangular
waveguide
Slot guide
Printed circuit board
Fi gure 7.6 Fi nl i ne
Si mi l ar to mi crostri p, the currents are concentrated and the attenuati on of both sl ot
l i ne and copl anar wavegui de i s much hi gher than wavegui de. However, i f the ci rcui t
di mensi ons are much smal l er than a wavel ength thi s i s not a l i mi tati on. The mai n
advantageof thestructurei sthat unl i kemi crostri p theground pl anei seasi l y accessi bl e
and connecti ons to sol i d-state and other devi ces i n seri es and paral l el are possi bl e.
Hi gher-order modes do exi st i n these structures but one of the l i mi tati ons i s not these
modes but box modes i n the di el ectri c substrate and the encl osi ng box. The desi gn of
ci rcui ts to avoi d l osi ng energy to these modes requi res speci al care [ 7] .
7.8 Finline
Fi nl i ne i s shown i n Fi gure 7.6. I t i s used i n conj uncti on wi th conventi onal rectangul ar
wavegui de and enabl es ci rcui ts to be used wi th transi ti ons to wavegui de ports. I t al so
avoi ds the use of an encl osure as the wavegui de provi des thi s. I t i s si mi l ar to ri dged
wavegui de i n that the pri nted ci rcui t board provi des the ri dge [ 6, 8] . The advantage
of f i nl i ne i s that sol i d-state components can be mounted on the substrate as i n sl ot
l i ne thus avoi di ng the di ff i cul t probl em of mounti ng such components i n rectangul ar
wavegui de.
7.9 Dielectr ic waveguide
The i ncreasi ng attenuati on i n al l transmi ssi on l i nes usi ng conductors makes thei r
use l ess practi cal above 100 GHz. The di el ectri c wavegui de shown i n Fi gure 7.7 i s
a transmi ssi on l i ne whi ch overcomes these probl ems [ 9] . I ts operati on i s si mi l ar to
opti cal f i brei n that theenergy i s trapped i nsi dethewavegui deby thepri nci pl eof total
i nternal ref l ecti on. The obvi ous di ff erence between thi s wavegui de and other l i nes
descri bed so f ar i s that there i s no easy way to connect many devi ces to i t. However,
Str uctures and proper ti es of tr ansmi ssi on l i nes 155
Dielectric
ε
R
Air surround
ε
0
Fi gure 7.7 Di el ectr i c wavegui de
good transi ti ons to rectangul ar metal l i c wavegui de are avai l abl e al ong wi th vari ous
ci rcui t components.
The gui de does have f i el ds outsi de the structure whi ch decay away rapi dl y i n
the di recti ons transverse to the di recti on of propagati on. These f i el ds can be used
f or vari ous ci rcui t components. Supporti ng the gui de requi res a di el ectri c of l ower
di el ectri c constant and i n the case of opti cal f i bre thi s i s made suff i ci entl y l arge to
ensure al l the external f i el ds have decayed to zero. For a di el ectri c gui de at 100 GHz
the di mensi ons mi ght be 2 × 1 mm. The di spersi on i s l ess than metal l i c rectangul ar
wavegui de and bandwi dths of an octave are possi bl e. Recent research has shown that
j uncti onsbetween di el ectri c wavegui deshavesuperi or repeatabi l i ty and i nserti on l oss
to metal l i c wavegui des. I t i s anti ci pated that di el ectri c wavegui des wi l l be commonl y
used i n the f uture f or f requenci es above 100 GHz.
Refer ences
1 Marcuvi tz, N.: Wavegui de Handbook, I ET El ectromagneti c Waves Seri es 21 (I ET,
London, 1986)
2 Saad, T. S., Hansen, R. C., and Wheel er, G. J.: Mi crowave Engi neer s’ Handbook,
Vol s. 1 & 2 (Artech House, Dedham, MA, 1971)
3 Edwards, T. C.: Foundati ons for Mi crostr i p Ci rcui t Desi gn, 2nd edn (Wi l ey,
Chi chester, 1992)
4 Wol ff , I .: Mi crostr i p – Bi bl i ogr aphy 1948–1978 (V.H. Wol ff , Aachen, Germany,
1979)
5 Chang, K.: Mi crowave Sol i d-State Ci rcui ts and Appl i cati ons (Wi l ey, New York,
1994)
6 Wadel l , B. C.: Tr ansmi ssi on Li ne Desi gn Handbook (Artech House, Norwood,
MA, 1991)
7 Si mons, R. N.: Copl anar Wavegui de Ci rcui ts, Components and Systems (Wi l ey,
New York, 2001)
156 Mi crowave measurements
8 Hel szaj n, J.: Ri dge Wavegui des and Passi ve Mi crowave Components, I ET
El ectromagneti c Waves Seri es 49 (I ET, London, 2000)
9 Rozzi , T., and Mongi ardo, M.: Open El ectromagneti c Wavegui des, I ET El ectro-
magneti c Waves Seri es 43 (I ET, London, 1997)
Fur ther r eading
1 Bharti a, P., and Bahl , I . J.: Mi l l i meter Wave Engi neer i ng and Appl i cati ons (Wi l ey,
New York, 1984)
2 Smi th, B. L., and Carpenti er, M. H.: The Mi crowave Engi neer i ng Handbook, vol . 1
(Chapman Hal l , London, 1993)
3 Hi l berg, W.: El ectr i cal Char acter i sti cs of Tr ansmi ssi on Li nes (Artech House,
Dedham, MA, 1979)
4 Baden Ful l er, A. J.: Mi crowaves (Pergamon, Oxf ord, 1969)
5 Chi pman, R. A.: Tr ansmi ssi on Li nes, Schaum’ s Outl i ne Seri es (McGraw-Hi l l ,
New York, 1968)
Chapter 8
Noise measur ements
Davi d Adamson
8.1 I ntr oduction
I n any cl assi cal system (i .e. non-quantum) the ul ti mate l i mi t of sensi ti vi ty wi l l be
set ei ther by i nterf erence or by random si gnal s that are produced wi thi n the system.
I n thi s chapter we are not concerned wi th the si tuati ons where i nterf erence sets the
ul ti mate l i mi t and so hencef orth, we wi l l consi der onl y si tuati ons where the ul ti mate
sensi ti vi ty i s set by random si gnal s. The mi ni mum possi bl e val ue f or these random
si gnal s i s general l y set by physi cal phenomena col l ecti vel y cal l ed noi se. I f we are
i nterested i n determi ni ng the l i mi t of sensi ti vi ty of a system then we need to measure
the random si gnal s whi ch determi ne that l i mi t. Al ternati vel y, we may wi sh to desi gn
a system to reach a chosen l evel of sensi ti vi ty i n whi ch case we need to have methods
to al l ow the cal cul ati on of the l evel of random si gnal s that are to be anti ci pated i n the
system.
I n thi s chapter, we are parti cul arl y i nterested i n systems that are sensi ti ve to
el ectromagneti c si gnal s, general l y i n the mi crowave and radi of requency (RF) regi on
of the spectrum. However, some of the pri nci pl es appl y at any f requency, or even to
systems that are not concerned wi th el ectromagneti c si gnal s.
Random si gnal s produced i n an el ectri cal system are usual l y cal l ed el ectri cal
noi se. The concept of noi se i s f ami l i ar to anyone who has tuned an AM radi o to
a poi nt between stati ons where the l oudspeaker wi l l produce a hi ssi ng noi se whi ch
i s attri butabl e to the el ectri cal noi se i n the system. Thi s exampl e al so i l l ustrates an
i mportant general poi nt about noi se – the source of the noi se may be ei ther i nternal
(caused by phenomena i n the recei ver i n thi s case) or external (atmospheri c and other
sky noi se i n thi s case). Usual l y, we can attempt to choose our system components to
bri ng the noi se i nternal to the system to a l evel whi ch i s appropri ate f or that system
whereas the external noi se i s of ten f i xed by other phenomena and i ts l evel can onl y
be control l ed by caref ul desi gn. For a system wi th no antenna, caref ul screeni ng may
158 Mi crowave measurements
ensure that the external noi se i s zero but a system wi th an antenna wi l l al ways be
suscepti bl e to some external noi se and the l evel can onl y be al tered by caref ul desi gn
and even then, onl y wi thi n certai n l i mi ts.
Sources of i nternal noi se i ncl ude vari ous random f l uctuati ons of el ectrons i n the
materi al s maki ng up the el ectri cal ci rcui ts. I t i s i mportant to real i se that i n a cl assi cal
system the l evel of these f l uctuati ons cannot ever be zero except when the system i s
enti rel y at a temperature of absol ute zero, 0 K. There are vari ous ways of reduci ng
the noi se – choi ce of components and the temperature of the system are exampl es.
I n thi s chapter we are i nterested i n methods of measuri ng the noi se i n an el ectri cal
system i n the RF and mi crowave f requency range.
I t i s worth spendi ng a l i ttl e ti me consi deri ng what sort of random si gnal we are
thi nki ng about when we ref er to noi se. A noi se si gnal wi l l have arbi trary ampl i tude at
any i nstant and the ampl i tude at another i nstant cannot be predi cted by use of any hi s-
tori cal data about previ ous ampl i tudes. As noi se i s a random si gnal the ti me averaged
off set val ue wi l l be zero and consequentl y we consi der root mean square magni tude
val ues. The root mean square val ue of the vol tage i s proporti onal to the average
power of the noi se si gnal . For theoreti cal reasons, i t i s of ten sensi bl e to consi der
the ampl i tude of the si gnal as havi ng a Gaussi an probabi l i ty densi ty f uncti on. Thi s i s
becauseoneof themaj or sources of noi se(thermal noi se) gi ves atheoreti cal Gaussi an
di stri buti on and because, i f the noi se has a Gaussi an di stri buti on, some anal yses of
noi se are f aci l i tated. I n a practi cal si tuati on, noi se i s unl i kel y to be trul y Gaussi an
because there wi l l be ampl i tude and bandwi dth l i mi tati ons whi ch wi l l prevent thi s
f rom occurri ng. However, i n a l arge maj ori ty of cases the assumpti on of a Gaussi an
di stri buti on i s suff i ci entl y cl ose to real i ty to make i t a very sati sf actory model . The
term ‘ whi te noi se’ i s of ten used by anal ogy wi th whi te l i ght to descri be a si tuati on
where the noi se si gnal covers a very l arge (eff ecti vel y i nf i ni te) bandwi dth. Of course,
whi te l i ght f rom the sun i s a noi se si gnal i n the opti cal band.
I n al most al l casestherei sno correl ati on between sourcesof noi seand so thenoi se
i s non-coherent. Thi s means that, i f we have several sources of noi se i n a system, the
total noi se can be f ound by summi ng the i ndi vi dual noi se powers. I n some cases there
can becorrel ati on between noi sesi gnal sand i n thi scasetheanal ysi si smorecompl ex.
A common exampl eof thi s si tuati on i s whereanoi sesi gnal generated wi thi n asystem
travel s both towards the i nput and the output. I f some of the noi se si gnal s are then
ref l ected back towards the output f rom the i nput – due, f or exampl e, to a mi smatch –
there wi l l be some degree of correl ati on between the ref l ected and ori gi nal si gnal s at
the output.
8.2 Types of noise
8.2.1 Ther mal noi se
Thermal or Johnson [ 1] noi se i s the most f undamental source of noi se and i t i s present
i n al l systems. At any temperature above absol ute zero, the el ectrons (and other
charges) i n the materi al s of the ci rcui t wi l l have a random moti on caused by the
temperature. Thi s wi l l occur i n both acti ve and passi ve components of the ci rcui t.
Noi se measurements 159
Any movement of charges gi ves ri se to a current and, i n the presence of resi stance, a
vol tage. The vol tage wi l l vary randoml y i n ti me and i s descri bed i n terms of i ts mean
square val ue. Thi s was f i rst done by Nyqui st [ 2]
v
2
= 4kTBR (8.1)
where k i s the Bol tzmann’ s constant (1.38 × 10
−23
J K
−1
), R represents resi s-
tance (), T represents absol ute temperature i n Kel vi n (K) and B represents system
bandwi dth (Hz).
Cl earl y, the avai l abl e power associ ated wi th thi s mean square vol tage i s gi ven by
P =
v
2
4R
= kTB (Watts) (8.2)
The bandwi dth, B, i s a f uncti on of the system, not the noi se source. Theref ore, i t can
be usef ul to def i ne a parameter that depends onl y on the noi se source and not on the
system. Thi s i s known as the avai l abl e power spectral densi ty
S =
P
B
= kT (Watts) (8.3)
I n actual f act, these expressi ons are onl y approxi mate as f ul l quantum mechani cal
anal ysi s yi el ds an equi val ent expressi on f or the power spectral densi ty of
S = kφ (8.4)
φ = T · P(f ) (8.5)
P(f ) =

hf
kT

e
kf /kT
− 1

−1
(8.6)
where h i s the Pl anck’ s constant (6.626 × 10
−34
J s), f i s the f requency (Hz) and φ
has been ref erred to as the ‘ quantum noi se temperature’ [ 3] .
Unl ess the temperature, T , i s very l ow or the f requency, f , i s very hi gh, the f actor
P(f ) i s cl ose to uni ty and (8.3) and (8.4) become i denti cal .
8.2.2 Shot noi se
I n an acti ve devi ce, the most i mportant source of noi se i s shot noi se [ 4] whi ch ari ses
f rom the f act that the charge carri ers are di screte and are emi tted randoml y. Thi s
i s most easi l y vi sual i sed i n the context of a thermi oni c val ve but appl i es equal l y to
sol i d-state devi ces. Owi ng to thi s, the i nstantaneous current vari es about the mean
current i n a random manner whi ch superi mposes a noi se-l i ke si gnal on the output of
the devi ce.
8.2.3 Fl i cker noi se
Another cause of noi se i s f l i cker noi se, al so known as 1/f noi se because the ampl i -
tude vari es approxi matel y i nversel y wi th f requency. As a consequence, i t i s rarel y
i mportant at f requenci es above a f ew kHz and i t wi l l not be consi dered f urther.
160 Mi crowave measurements
8.3 Definitions
The f undamental quanti ty measured when measuri ng noi se i s usual l y ei ther a mean
noi se power or a mean square noi se vol tage. However, the rel ati onshi p gi ven i n (8.2)
al l ows us to express the noi se as an equi val ent noi se temperature and i t i s very of ten
conveni ent to do thi s. I f the equi val ent thermal noi se power f rom a source i s kT
e
B
then T
e
i s the equi val ent avai l abl e noi se temperature of the source. Noi se sources are
very of ten speci f i ed as havi ng a gi ven val ue of the excess noi se rati o or ENR, usual l y
expressed i n deci bel s. The ENR i s def i ned as f ol l ows:
ENR = 10 l og
10

T
e
− T
0
T
0

dB (8.7)
where T
0
i s the ‘ standard’ temperature of 290 K (17

C).
Thedef i ni ti on gi ven abovei sf or avai l abl enoi sepower i nto aconj ugatel y matched
l oad. I n the past, some l aboratori es have measured noi se power i nto a perf ectl y
matched l oad gi vi ng an eff ecti ve noi se temperature T

e
and an eff ecti ve val ue of ENR.
T

e
= T
e

1 − ||
2

(8.8)
ENR

= 10 l og
10

T

e
− T
0
T
0

dB (8.9)
where i s the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of the noi se source. The di ff erence between ENR
and ENR

i s shown i n Fi gure 8.1.
As can be seen, the error i s smal l f or ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents wi th smal l magni tude
but becomesqui tel argeastheref l ecti on coeff i ci ent i ncreases. Noi sesourceswi th very
hi gh val ues of ENR are of ten qui te poorl y matched so thi s coul d become i mportant.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
1.4
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
Source reflection coefficient
D
e
l
t
a

E
N
R

(
d
B
)
Fi gure 8.1 The di fference between Avai l abl e Noi se Power and Effecti ve Noi se
Power as a functi on of source refl ecti on coeffi ci ent
Noi se measurements 161
The noi se perf ormance of a recei ver i s usual l y speci f i ed as a noi se f actor or noi se
f i gure. The def i ni ti on of noi se f i gure can be f ound i n several pl aces, f or exampl e,
Ref erence 5, the Al l i ance f or Tel ecommuni cati ons I ndustry Sol uti ons. Excerpts f rom
that def i ni ti on state:
• I t i sdetermi ned by (1) measuri ng (determi ni ng) therati o, usual l y expressed i n dB,
of the thermal noi se power at the output, to that at the i nput; and (2) subtracti ng
f rom that resul t, the gai n, i n dB, of the system.
• I n some systems, f or exampl e, heterodyne systems, total output noi se power
i ncl udes noi se f rom other than thermal sources, such as spuri ous contri buti ons
f rom i mage-f requency transf ormati on, but noi se f rom these sources i s not consi d-
ered i n determi ni ng thenoi sef i gure. I n thi sexampl e, thenoi sef i gurei sdetermi ned
onl y wi th respect to the noi se that appears i n the output vi a the pri nci pal f re-
quency transf ormati on of the system, and excl udes noi se that appears vi a the
i mage-f requency transf ormati on.
I n rarecases(most obvi ousl y radi o astronomy) thepri nci pal f requency transf ormati on
may i ncl ude both si debands but usual l y onl y one si deband i s consi dered. The terms
‘ noi se f i gure’ and ‘ noi se f actor’ are normal l y consi dered to be synonymous al though
someti mes the term noi se f actor i s used f or the l i near val ue (not i n dB) whereas
noi se f i gure i s used when the val ue i s expressed l ogari thmi cal l y i n dB. Adopti ng thi s
di sti ncti on here we have
F =
N
0
GkT
0
B
(8.10)
where F i s the noi se f actor, G i s the gai n and B i s the bandwi dth. Theref ore, N
0
, the
total noi se power f rom the output i s
N
0
= GkT
0
B (8.11)
Thei nput termi nati on contri butesan amount GkT
0
B, and so N
r
, thenoi secontri buti on
f rom the recei ver i tsel f i s
N
r
= (F − 1)GkT
0
B (8.12)
I n si tuati ons where there i s very l i ttl e noi se (e.g. radi o astronomy and satel l i te ground
stati ons) i t i smorecommon to usetheequi val ent i nput noi setemperature. A def i ni ti on
i s gi ven i n Ref erence 6 and i s as f ol l ows:
At a pai r of termi nal s, the temperature of a passi ve system havi ng an avai l abl e noi se power
per uni t bandwi dth at aspeci f i ed f requency equal to that of theactual termi nal sof anetwork.
I n most si tuati ons the pai r of termi nal s chosen i s at the i nput of the devi ce so that al l
the noi se at the output i s ref erred back to the i nput and i t i s then i magi ned that al l the
noi se i s produced by a passi ve termi nati on at temperature T
r
. T
r
i s then the equi val ent
i nput noi se temperature of the recei ver.
162 Mi crowave measurements
Thenoi setemperatureand thenoi sef actor can then besi mpl y rel ated. From (8.12)
we have
N
i
= (F − 1)kT
0
B (8.13)
and f rom the def i ni ti on of equi val ent noi se temperature we have
N
i
= kT
r
B (8.14)
and so
T
r
= (F − 1)T
0
(8.15)
The total noi se temperature at the i nput i s of ten ref erred to as the operati ng noi se
temperature whi ch i s gi ven by
T
op
= T
s
+ T
r
(8.16)
where T
s
i s the source temperature. Here we are assumi ng that there i s no correl ati on
between the source noi se temperature and the recei ver noi se temperature and so the
combi ned noi se temperature i s obtai ned by summi ng the noi se temperatures.
8.4 Types of noise sour ce
There are several types of noi se source of whi ch f our are common. Two of these
are parti cul arl y usef ul as pri mary standards of noi se whi l e the other two are more
practi cal f or general use.
8.4.1 Ther mal noi se sources
Thermal noi se sources are very i mportant because they are the type of noi se source
used throughout the worl d as pri mary standards of noi se. To produce such a noi se
source, a mi crowave l oad i s kept at a known temperature. I n a perf ect standard the
transmi ssi on l i nebetween thenon-ambi ent temperatureand theambi ent output woul d
ei ther have an i nf i ni tel y sharp step change of temperature or i t woul d have zero l oss.
I f ei ther of thesei deal i sati ons occurred, cal cul ati on of theoutput noi setemperatureof
the devi ce woul d be tri vi al . However, i n practi ce, the transmi ssi on l i ne cannot f ul f i l
ei ther of these requi rements. Al ong the l ength of the transmi ssi on l i ne through the
transi ti on f rom non-ambi ent to ambi ent, each i nf i ni tesi mal secti on of the l ossy l i ne
wi l l both produce noi se power proporti onal to i ts l ocal temperature and absorb power
i nci dent upon i t. To cal cul ate the eff ect of thi s, measurements of the l oss of the l i ne
must be made and an i ntegrati on al ong the l ength of the l i ne perf ormed.
I n the Uni ted Ki ngdom, the maj ori ty of the pri mary standards used are hot stan-
dardsoperati ng at approxi matel y 673 K and somearecol d standardsoperati ng at 77 K.
Thesearedescri bed i n Ref erences7–10, and areused at NPL to cal i bratenoi sesources
f or customers worl dwi de. Commerci al thermal noi se sources have been avai l abl e but
the accuracy off ered by these devi ces i s l i mi ted by the attenuati on measurements of
the transi ti on secti on and other f actors and i s not as good as what can be achi eved
f rom the devi ces at the Nati onal Standards Laboratori es.
Noi se measurements 163
8.4.2 The temper ature-l i mi ted di ode
Thi s i s not a parti cul arl y common noi se source. I t i s f ormed by usi ng a thermi oni c
di ode i n the temperature-l i mi ted regi me, where al l the el ectrons emi tted f rom the
cathode reach the anode. I n thi s si tuati on the current has noi se whi ch i s determi ned
by shot noi se stati sti cs and i s cal cul abl e – i n other words, i t can be used as a pri mary
standard. However, dueto eff ectssuch astransi t ti meand i nter-el ectrodecapaci tances,
these devi ces have previ ousl y onl y been used f or rel ati vel y l ow f requenci es up to
perhaps 300 MHz. The devi ce i s descri bed i n Ref erence 11.
8.4.3 Gas di scharge tubes
A gas di scharge tube i s an excel l ent broadband noi se source. Tubes of thi s sort are
descri bed i n Ref erence 12. The noi se si gnal i s produced by the random accel erati on
and decel erati on of el ectrons i n the di scharge as they col l i de wi th atoms, i ons or
mol ecul es i n the gas. I n general , the gas used i s argon, neon or xenon at l ow pressure.
The noi se temperature i s typi cal l y around 10,000 K. Commerci al l y avai l abl e wave-
gui dedevi cescan sti l l beobtai ned and, f or thehi gher f requenci es, thesearevery good
sources. The tube contai ni ng the gas i s mounted at an angl e across the wavegui de and
the wavegui de i s usual l y termi nated wi th a good l oad at one end whi l e the other i s
the mounti ng f l ange f or the devi ce. The match of the devi ce i s usual l y excel l ent and
the vari ati on i n the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent between the ‘ on’ and the ‘ off ’ state i s very
smal l . I n a practi cal measurement the ‘ on’ state provi des a hi gh noi se temperature
whereas the ‘ off ’ state provi des a noi se temperature whi ch i s at the physi cal tem-
perature of the devi ce, that i s, cl ose to ambi ent. These devi ces are obtai nabl e up to
f requenci es of 220 GHz [ 13] . These devi ces are not cal cul abl e and theref ore requi re
cal i brati on bef ore use. Once cal i brated, they are rel ati vel y stabl e and wi l l mai ntai n
thei r cal i brati on f or a consi derabl e peri od i f handl ed caref ul l y.
8.4.4 Aval anche di ode noi se sources
A p–n j uncti on whi ch i sreversebi ased can producenoi sethrough si mi l ar mechani sms
to those i n a gas di scharge tube – that i s, the random accel erati on and decel erati on of
the charges i n the materi al [ 14] . Provi ded the current i s suff i ci entl y hi gh, the noi se
produced i s al most i ndependent of f requency as shown i n Fi gure 8.2.
These devi ces are wi deband, conveni ent, easy to use and are the pref erred type
of noi se source f or most appl i cati ons. They are easi l y swi tched on and off rapi dl y,
maki ng measurementsconveni ent. Recent devel opmentsi ncl udenoi sesourceswhi ch
contai n a cal i brati on tabl e i nternal l y (on an EEPROM) and a temperature measuri ng
devi ce i n the package so that the col d (or ‘ off ’ ) temperature can be measured i n si tu
rather than assumed to be ambi ent. As f or the di scharge tube, the ‘ on’ state has a
hi gh noi se temperature whi l e the ‘ off ’ state has a noi se temperature whi ch i s cl ose
to ambi ent. I n general , the di ode wi l l produce a hi gh-ENR wi th a match whi ch i s
poor and whi ch has a consi derabl e vari ati on between the ‘ on’ state and the ‘ off ’
state. To produce a l ower val ue of ENR an attenuati ng pad i s i nserted whi ch reduces
the ENR and al so i mproves the match and reduces i ts vari ati on. These devi ces are
164 Mi crowave measurements
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
0.1 1 10
Current (mA)
N
o
i
s
e

E
N
R

(
d
B
)
1 GHz
2 GHz
3 GHz
100
Fi gure 8.2 Aval anche di ode noi se as a functi on of cur rent and frequency
not cal cul abl e and must be cal i brated bef ore use. They are reasonabl y stabl e al though
vari ati ons can occur. The condi ti on of the connector i s an i mportant f actor to consi der
when assessi ng the stabi l i ty and repeatabi l i ty of these devi ces.
8.5 M easur ing noise
I nstruments used to measure noi se are cl assi f i ed under the general descri pti on of
radi ometers of whi ch there are many types. Nowadays, a vari ety of i nstrument types
can be conf i gured to perf orm the measurement (e.g. noi se f i gure anal ysers and spec-
trum anal ysers) but the actual operati on i s that of a radi ometer and an understandi ng
of the pri nci pl e wi l l al l ow the user to understand the way i n whi ch the measurement
i s made and the resul ti ng l i mi tati ons. There are many types of radi ometer – the two
most common arethetotal power radi ometer and theDi cke(or swi tchi ng) radi ometer.
I n thi s chapter we wi l l consi der onl y the total power radi ometer but those i nterested
i n the Di cke radi ometer pl ease ref er to Ref erence 15.
8.5.1 The total power r adi ometer
The si mpl e f orm of the total power radi ometer i s shown i n Fi gure 8.3.
I n the total power radi ometer, the f i nal output i s a power readi ng whi ch si mpl y
measures the total power comi ng f rom the i nput and f rom the noi se generated i n the
recei ver. We can assume that these are not correl ated and that the total power i s gi ven
by a si mpl e sum of the i ndi vi dual powers.
Noi se measurements 165
T
s
Receiver
Variable gain/
attenuation
and power
meter
T
x
T
r
, G
r
Fi gure 8.3 Si mpl e bl ock di agr am of a Total Power Radi ometer
When the f i rst devi ce, T
s
(general l y a standard), i s attached to the i nput we have
(T
s
+ T
r
)G
r
= P
1
(8.17)
and when the second devi ce T
X
(ei ther an ambi ent standard or the unknown), i s
attached we have
(T
x
+ T
r
)G
r
= P
2
(8.18)
The detecti on system i s l i kel y to have non-l i neari ti es and so i t i s good practi ce to
i ncl ude a cal i brated attenuator i n the system to ensure that the output power i s hel d
at a constant l evel and so
(T
s
+ T
r
)G
r
A
1
= (T
x
+ T
r
)G
r
A
2
(8.19)
Commonl y, the rati o of the attenuator setti ngs, A
1
/A
2
i s cal l ed the Y-f actor, Y and
so, rearrangi ng, we have

T
x
+ T
r
T
s
+ T
r

= Y (8.20)
The above equati on can be rearranged to gi ve ei ther T
x
or T
r
dependi ng on whether
one i s cal i brati ng the recei ver or the unknown.
T
x
= YT
s
+ T
r
(Y − 1) (8.21)
or
T
r
=
(T
x
− YT
s
)
(Y − 1)
(8.22)
The recei ver noi se temperature must be obtai ned f i rst through the use of two known
noi se temperatures, general l y a ‘ hot’ standard and, f or conveni ence, an ambi ent l oad.
Once thi s i s done, the unknown noi se temperature may be obtai ned usi ng ei ther the
standard or an ambi ent devi ce.
A usabl e total power radi ometer requi res very stabl e gai n throughout the system
si ncethegai n must remai n constant throughout themeasurement. Very hi gh val ues of
gai n (perhapsup to 100 dB) wi l l berequi red si ncewearedeal i ng wi th very smal l i nput
166 Mi crowave measurements
powers; f or exampl e, a thermal noi se source at 290 K has a power spectral densi ty of
−204 dBW Hz
−1
. I f the gai n i s not stabl e then measurement errors wi l l resul t. I n the
past, thi s was di ff i cul t to achi eve and was one of the moti vati ons f or the devel opment
of the Di cke radi ometer whi ch rel i es on a stabl e ref erence devi ce. However, more
recentl y, adequate stabi l i ty has been achi eved and more recent radi ometers tend to
be total power because the total power radi ometer i s more sensi ti ve. Radi ometer
sensi ti vi ty i s di scussed i n the next secti on.
8.5.2 Radi ometer sensi ti vi ty
The sensi ti vi ty of the radi ometer i s l i mi ted by random f l uctuati ons i n the f i nal output
[ 16,17] . These f l uctuati ons have an RMS val ue ref erred to the i nput gi ven by
T
mi n
=
aT
op


(8.23)
where B i s the pre-detector bandwi dth, τ i s the post-detector ti me constant, T
op
i s as
def i ned i n (8.16), a i s a constant that depends on the radi ometer desi gn and T
mi n
i s
the mi ni mum resol vabl e temperature di ff erence.
The constant a wi l l be uni ty f or a total power radi ometer and between 2 and 3 f or
a Di cke radi ometer dependi ng on the type of modul ati on and detecti on used. I t i s f or
thi s reason that a total power radi ometer i s to be pref erred i f adequate gai n stabi l i ty
can be achi eved.
8.6 M easur ement accur acy
Wehaveseen earl i er that atotal power radi ometer can beused to measurean unknown
noi se temperature provi ded that two di ff erent standards of noi se temperature are
avai l abl e (8.21) and (8.22). I f we now assume that one of these sources i s ‘ hot’ (i .e.
a cal i brated noi se source) and the other i s ‘ col d’ (i .e. an ambi ent temperature l oad)
and denote these by T
h
and T
c
, respecti vel y, we can re-wri te (8.22) as
T
r
=
(T
h
− YT
c
)
(Y − 1)
(8.24)
Wherever possi bl e, the noi se temperature bei ng measured shoul d be somewhere
between the two standards. Rough gui del i nes f or the choi ce of noi se standards are
gi ven by
T
r
=

T
h
T
c
or 4
T
h
T
c
10 (8.25)
Commerci al sol i d-state noi se sources are typi cal l y ei ther 5 dB ENR (about 1000 K)
or 15 dB ENR (about 10,000 K) i n the ‘ on’ state. I n the ‘ off ’ state, they have a
temperature cl ose to the ambi ent temperature and so the measurements can be made
by connecti ng onl y one noi se source to the devi ce under test. For very l ow noi se
devi ces, a col d l oad mi ght provi de better measurement uncertai nti es. I n order to see
Noi se measurements 167
thi s, i t i s best to deri ve the uncertai nti es wi th respect to each i nput vari abl e. Thi s i s
done by parti al di ff erenti ati on
T
r1
=
1
Y − 1
T
h
T
r2
=
−1
Y − 1
T
c
T
r3
=
(T
c
− T
h
)
(Y − 1)
2
Y
These are the type ‘ B’ uncertai nti es i n the termi nol ogy def i ned i n the appropri ate
gui de [ 18] and the type ‘ A’ uncertai nti es must be added to gi ve an overal l uncertai nty.
The type ‘ A’ uncertai nti es are the uncertai nti es determi ned by stati sti cal means. I n
the case of a noi se radi ometer, we can obtai n an approxi mati on to the magni tude of
the type ‘ A’ uncertai nti es f rom (8.23). Thi s gi ves
T
r4
=
¸
(T
h
+ T
r
)
2

+
(T
c
+ T
r
)
2

1/2
and the total uncertai nty i s then
T
tot
=
¸
T
2
r1
+T
2
r2
+T
2
r3
+T
2
r4
¸
1/2
Thi s rel ati on has been used to deri ve the data shown i n Fi gure 8.4 and Fi gure 8.5. I n
these f i gures, T
a
denotes an ambi ent l oad used as one of the temperature ref erences
and T
v
i s a vari abl e temperature noi se source used as the other ref erence. T
v
, the
uncertai nty i n T
v
i s assumed to be 2 per cent of T
v
and T
a
, the uncertai nty i n T
a
, i s
f i xed at 0.5 K. The other parameters are
Y = 0.05 dB
B = 2 MHz
τ = 1 s
I t i s cl ear that the choi ce of sui tabl e noi se temperature ref erences i s very i mportant
i f l ow uncertai nti es are desi red, parti cul arl y f or the measurement of very l ow noi se
temperatures.
When measuri ng a mi xer or other devi ce wi th f requency conversi on, i t i s i mpor-
tant to consi der the i mage f requency. Noi se sources are broadband devi ces; hence, i n
the absence of any i mage rej ecti on, the noi se source wi l l provi de an i nput si gnal
to both si debands. The def i ni ti on of noi se f i gure requi res that onl y the pri nci -
pal f requency transf ormati on i s measured. I f both si debands are measured due to
the l ack of any i mage rej ecti on, the measurement wi l l be i n error. When the l oss
168 Mi crowave measurements
0
20
40
60
80
100
U
n
c
e
r
t
a
i
n
t
y

(
%
)
10 100 1.10
3
1.10
4
T
r
/K
T
ν
= 77
∆T
ν
= 1.54
T
a
= 296
∆T
a
= 0.5
Tr
min
= 205
MinError = 4 %
Fi gure 8.4 Uncer tai nty of measurement as a functi on of the noi se temper ature of
the DUT for a r adi ometer usi ng standards at 77 K and 296 K
T
ν
= 1 × 10
4
∆T
ν
= 200
T
a
= 296
∆T
a
= 0.5
Tr
min
= 3.259 × 10
3
Min Error = 3 %
10 100 1.10
3
1.10
4
0
20
40
60
80
100
U
n
c
e
r
t
a
i
n
t
y

(
%
)
T
r
/K
Fi gure 8.5 Uncer tai nty of measurement as a functi on of the noi se temper ature of
the DUT for a r adi ometer usi ng standards at 296 K and 10000 K
f or both si debands i s equal thi s error wi l l be a f actor of 2, or 3 dB and so we
have [ 19,20]
F
ssb
= 2F
dsb
when T
ssb
= 2T
dsb
+ 290 (8.26)
Noi se measurements 169
Output Input
G
1
F
1
G
2
F
2
G
3
F
3
G
n
F
n
Fi gure 8.6 Cascaded recei ver s
but i n many si tuati ons, thi s wi l l not be the case and so the error wi l l be l arge and
di ff i cul t to quanti f y.
8.6.1 Cascaded recei ver s
I f wehaveacascadeof recei vers or ampl i f i ers as shown i n Fi gure8.6, then theoveral l
noi se f i gure can be cal cul ated usi ng the expressi on
F
t
= F
1
+
(F
2
− 1)
G
1
+
(F
3
− 1)
G
1
G
2
+ · · · +
(F
n
− 1)
(G
1
G
2
· · · G
n−1
)
(8.27)
or i n terms of noi se temperature
T
t
= T
1
+
T
2
G
1
+
T
3
G
1
G
2
+ · · · +
T
n
(G
1
G
2
· · · G
n−1
)
(8.28)
I f G
1
i s l arge then the hi gher-order terms can be i gnored. I t i s al so evi dent that the
qual i ty of thi s f i rst ampl i f i er has a l arge beari ng on the perf ormance of the overal l
system.
When we want to desi gn a cascade wi th the l owest possi bl e noi se f i gure a
parameter known as the noi se measure i s def i ned [ 21] as
M =
(F − 1)

1 −
1
G
(8.29)
Theampl i f i er wi th thel owest val ueof noi semeasureshoul d comef i rst i n thecascade.
8.6.2 Noi se from passi ve two-por ts
Any real system wi l l contai n passi ve devi ces whi ch wi l l have some l oss. These
devi ces wi l l be noi se sources wi th a noi se temperature equi val ent to thei r physi cal
temperature. Consi der the arrangement i n Fi gure 8.7.
Here the transmi ssi on coeff i ci ent of the two-port i s denoted by α and hence i ts
l oss i s (1 −α). I t wi l l theref ore have a noi se temperature of (1 −α)T
2
. The i nci dent
noi se f rom the source on the i nput wi l l be attenuated by the two-port to a val ue of
T
1
α and so the total noi se temperature (assumi ng no correl ati on) i s
T
out
= T
1
α +(1 −α)T
2
(8.30)
170 Mi crowave measurements
T
1
Lossy two-port
network
T
2

T
out
=T
1
+(1- )T
2
T
out
Fi gure 8.7 Lossy two-por t
T
c
Receiver
T
h
T
r
(F), G
r
T
0
,
T
r
′(F′), G
r

A
1
, A
2
Fi gure 8.8 Radi ometer preceded by a l ossy two-por t
I f thi s i s appl i ed to the case i n Fi gure 8.8, where a radi ometer i s preceded by a l ossy
two-port then we can use (8.19) and (8.30) to wri te
[ T
c
α +(1 −α)T
0
+ T
r
] G
r
A
1
= [ T
h
α +(1 −α)T
0
+ T
r
] G
r
A
2
Now, l etti ng Y = A
1
/A
2
and rearrangi ng
T
r
=
¸
α
(T
h
− YT
c
)
(Y − 1)
¸
−(1 −α) T
0
(8.31)
I f we now treat the l ossy network and the radi ometer as a si ngl e uni t (i .e. outsi de the
dotted box i n Fi gure 8.8)
T

r
=
(T
h
− YT
c
)
(Y − 1)
(8.32)
Usi ng F = (T
r
/T
0
) + 1 and (8.31) we obtai n
F = α
¸
(T
h
− YT
c
)
(Y − 1) T
0
+ 1
¸
(8.33)
From (8.32) we have
M =
(1 − |
S
|) (1 − |
S
|)
|1 −
S

L
|
(8.34)
Noi se measurements 171
and, hence,
F = α < 1 and F

(dB) = F (dB) +α(dB) (8.35)
When measured i n dB, any l osses i n f ront of the radi ometer add di rectl y to the noi se
temperature of the radi ometer. Thi s i s onl y stri ctl y true i f the l ossy two-port i s at the
standard temperature of 290 K. I f i t i s at any other temperature a new expressi on f or
F i n (8.33) must be deri ved usi ng the same procedure.
8.7 M ismatch effects
Up to now, the eff ect of mi smatch has been i gnored i n the anal yses. I n real i ty, there
wi l l usual l y be mi smatches and these must be consi dered (Fi gure 8.9).
Mi smatch f actor =
Power del i vered to l oad
Power avai l abl e f rom source
M =

1 − |
S
|
2

1 − |
L
|
2

|1 −
S

L
|
2
Noi se i s aff ected i n two ways by mi smatches. Fi rst, i n common wi th al l other
mi crowave si gnal s, there wi l l be mi smatch l oss [ 22] . Second, and more subtl y, the
noi se temperature of a recei ver i s aff ected by the i nput i mpedance. Thi s i s because
noi se emanati ng f rom the f i rst acti ve devi ce i n the di recti on of the i nput wi l l be corre-
l ated wi th the noi se emanati ng f rom i t i n the di recti on of the output. When thi s noi se
i s ref l ected off the i nput mi smatch i t wi l l sti l l be parti al l y correl ated wi th the noi se
goi ng towards the output and so the two noi se powers cannot be si mpl y summed; a
more compl ex anal ysi s i s requi red. However, si mpl e steps can be taken to reduce or
el i mi nate thi s eff ect. I n the past, tuners were f requentl y used but thi s i s l ess common
si nce manual tuners are sl ow and theref ore expensi ve i n operator ti me and automati c
tuners are expensi ve i n capi tal cost. Theref ore the use of i sol ators i s more common
now (Fi gure 8.10).
I n thi s si tuati on the radi ometer sees a constant i nput i mpedance f or both swi tch
posi ti ons and so i s not aff ected by any vari ati on i n the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents of the
two noi se sources. There i s sti l l mi smatch l oss at the i nput port and so accurate noi se
Load Source
Γ
L
Γ
S
Fi gure 8.9 Mi smatch
172 Mi crowave measurements
T
s
T
u
Γ
s
Fi gure 8.10 The use of an I sol ator on the r adi ometer i nput
measurements requi rethemeasurement of thecompl ex ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents of both
the i sol ator i nput and of the noi se sources. Some accurate noi se systems i ncorporate
i nstrumentati on to al l ow thi s to be done i n si tu [ 23] .
8.7.1 Measurement of recei ver s and ampl i fi er s
For many peopl e, measurement of noi se means measurement of the noi se f i gure of
an ampl i f i er. I t i s i mportant to real i se that thi s f i gure i s not a uni que parameter – the
noi se f i gure i s an i nserti on measurement whi ch depends on the source i mpedance
the ampl i f i er sees when i t i s measured. A measurement made wi th a di ff erent source
i mpedance wi l l yi el d a di ff erent resul t. Fortunatel y, the eff ect i s of ten qui te smal l , but
i t shoul d not be overl ooked. Two opti ons exi st:
• Measure the ampl i f i er i n a def i ned i mpedance envi ronment and i nf orm the user
what the measurement condi ti ons are.
• Provi de the f ul l compl ex noi se parameters so that the user can cal cul ate the noi se
f or any i mpedance conf i gurati on.
I n the past, the f i rst opti on was of ten adopted and the ampl i f i er was measured i n a
perf ectl y matched envi ronment. However, i ncreasi ngl y, users wi sh to obtai n the very
best perf ormance f rom thei r ampl i f i ers and, to do thi s, f ul l knowl edge of the compl ex
ampl i f i er noi se parameters i s requi red.
There have been several di ff erent representati ons of the compl ex ampl i f i er noi se
parameters. These al l provi de the same i nf ormati on and so one set can readi l y be
converted to another. The most common (because they are the most usef ul to the
practi si ng engi neer) are the parameters def i ned by Rothe and Dahl ke [ 24] . The most
f ami l i ar f orm i s
F = F
mi n
+
R
n
G
s

Y
s
− Y
opt

2
(8.36)
Noi se measurements 173
i n terms of noi se f actor and admi ttances. I t can be wri tten i n terms of noi se
temperatures and ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents as
T
r
= T
mi n
+
4T
0
R
n
Z
0
¸

s

opt

2

1 +
opt

2

1 − |
s
|
2

(8.37)
I n the above equati on the noi se temperature, T
r
, wi l l reach i ts mi ni mum val ue, T
mi n
,
when the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent at the source,
s
, i s at i ts opti mum val ue,
opt
. Si m-
i l arl y, i n (8.36) the noi se f actor, F , wi l l reach i ts mi ni mum val ue F
mi n
when the
source admi ttance, Y
s
i s at i ts opti mum val ue, Y
opt
. I n both equati ons R
n
i s the noi se
resi stance and determi nes how rapi dl y the noi se i ncreases as the source admi ttance
or ref l ecti on moves away f rom opti mum. I n (8.37) T
0
i s the usual standard noi se
temperature 290 K, Z
0
i s the characteri sti c i mpedance of the transmi ssi on l i ne and i n
(8.36) G
s
i s the conductance of the transmi ssi on l i ne.
The i ssue of correl ated noi se has been touched upon several ti mes al ready. The
f ol l owi ng descri pti on [ 25] may make thi s cl earer.
Ref erri ng to Fi gure 8.11, the ampl i f i er (encl osed wi thi n the dotted box) can con-
ceptual l y be spl i t i nto a perf ect, noi se f ree two-port wi th a two-port noi se source.
The l atter may be on the i nput or the output; here i t i s assumed to be on the i nput.
Noi se waves, a
1n
and b
1n
, are produced and propagate i n each di recti on. As these
are produced i n the same pl ace, i n the same way, they are correl ated. Af ter b
1n
i s
ref l ected f rom thesource, therewi l l sti l l besomedegreeof correl ati on wi th a
1n
and so
the output noi se temperature, T
t
cannot be correctl y eval uated wi thout accounti ng f or
thi s. The amount of correl ati on depends on both the magni tude and the phase of the
source ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent. I t shoul d be noted that the apparent noi se temperature
at the i nput, T
B
, i s di ff erent and can be wel l bel ow ambi ent [ 26–28] .
The total noi se i nci dent on the two-port (rememberi ng the noi se generated wi thi n
the two-port i s ref erred to the i nput) wi l l be
N
t
= N
s
+ N(a
1n
) +
s
N(b
1n
)
where N
t
i s the noi se at the output of the recei ver, N(a
1n
) i s the noi se due to the
f orward goi ng noi se wave, N(b
1n
) i s the noi se due to the reverse goi ng noi se wave
and
s
i s the source ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent.
Noise
b
1n
Noise free
two-port
a
1
a
2
b
2
b
1
a
1n
T
t
Γ
s Γ
1
T
b
T
r
Source Load
Fi gure 8.11 Conceptual spl i t of an ampl i fi er i nto a per fect, noi se free two-por t and
a two-por t noi se source
174 Mi crowave measurements
I f we assume no correl ati on between the noi se source on the i nput and the noi se
generated by the recei ver then
|N
t
|
2
= |N
s
|
2
+ |N (a
1n
)|
2
+ |
s
|
2
|N (b
1n
)|
2
+ 2Re
¸

s
N (a
1n
)

N (b
1n
)
¸
where, f or exampl e, |N
t
|
2
denotesthemean squareval ueof N
t
and theasteri sk denotes
the compl ex conj ugate.
Recal l i ng the earl i er def i ni ti ons we can say
|N
t
|
2
= kT
t
B
|N
s
|
2
= kT
s
B
|N (a
1n
)|
2
= kT
r
B
|N (b
1n
)|
2
= kT
b
B
Now def i ne a new parameter

as

=

s


1

(1 −
s

1
)
(8.38)
whi ch has the property M
s
= 1 −

s

2
, where M
s
i s the mi smatch f actor at the i nput
of the ampl i f i er.
Di vi di ng throughout by kB and i ntroduci ng a compl ex parameter T
c
whi ch
represents the degree of correl ati on between T
r
and T
b
gi ves
T
t
= T
s
+ T
r
+

2
T
b
+ 2Re

T
c

(8.39)
The terms T
r
, T
b
and T
c
are the parameters def i ned by Meys [ 29] .
Measurement of the noi se parameters of an ampl i f i er expressed i n any of the var-
i ous f orms can be done rel ati vel y easi l y by measuri ng the total noi se power output
wi th a vari ety of i nput termi nati ons – at l east one of whi ch must be at a di ff erent
noi se temperature to the others. Usual l y, thi s i s done by usi ng a noi se source whi ch
provi des a hot noi se temperature (on) and ambi ent noi se temperature (off ) at a ref l ec-
ti on cl ose to a match and a set of mi smatches whi ch provi de ambi ent termi nati ons
away f rom a match. Choi ce of the val ues f or the mi smatches i s not tri vi al i f a l ow
uncertai nty measurement i s to be achi eved wi th the mi ni mum of mi smatches [ 30,31] .
Obvi ousl y, whatever i nput sources are used, thei r ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent must be mea-
sured and used to cal cul ate the noi se parameters and thi s, al one, i s enough to make
thewhol emeasurement much moreti meconsumi ng, compl ex and expensi vei n terms
of equi pment.
8.8 Automated noise measur ements
The great maj ori ty of noi se measurements are made usi ng some sort of automated
system, most commonl y anoi sef i gureanal yser. Thef i rst wi del y avai l abl ei nstruments
Noi se measurements 175
of thi ski nd werei ntroduced morethan two decadesago and, al though therehavebeen
many i mprovements i n usabi l i ty and i n accuracy si nce then, the basi c pri nci pl es have
not changed and are, i ndeed, those of the total power radi ometer al ready descri bed.
8.8.1 Noi se fi gure meter s or anal yser s
The basi c bl ock di agram of a noi se f i gure anal yser i s shown i n Fi gure 8.12.
Modern i nstruments wi l l cover a wi de bandwi dth (e.g. 10 MHz to 26.5 GHz)
i n a si ngl e uni t and wi l l have i nbui l t f i l teri ng to avoi d i mage probl ems. The most
modern i nstruments have sel ectabl e measurement bandwi dth (achi eved by di gi tal
si gnal processi ng). The cal cul ati on of the recei ver noi se temperature i s perf ormed
by the processor and then used to correct the DUT measurements. Of ten a vari ety of
parameters may be di spl ayed, f or exampl e, gai n and noi se f i gure, but i t i s i mportant
to remember that the onl y measurement whi ch i s actual l y made by the i nstrument i s
the Y-f actor. The sources of uncertai nty i n the measurement are the same as those
made by other methods descri bed earl i er.
The bl ock di agram (Fi gure 8.12) shows an i sol ator on the i nput. Thi s component
i s not, i n f act, general l y part of the i nstrument but shoul d be added external l y f or best
uncertai nty f or reasons descri bed earl i er. The mi xer shown i s an i nternal component,
but external mi xers may be added to extend the f requency range. I f thi s i s done then
the user may have to be concerned wi th i mage rej ecti on.
8.8.2 On-wafer measurements
I ncreasi ngl y, noi se measurements are bei ng perf ormed on-waf er. There are many
di ff i cul ti es wi th thi s, i n common wi th al l on-waf er measurements. The mai n i nterest
i s i n the measurement of the f ul l compl ex noi se parameters and so vari abl e ref l ecti on
coeff i ci ents are requi red. These are usual l y achi eved usi ng tuners, ei ther sol i d state
or mechani cal . The maj ori ty of these systems use off -waf er noi se sources, off -waf er
automati c tuners and off -waf er i nstrumentati on (noi se f i gure anal yser and network
anal yser). A probi ng stati on i s used to l i nk al l these to the on-waf er devi ces [ 32] . Thi s
i s a compl ex and error prone method of measurement. Di scussi on of the i ntri caci es
NS DUT A/D Display
LO
Micro-
processor
N/S Drive
Fi gure 8.12 Si mpl e bl ock di agr am of a Noi se Fi gure Anal yser
176 Mi crowave measurements
of on-waf er measurement i s not wi thi n the scope of thi s document and so wi l l not be
consi dered f urther here.
Comparati ve measurements on-waf er are much easi er to perf orm and these are
f ai rl y routi nel y perf ormed. The measurements can be checked by i ncl udi ng passi ve
devi cessuch asan attenuator on thewaf er [ 33] . Other workershaveproposed apassi ve
devi ce based upon a Lange coupl er whi ch al so has cal cul abl e noi se characteri sti cs
and i n addi ti on i t i s desi gned i n such a way that i ts scatteri ng coeff i ci ents are si mi l ar
to the FET structures of ten bei ng i nvesti gated [ 34] .
8.9 Conclusion
Thi s chapter has attempted to gi ve an overvi ew of noi se metrol ogy f rom pri mary
standards to practi cal systems. The vi ew i s, of necessi ty, parti al and bri ef . There are
other works on measurements whi ch al so i ncl ude a di scussi on of noi se metrol ogy.
The i nterested reader may ref er i n parti cul ar to Ref erences 35 and 36.
Acknowledgements
Theauthor wi shesto acknowl edgethecontri buti on madeto thecontent of thi schapter
by hi s co-workers and predecessors i n the f i el d of noi se metrol ogy i n the Uni ted
Ki ngdom. Parti cul ar menti on must be made of Stephen Protheroe, Mal col m Si ncl ai r
(author of the previ ous versi on of thi s chapter) and Gareth Wi l l i ams.
© Crown copyri ght 2005
Reproduced wi th the permi ssi on of the Control l er of HMSO
and Queen’ s Pri nter f or Scotl and
Refer ences
1 Johnson, J. B.: ‘ Thermal agi tati on of el ectri ci ty i n conductors’ , The Physi cal
Revi ew, 1928;32:97–109
2 Nyqui st, H.: ‘ Thermal agi tati on of el ectri c charge i n conductors’ , The Physi cal
Revi ew, 1928;32:110–13
3 ‘ Joi nt servi ce revi ew and recommendati ons on noi se generators’ , Joi nt Servi ce
Speci f i cati on REMC/30/FR, June 1972, UK
4 Schottky, W.: ‘ Spontaneouscurrent f l uctuati onsi n vari ousconductors’ , (German)
Annal en der Physi k, 1918;57:541–67
5 ATI S Commi ttee T1A1 (2001) Noi se fi gure [ onl i ne] , avai l abl e f rom:
http://www.ati s.org/tg2k/_noi se_f i gure.html [ Accessed December 2006]
6 ATI S Commi ttee T1A1 (2001) Noi se temper ature [ onl i ne] , avai l abl e f rom:
http://www.ati s.org/tg2k/_noi se_temperature.html , [ Accessed December 2006]
Noi se measurements 177
7 Bl undel l , D. J., Houghton, E. W., and Si ncl ai r M. W.: ‘ Mi crowave noi se
standards i n the Uni ted Ki ngdom’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on I nstr umentati on and
Measurement, 1972;I M -21 (4):484–88
8 Si ncl ai r, M. W.: ‘ A revi ew of the UK nati onal noi se standard f aci l i ti es’ , I EE
Col l oqui um on El ectr i cal Noi se Standards and Noi se Measurements, Di gest no.
1982/30, Paper no. 1, pp. 1/1–1/16, March 1982
9 Si ncl ai r, M. W., and Wal l ace, A. M.: ‘ A new nati onal el ectri cal noi se standard i n
X-band’ , I EE Proc. A, Phys. Sci . Meas. I nstr um. Manage. Educ. Rev. 1986;133
(5):272–74
10 Si ncl ai r, M. W., Wal l ace, A. M., and Thornl ey, B.: ‘ A new UK nati onal standard
of el ectri cal noi se at 77 K i n WG15’ , I EE Proc. A, Phys. Sci . Meas. I nstr um.
Manage. Educ. Rev. 1986;133 (9): 587–95
11 Harri s, I . A.: ‘ The desi gn of a noi se generator f or measurements i n the f requency
range 30–1250 MHz’ , Proc. I nst. El ectr. Eng., 1961;108 (42):651–58
12 Hart, P. A. H.: ‘ Standard noi se sources’ , Phi l i ps Techni cal Revi ew, 1962;23
(10):293–309
13 CP Cl are Corporati on, Mi crowave Noi se Tubes and Noi se Sources TD/TN Ser i es
[ onl i ne] , avai l abl e f rom: http://www/ortodoxi sm.ro/datasheets/cl are/TD-77.pdf
[ Accessed 10 January 2007]
14 Hai tz, R. H., and Vol tmer, F. W.: ‘ Noi seof asel f -sustai ni ng aval anchedi schargei n
si l i con: studi es at mi crowave f requenci es’ , Jour nal of Appl i ed Physi cs, 1968;39
(7):3379–84
15 Di cke, R. H.: ‘ The measurement of thermal radi ati on at mi crowave f requenci es’ ,
The Revi ew of Sci enti fi c I nstr uments, 1946;17:268–75
16 Kel l y, E. J., Lyons, D. H., and Root, W. L.: The theor y of the r adi ometer , MI T
Li ncol n Lab, Report no. 47.16, 1958
17 Ti uri , M. E.: ‘ Radi o astronomy recei vers’ , I EEE Tr ans. Mi l . El ectron, 1964;
M I L -8:264–72
18 Uni ted Ki ngdom Accredi tati on Servi ce: ‘ The expressi on of uncertai nty and
conf i dence i n measurement’ , NAMAS publ i cati on M3003, December 1997
19 Pastori , W. E.: ‘ I mage and second-stage correcti ons resol ve noi se f i gure
measurement conf usi on’ , Mi crowave Systems News, May 1983, pp. 67–86
20 Bai l ey, A. E. (ed.): Mi crowaveMeasurements, 2nd edn (Peter Peregri nus, London,
1989)
21 Haus, H. A., and Adl er, R. B.: Ci rcui t Theor y of Li near Noi sy Networ ks
(Wi l ey, New York, 1959)
22 Kerns, D. M., and Beatty, R. W.: Basi c Theor y of Wavegui de Juncti ons
and I ntroductor y Mi crowave Networ k Anal ysi s (Pergamon Press, New York,
1967)
23 Si ncl ai r, M. W.: ‘ Untuned systems f or the cal i brati on of el ectri cal noi se sources’ ,
I EE Col l oqui um Di gest no. 1990/174, 1990, pp. 7/1–7/5
24 Rothe, H., and Dahl ke, W.: ‘ Theory of noi sy f ourpol es’ , Proceedi ngs of the
I nsti tute of Radi o Engi neer s, 1956;44:811–18
25 Wi l l i ams, G. L.: ‘ Source mi smatch eff ects i n coaxi al noi se source cal i brati on’ ,
Measurement Sci ence and Technol ogy, 1989;2:751–56
178 Mi crowave measurements
26 Frater, R. H., and Wi l l i ams, D. R.: ‘ An acti ve “ col d” noi se source’ , Tr ansacti ons
on Mi crowave Theor y and Techni ques, 1981;29 (4):344–47
27 Forward, R. L., and Ci sco, T. C.: ‘ El ectroni cal l y col d mi crowave arti f i ci al
resi stors’ , Tr ansacti ons on Mi crowave Theor y and Techni ques, 1983;31(1):45–50
28 Randa, J., Dunl eavy, L. P., and Terrel l , L. A.: ‘ Stabi l i ty measurements on noi se
sources’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on I nstr umentati on and Measurement, 2001;50
(2):368–72
29 Meys, R. P.: ‘ A wave approach to the noi se properti es of l i near mi crowave
devi ces’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on Mi crowave Theor y and Techni ques, 1978;
M T T-26(1):34–37
30 Van den Bosch, S., and Martens, L.: ‘ I mproved i mpedance-pattern generati on
f or automati c noi se-parameter determi nati on’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on Mi crowave
Theor y and Techni ques, 1998;46 (11):1673–78
31 Van den Bosch, S., and Martens, L.: ‘ Experi mental veri f i cati on of pattern sel ec-
ti on f or noi se characteri zati on’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on Mi crowave Theor y and
Techni ques, 2000:48 (1):156–58
32 Hewl ett Packard Product Note 8510-6: ‘ On-waf er measurements usi ng the
HP8510 network anal yser and cascade mi crotech probes’ , pp. 1-16, May 1986,
Hewl ett Packard, Pal o Al to, http://www.home.agi l ent.com/upl oad/cmc_upl oad/
Al l /6C065954-1579.PDF [ Accessed 03 January 2007]
33 Fraser, A. et al .: ‘ Repeatabi l i ty and veri f i cati on of on-waf er noi se parameter
measurements’ , Mi crowave Jour nal , 1988;31 (11): 172–176
34 Boudi af , A., Dubon-Cheval l i er, C., and Pasquet, D.: ‘ An ori gi nal passi ve devi ce
f or on-waf er noi se parameter measurement veri f i cati on’ , CPEM Di gest, Paper
WE3B-1, pp. 250–51, June 1994
35 Bryant, G. H.: Pr i nci pl esof Mi crowaveMeasurements(Peter Peregri nus, London,
1988)
36 Engen, G. F.: Mi crowave Ci rcui t Theor y and Foundati ons of Mi crowave
Metrol ogy (Peter Peregri nus, London, 1992)
Chapter 9
Connector s, air lines and RF impedance
N. M. Ri dl er
9.1 I ntr oduction
Thi s chapter gi ves i nf ormati on concerni ng some ‘ i mpedance’ consi derati ons that can
be usef ul when maki ng transmi ssi on l i ne measurements at radi o f requency (RF) and
mi crowavef requenci es. Thesubj ect matter i sdi vi ded i nto thef ol l owi ng threeareas:
(1) connectors – the mechani sms used to j oi n together two or more transmi ssi on
l i nes;
(2) ai r l i nes – components used to def i ne certai n characteri sti cs of transmi ssi on
l i nes (such as i mpedance and phase change); and
(3) RF i mpedance – speci al consi derati ons needed at l ower mi crowave
f requenci es (typi cal l y, bel ow 1 GHz) when def i ni ng the i mpedance of
el ectri cal components and networks.
The treatment of connectors deal s onl y wi th coaxi al connectors used to perf orm
preci si on transmi ssi on l i ne measurements (e.g. of power, attenuati on, i mpedance and
noi se)
1
. Si mi l arl y, onl y ai r l i nes used to real i se standards of i mpedance f or these
connector types are consi dered. For both connectors and ai r l i nes, onl y the 50
vari ety i s deal t wi th i n any detai l . Fi nal l y, the el ectromagneti c properti es (such as
characteri sti c i mpedanceand propagati on constant) of thesel i nes at l ower mi crowave
and radi o f requenci es are consi dered.
1
Note: 7/16 connectors arenot ref erred to expl i ci tl y i n thesenotes. However, somei nf ormati on i s gi ven
on thi s type of connector i n the appendi x towards the end of these notes.
180 Mi crowave measurements
9.2 Histor ical per spective
The use of hi gh-f requency el ectromagneti c si gnal s dates back to the l ate ni neteenth
century and the experi ments of Hertz [ 1] val i dati ng the theory of el ectromagneti c
radi ati on proposed by Maxwel l [ 2] . For a maj ori ty of these experi ments, Hertz chose
to use gui ded el ectromagneti c waves, i ncl udi ng a pri mi ti ve f orm of coaxi al l i ne, and
thi s essenti al l y gave bi rth to the sci ence of gui ded-wave RF and mi crowave mea-
surements. However, a peri od of approxi matel y 40 years passed bef ore commerci al
needs f or thi s new sci ence began to emerge and new technol ogi es (e.g. rel i abl e si gnal
sources) became avai l abl e.
9.2.1 Coaxi al connector s
Duri ng the 1940s, work began on devel opi ng coaxi al connectors that were sui tabl e
f or hi gh-f requency appl i cati ons [ 3] , and thi s l ed to the i ntroducti on of the Type N
connector, whi ch i s sti l l used extensi vel y today throughout the i ndustry. Other con-
nector types f ol l owed. Many of these connectors are sti l l i n use today (such as BNC,
TNC and SMA connectors), however, many others have si nce become obsol ete.
By the l ate 1950s, a general awareness began to emerge concerni ng the need f or
preci si on coaxi al connectors to enabl e accurate measurements of transmi ssi on l i ne
quanti ti es to be made. To address thi s need, commi ttees were establ i shed duri ng
the earl y 1960s (i ncl udi ng an I EEE commi ttee on preci si on coaxi al connectors) and
these produced standards [ 4] f or the 14 and 7 mm preci si on connectors. These con-
nectors were manuf actured by General Radi o and Amphenol , respecti vel y, and hence
became known col l oqui al l y as the GR900 and APC-7 connectors (GR900 bei ng the
900 seri es General Radi o connector and APC-7 bei ng the 7 mm Amphenol Preci si on
Connector). Around the same ti me, a preci si on versi on of the Type N connector was
al so i ntroduced.
Duri ng the 1970s and 1980s, addi ti onal ‘ preci si on’ connectors were i ntroduced,
general l y of smal l er si ze
2
to accommodate a wi der f requency range of operati on.
These i ncl uded the 3.5 mm [ 5] , 2.92 mm (or K connector)
3
[ 7] , 2.4 mm [ 8] and
1.85 mm (or V connector) [ 9] connectors. I n recent years, devi ces and measuri ng
i nstruments have been manuf actured f i tted wi th 1 mm connectors [ 10] . Tabl e 9.1
shows the approxi mate dates f or the i ntroducti on of al l these connectors (as wel l as,
f or ref erence, the BNC, TNC and SMA connectors, al though these are not preci si on
connectors).
Thepreci si on connectors di scussed aboveareused nowadays i n most l aboratori es
i nvol ved i n hi gh-preci si on RF and mi crowave measurements. Thi s warrants a cl oser
l ook at the properti es of these connectors (as gi ven i n Secti on 9.3).
2
The ‘ si ze’ of a coaxi al connector ref ers to the i nternal di ameter of the outer conductor consti tuti ng the
coaxi al l i ne secti on of the connector contai ni ng ai r as the di el ectri c.
3
I t i s i nteresti ng to note that a versi on of the 2.92 mm connector was actual l y i ntroduced back i n 1974
[ 6] , but thi s was not a commerci al success. Thi s was probabl y due to compati bi l i ty probl ems wi th other
connector types exi sti ng at the ti me.
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 181
Tabl e 9.1 Approxi mate dates at whi ch some
coaxi al connector s were i ntroduced
Decade of i ntroducti on Connector
1940s Type N
BNC
1950s TNC
SMA
1960s 7 mm (APC-7)
14 mm (GR900)
1970s Preci si on Type N
3.5 mm
1980s 2.92 mm
2.4 mm
1990s 1.85 mm
1 mm
9.2.2 Coaxi al ai r l i nes
The use of preci si on coaxi al l i nes as pri mary i mpedance standards al so dates back to
theearl y 1960s [ 11,12] . Thesel i nes useai r as thedi el ectri c medi um dueto thesi mpl e,
and predi ctabl e, el ectromagneti c properti es (i .e. permeabi l i ty and permi tti vi ty) of ai r
at RF and mi crowave f requency. The subsequent devel opment of these l i nes has
cl osel y f ol l owed the devel opment of the preci si on coaxi al connectors, menti oned
above, wi th smal l er di ameter l i ne si zes bei ng produced to i nterf ace wi th the vari ous
di ff erent types of connector. Ai r l i nes are now commerci al l y avai l abl e i n the 14, 7,
3.5, 2.92, 2.4 and 1.85 mm l i ne si zes. I t i s onl y f or the 1 mm l i ne si ze that ai r l i nes
are not presentl y avai l abl e. Thi s i s presumabl y due to the di ff i cul ti es i nvol ved i n
accuratel y machi ni ng such smal l di ameter conductors (beari ng i n mi nd that i n order
to achi eve a characteri sti c i mpedance of 50 , the 1 mm l i ne si ze woul d requi re a
centre conductor wi th a di ameter of l ess than 0.5 mm). The ai r l i nes currentl y used
as i mpedance standards are di scussed i n Secti on 9.4.
9.2.3 RF i mpedance
Cl osel y f ol l owi ng the evol uti on of ai r l i nes as absol ute i mpedance standards at
mi crowave f requenci es has been a consi derati on of the probl ems i nvol ved i n uti l i si ng
these, and si mi l ar, standardsf or i mpedanceat RF
4
. However, thephysi cal phenomena
4
The term RF i s used i n these notes to i ndi cate f requenci es rangi ng typi cal l y f rom 1 MHz to 1 GHz.
I n general , the term RF does not def i ne a speci f i c f requency regi on. Theref ore, thi s term mi ght be used i n
other texts to i ndi cate di ff erent f requency regi ons.
182 Mi crowave measurements
aff ecti ng the characteri sti cs of these standards at these f requenci es have been known
about f or many years. I ndeed, thedi scovery of theso-cal l ed ‘ ski n eff ect’ , whi ch aff ects
the use of ai r l i nes as standards at these f requenci es, was made by Maxwel l and other
emi nent workers i n thi s f i el d duri ng the l ate ni neteenth century (e.g. Rayl ei gh [ 13] ).
Subsequent work duri ng the earl y-to-mi d twenti eth century establ i shed expressi ons
f or the seri es resi stance and i nductance of conductors due to the ski n eff ect [ 14] and
thi s l ed to f ormul as bei ng devel oped [ 15,16] f or vari ous f orms of transmi ssi on l i ne,
i ncl udi ng coaxi al l i nes.
Duri ng the1950sand 1960s, preci si on near-matched termi nati onsweredevel oped
[ 17,18] as al ternati ve i mpedance standards, especi al l y f or use at l ower mi crowave
f requenci es. Recent work has used a combi nati on of ai r l i nes and termi nati ons f or
RF i mpedance standardi sati on [ 19,20] . Some of the consi derati ons i nvol ved i n RF
i mpedance measurement and standardi sati on are gi ven i n Secti on 9.5.
9.3 Connector s
I t i sof ten thecasethat i n many RF and mi crowavemeasurement appl i cati ons, therol e
pl ayed by theconnectorsi soverl ooked. Thi si spresumabl y becausemany connectors,
parti cul arl y coaxi al connectors, appear to be si mpl e devi ces that are mechani cal l y
robust. I n f act, the perf ormance of any devi ce, system or measuri ng i nstrument can
onl y be as good as the connector used to f orm i ts output. A greater awareness of
connector perf ormance i s theref ore a great asset f or i ndi vi dual s i nvol ved i n RF and
mi crowave appl i cati ons i nvol vi ng connectors.
Thereareseveral usef ul documentsgi vi ng detai l ed i nf ormati on on vari ousaspects
of coaxi al connectors. Parti cul arl y recommended i s [ 21] , whi ch provi des up-to-date
i nf ormati on on the use, care and mai ntenance of coaxi al connectors as wel l as per-
f ormance and speci f i cati on f i gures. Rel ated i nf ormati on can al so be f ound i n [ 22,23] ,
al though these documents are now obsol ete and hence di ff i cul t to obtai n. Excel l ent
revi ews of coaxi al connector technol ogy, both past and present, have been gi ven i n
[ 24,25] . Thef ol l owi ng i nf ormati on i sbased on theabovedocumentsand other si mi l ar
sources.
9.3.1 Types of coaxi al connector
There are several ways of categori si ng coaxi al connectors; f or exampl e, as ei ther
sexed or sexl ess or as preci si on or non-preci si on. These categori es are expl ai ned
bel ow, al ong wi th the GPC and LPC categori es used f or preci si on connectors.
9.3.1.1 Sexless and sexed connector s
Sexl ess connector s
A connector i s sai d to be ‘ sexl ess’ when both hal ves of a mated pai r are nomi nal l y
i denti cal (both el ectri cal l y and mechani cal l y) and hence l ook the same. I n recent
ti mes, the two most common sexl ess connectors are the 14 and 7 mm connectors.
However, duri ng the evol uti on of coaxi al connector desi gns i n the 1960s [ 26] , other
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 183
Outer conductor reference planes
Outer conductor
Centre conductor
Centre conductor
spring contact
Fi gure 9.1 Schemati c di agr am of a gener i c sexl ess connector pai r
sexl ess connectors were produced (e.g. see [ 27] ), but these are l ess common today.
A schemati c di agram of a generi c sexl ess connector pai r i s shown i n Fi gure 9.1. Thi s
di agram shows thepri nci pl ecomponents of theconnector, that i s, thecentreand outer
conductors, the centre conductor’ s spri ng contact and the outer conductor ref erence
pl ane. Noti ce that the posi ti on of the centre conductor i s recessed wi th respect to the
outer conductor ref erence pl ane. The spri ng contact thus ensures that good el ectri cal
contact i s made between the centre conductors of a mated pai r of sexl ess connectors.
Sexed connector s
The vast maj ori ty of connectors i n current use are of the so-cal l ed ‘ sexed’ vari ety.
These connectors use a mal e and f emal e (i .e. pi n and socket) arrangement to produce
a mated pai r. The most common exampl es of these connectors are the SMA, BNC
and Type N. However, these connector types are not general l y of the preci si on vari ety
(seeSecti on 9.3.1.2). A schemati c di agram of ageneri c sexed connector pai r i s shown
i n Fi gure 9.2. Thi s di agram i s si mi l ar to Fi gure 9.1, except that the centre conductor’ s
spri ng contacts are repl aced by the pi n (mal e) and socket (f emal e) arrangements
used f or maki ng the contact between the centre conductors of a mated pai r of sexed
connectors.
9.3.1.2 Pr ecision and non-pr ecision connector s
Preci si on connector s
The term ‘ preci si on’ was used ori gi nal l y to descri be onl y the sexl ess vari ety of con-
nectors [ 28] . However, thi s category was l ater modi f i ed to i ncl ude sexed connectors
exhi bi ti ng very good el ectri cal perf ormance and coi nci dent mechani cal and el ectri cal
ref erence pl anes [ 29] (e.g. the 3.5 mm connector). These days, the term i s gener-
al l y used f or hi gh-qual i ty connectors havi ng ai r as the di el ectri c at the connector’ s
ref erence pl anes.
184 Mi crowave measurements
Male centre
conductor pin
Female centre
conductor socket
Outer conductor
Outer conductor reference planes
Male connector Female connector
Fi gure 9.2 Schemati c di agr am of a gener i c sexed connector pai r
The two preci si on sexl ess connectors are the 7 and 14 mm connectors men-
ti oned above. Preci si on sexed connectors i ncl ude the 3.5, 2.92, 2.4, 1.85 and 1 mm
connectors. The 2.92 and 1.85 mm connectors are of ten cal l ed the K and V connec-
tors, respecti vel y. I n addi ti on, there i s a preci si on versi on of the Type N connector
5
al though the ref erence pl anes f or the mal e and f emal e sexes of thi s connector are not
coi nci dent.
Another maj or devel opment i n the acceptance of the above sexed connectors as
bei ng sui tabl e f or use as preci si on connectors has been the i ntroducti on of the sl otl ess
f emal e contact. Conventi onal f emal e connectors have l ongi tudi nal sl ots cut i nto the
centre conductor that enabl e the pi n of the mal e connector to be hel d ti ghtl y duri ng
mati ng. Thi s provi des a secure connecti on but al so produces el ectri cal di sconti nui ti es
due to the sl otted gaps i n the f emal e centre conductor and di ameter vari ati ons, al so
i n the f emal e centre conductor, due to the di ameter vari ati ons of mal e pi ns. The sl ot-
l ess f emal e contact [ 30] avoi ds these two probl ems by pl aci ng the f emal e’ s graspi ng
mechani sm i nsi de the f emal e centre conductor socket. The removal of the el ectri cal
di sconti nui ti es caused by the sl otted arrangements means that sl otl ess sexed connec-
tors wi th a very hi gh perf ormance can be achi eved (i .e. ri val l i ng the perf ormance of
the sexl ess connectors).
However, devi ces f i tted wi th sl otl ess f emal e contacts are general l y more f ragi l e,
and more expensi ve, than the equi val ent sl otted devi ces and are theref ore general l y
onl y used i n appl i cati ons requi ri ng the very hi ghest l evel s of measurement accuracy.
Sl otl essf emal econtactscan bef ound on TypeN, 3.5 and 2.4 mm preci si on connectors.
There i s al so a speci al versi on of the 3.5 mm connector (cal l ed WSMA [ 31] ), whi ch
5
I n f act, there are a consi derabl e number of di ff erent qual i ti es of Type N connector of whi ch most
woul d not be cl assi f i ed as ‘ preci si on’ . Theref ore, care shoul d be taken when usi ng di ff erent vari eti es of
Type N connectors so that the overal l desi red perf ormance of a measurement i s not compromi sed.
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 185
uses a sl otl ess f emal e contact, desi gned speci f i cal l y to achi eve good qual i ty mati ng
wi th SMA connectors.
Non-preci si on connector s
There are a very l arge number and vari ety of non-preci si on coaxi al connectors i n
use today. Some of the more popul ar non-preci si on connectors i ncl ude the SMA,
BNC, Type N
6
, UHF, TNC, SMC and SMB connectors. The scope of thi s chapter
does not i ncl ude non-preci si on connectors, so f urther detai l s are not gi ven f or these
connectors.
9.3.1.3 GPC and L PC ter minologies
The preci si on connectors, di scussed above, can be f urther cl assi f i ed i n terms of
ei ther GPC (General Preci si on Connector) or LPC (Laboratory Preci si on Connector)
versi ons. GPCsi ncl udeasel f -contai ned sol i d di el ectri c el ement (of ten cal l ed a‘ bead’ )
to support the centre conductor of the connector, whereas LPCs use onl y ai r as the
di el ectri c throughout. The LPC theref ore requi res that the centre conductor of the
connector i s hel d i n pl ace by some other means. For exampl e, the centre conductor
of a ref erence ai r l i ne f i tted wi th LPCs can be hel d i n pl ace by the test ports of a
measuri ng i nstrument to whi ch the l i ne i s connected. LPCs are used where the very
hi ghest l evel s of accuracy are requi red (e.g. at nati onal standard l evel ). LPCs and
GPCsf or thesamel i nesi zearemechani cal l y compati bl e(i .e. they areof nomi nal l y the
samecross-secti onal di mensi ons). Theuseof theterms GPC and LPC al so avoi ds any
conf usi on caused by usi ng manuf acturers’ names to i denti f y speci f i c connectors. For
exampl e, usi ng the term APC-7 i mpl i es a connector manuf acturer (e.g. Amphenol )
but doesnot necessari l y i ndi catewhether theconnector i san LPC-7 or GPC-7 versi on.
9.3.2 Mechani cal char acter i sti cs
Two very i mportant mechani cal characteri sti cs of a coaxi al connector are i ts si ze
(i .e. the di ameters of the two coaxi al l i ne conductors) and mati ng compati bi l i ty
wi th other connectors. Tabl e 9.2 gi ves the nomi nal si zes of the preci si on connectors
di scussed previ ousl y.
Several of the above connector types have been desi gned to be mechani cal l y
compati bl e wi th each other, meani ng that they can mate wi th other types of connector
wi thout causi ng damage. Speci f i cal l y, 3.5 mmconnectorscan matewi th K connectors,
and 2.4 mmconnectorscan matewi th V connectors. Thi si sachi eved by usi ng thesame
di ameter f or themal epi n of theconnector (asshown i n Tabl e9.3). However, si ncethe
di ametersof thecoaxi al l i nesecti onsi n theconnectorsareof di ff erent si zes(asshown
i n Tabl e 9.2) there wi l l be an el ectri cal di sconti nui ty at the i nterf ace between a mated
pai r of these mechani cal l y compati bl e connectors. Thi s di sconti nui ty i s caused by the
step changes i n the di ameters of both the centre and outer conductors of the coaxi al
6
The Type N connector i s i ncl uded i n l i sts of both preci si on and non-preci si on connectors due to the
wi de range of perf ormance f or thi s connector (dependi ng on the connector speci f i cati on), as menti oned
previ ousl y.
186 Mi crowave measurements
Tabl e 9.2 Li ne di ameter s of preci si on
Connector name Li ne si ze, i .e. the outer
conductor i nternal
di ameter (mm)
Centre
conductor
di ameter (mm)
14 mm (e.g. GR900)

14.2875 6.204
7 mm (e.g. APC-7) 7.000 3.040
Type N 7.000 3.040
3.5 mm 3.500 1.520
2.92 mm (K connector) 2.920 1.268
2.4 mm 2.400 1.042
1.85 mm (V connector) 1.850 0.803
1 mm 1.000 0.434

Thi s connector actual l y has an outer di ameter of 14.2875 mm, and not 14 mm
as i ts name i mpl i es. Thi s i s because the ori gi nal connector desi gn was based
around an outer di ameter of 9/16" . When the connector was standardi sed, i t was
deci ded to keep thedi ameter as14.2875 mm(9/16" ) but to useal esspreci sename
(i .e. 14 mm).
Tabl e 9.3 El ectr i cal di sconti nui ti es caused by j oi ni ng mechani cal l y compati bl e
connector s
Connector pai r Centre conductor
pi n di ameter f or
both connectors
(mm)
Equi val ent
di sconti nui ty
capaci tance (f F)
Maxi mum
l i near ref l ecti on
coeff i ci ent
magni tude
3.5 mm and K connector 0.927 8 0.04 (at 33 GHz)
2.4 mm and V connector 0.511 10 0.08 (at 50 GHz)
l i ne and can be represented el ectri cal l y as a si ngl e shunt capaci tance at the ref erence
pl ane of the connector pai r [ 32] . Thi s di sconti nui ty capaci tance produces a ref l ecti on
at theconnector i nterf acethat vari es wi th f requency. Thi s eff ect has been i nvesti gated
i n [ 33] , and typi cal maxi mum val ues f or thi s ref l ecti on are gi ven i n Tabl e 9.3.
I n addi ti on to the mechani cal compati bi l i ty of the above preci si on connectors, the
3.5 mm and K connectors are al so mechani cal l y compati bl e wi th the SMA connector.
I n thi s case, the presence of a sol i d di el ectri c (e.g. Tef l on) at the ref erence pl ane of
the SMA connector causes an addi ti onal di sconti nui ty capaci tance (thi s ti me due to
the di el ectri c) l eadi ng to even l arger el ectri cal ref l ecti ons than those produced f rom
a 3.5 mm to K-connecti on. However, as menti oned previ ousl y, the WSMA preci si on
3.5 mm connector was desi gned speci f i cal l y to produce hi gh-perf ormance mati ng
wi th SMA connectors [ 31] . Thi s i s achi eved by del i beratel y setti ng back the posi ti on
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 187
of the centre conductor pi n by a prescri bed amount, and hence i ntroduci ng an amount
of i nductance to compensate f or the addi ti onal capaci tance caused by the SMA’ s
di el ectri c [ 34] .
9.3.3 El ectr i cal char acter i sti cs
Two very i mportant el ectri cal characteri sti cs of a coaxi al connector are the nomi nal
characteri sti c i mpedance and the maxi mum recommended operati ng f requency to
ensureastabl e, and repeatabl e, measurement. Thecharacteri sti c i mpedanceof coaxi al
ai r l i nes i s di scussed i n detai l i n Secti on 9.4 of thi s chapter. Thi s di scussi on i s al so
appl i cabl e to the preci si on coaxi al connectors used wi th these ai r l i nes.
The maxi mum recommended operati ng f requency f or a coaxi al l i ne i s usual l y
chosen so that onl y a si ngl e el ectromagneti c mode of propagati on i s l i kel y to be
present i n the coaxi al l i ne at a gi ven f requency. Thi s i s the domi nant transverse
el ectromagneti c (or TEM) mode and operates excl usi vel y f rom DC to the maxi mum
recommended operati ng f requency. Above thi s f requency, other hi gher-order modes
7
can al so propagate to some extent.
The maxi mum recommended operati ng f requency i s of ten cal l ed the ‘ cut-off
f requency’ as i t corresponds to the l ower f requency cut-off f or these hi gher-order
wavegui de modes. The f i rst hi gher-order mode i n 50 coaxi al l i ne i s the TE
11
mode
(al so known as the H
11
mode i n some ref erences). The cut-off f requency i s gi ven
by [ 35]
f
c
=
c
λ
c

µ
r
ε
r
(9.1)
I t has been shown i n [ 36] that the approxi mate cut-off wavel ength f or the TE
11
mode
i s gi ven by
λ
c
≈ π(a +b) (9.2)
whi ch correspondsto theaverageci rcumf erenceof thel i ne’ sconductors. Morepreci se
expressi onsf or thecut-off wavel ength can beobtai ned f rom[ 37] and theseproducethe
theoreti cal upper f requency l i mi ts(i .e. thecut-off f requenci es) f or each l i nesi zeshown
i n Tabl e 9.4.
Tabl e9.4 al so gi vesrecommended usabl eupper f requency l i mi tsf or each l i nesi ze.
These are l ower than the theoreti cal upper f requency l i mi ts and thi s i s due to potenti al
hi gher-order mode resonances (agai n, the TE
11
mode bei ng the most l i kel y) caused
by sol i d materi al di el ectri c (e.g. Tef l on) bei ng present between the two conductors
of the coaxi al l i ne. These resonances are most probl emati c when they occur i n the
vi ci ni ty of the transi ti ons f rom ai r to sol i d di el ectri c, such as when a di el ectri c bead i s
7
These modes are of ten cal l ed ‘ wavegui de modes’ si nce they are si mi l ar to the modes f ound i n hol l ow
wavegui de. These modes are ei ther transverse el ectri c (TE) or transverse magneti c (TM) and have a
l ongi tudi nal component to thei r propagati on. I t shoul d be noted that the TEM mode can conti nue to
propagate at f requenci es where TE and TM modes are al so possi bl e, si nce the TEM mode does not
actual l y have an upper f requency l i mi t.
188 Mi crowave measurements
Tabl e 9.4 Theoreti cal and recommended upper frequency l i mi ts for
coaxi al connector s
Connector name Theoreti cal
upper f requency
l i mi t (GHz)
Recommended usabl e
upper f requency l i mi t
(GHz)
14 mm (e.g. GR900) 9.5 8.5
7 mm (e.g. APC-7) 19.4 18.0
Type N 19.4 18.0
3.5 mm 38.8 33.0
2.92 mm (K connector) 46.5 40.0
2.4 mm 56.5 50.0
1.85 mm (V connector) 73.3 65.0
1 mm 135.7 110.0
used to support thecentreconductor of thecoaxi al l i ne(as i n GPCs). Such resonances
can occur i n si ngl e connector beads as wel l as i n a mated connector pai r contai ni ng
two di el ectri c beads.
These hi gher-order mode resonances can cause si gni f i cant el ectromagneti c
changes i n both the ref l ecti on and transmi ssi on properti es of the coaxi al l i ne. (I n gen-
eral , these changes cause the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of the l i ne to i ncrease whereas
the transmi ssi on coeff i ci ent decreases.) These resonances are hi ghl y unpredi ctabl e
and can be i ni ti ated by subtl e asymmetri es, eccentri ci ti es or other i rregul ari ti es that
may be present i n the l i ne – as can be the case at connector i nterf aces. For exampl e,
i f di el ectri c beads f orm part of the connector i nterf ace (as i n GPCs), these el ectro-
magneti c changes can vary accordi ng to the ori entati on of the connectors each ti me
a connecti on i s made. Under these condi ti ons, even pri sti ne preci si on connectors can
exhi bi t very poor repeatabi l i ty of connecti on.
The presence of bead resonances i n preci si on coaxi al connectors has been i nves-
ti gated i n [ 38] , whi l e [ 39] presents some methods proposed to reduce the l i kel i hood
of exci tati on of these modes (e.g. through connector bead desi gn). I n any case, care
shoul d be taken when perf ormi ng measurements near the upper f requency l i mi ts of
coaxi al connectors – even the recommended usabl e upper f requency l i mi ts, gi ven i n
Tabl e 9.4. Acute changes i n the ref l ecti on and transmi ssi on coeff i ci ents (or a l ack of
repeatabi l i ty of these coeff i ci ents) may i ndi cate the presence of a hi gher-order mode
resonance.
9.4 Air lines
Preci si on ai r-di el ectri c coaxi al transmi ssi on l i nes (or, ai r l i nes, f or short) can be
used as ref erence devi ces, or standards, f or i mpedance measurements at RF and
mi crowave f requenci es. (The term i mpedance i s used here to i mpl y a wi de range of
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 189
el ectri cal quanti ti es, such as S-parameters, i mpedance and admi ttance parameters,
VSWR, and return l oss.) Thi s i ncl udes the use of ai r l i nes as cal i brati on and veri f i ca-
ti on standards f or measuri ng i nstruments such as vector network anal ysers (VNAs)
[ 40] . For exampl e, VNA cal i brati on schemes, such as Thru-Ref l ect-Li ne (TRL) [ 41]
and Li ne-Ref l ect-Li ne (LRL) [ 42] , use ai r l i nes as standards to achi eve very hi gh
accuracy i mpedance measurement capabi l i ti es. Thi s i s the method currentl y used to
real i se the UK pri mary nati onal standard f or i mpedance quanti ti es [ 43] at RF and
mi crowave f requenci es (typi cal l y, f rom 45 MHz and above). Si mi l arl y, veri f i cati on
schemes determi ni ng the resi dual systemati c errors i n a cal i brated VNA [ 44] use ai r
l i nes as the ref erence devi ces, and these methods are currentl y endorsed by organi sa-
ti onsi nvol ved i n theaccredi tati on of measurement, such astheEuropean co-operati on
f or Accredi tati on (EA) [ 45] .
Thi s secti on descri bes the di ff erent types of ai r l i ne that are avai l abl e and revi ews
thei r useasstandardsof characteri sti c i mpedanceand/or phasechange. Consi derati on
i s al so gi ven f or the eff ects caused by i mperf ecti ons i n the conductors used to real i se
these ai r l i nes.
9.4.1 Types of preci si on ai r l i ne
There are basi cal l y three types of ai r l i ne dependi ng on the number of di el ectri c beads
used to support the centre conductor of the l i ne. These beads are usual l y to ai d i n the
connecti on of the l i ne duri ng measurement.
9.4.1.1 Unsuppor ted air lines
These l i nes do not contai n any support beads and theref ore the connector i nterf aces
conf orm to the LPC category. The ends of the centre conductor are usual l y f i tted wi th
spri ng-l oaded contacti ng ti ps to f aci l i tate connecti ng the l i ne to other connectors. The
l i ne’ s centre conductor i s hel d i n pl ace by the test ports of a measuri ng i nstrument
(or whatever el se i s bei ng connected to the l i ne). The centre and outer conductors of
these l i nes come i n two separate parts and are assembl ed duri ng connecti on. These
l i nes (whi ch are of a cal cul abl e geometry) are used where the very hi ghest l evel s of
accuracy are requi red. Theref ore, such l i nes are of ten f ound i n VNA cal i brati on ki ts
used to real i se TRL and LRL cal i brati on schemes.
9.4.1.2 Par tially suppor ted air lines
These l i nes contai n a support bead at onl y one end of the l i ne. Thi s desi gn i s of ten
used f or rel ati vel y l ong l engths of l i nethat may bedi ff i cul t to connect i f they werenot
supported i n some way. The unsupported end of the l i ne i s usual l y connected f i rst –
thi s bei ng the more di ff i cul t of the two connecti ons – f ol l owed by the supported end
(whi ch connects l i keaconventi onal connector). Such al i netheref orehas connecti ons
that areLPC at oneend and GPC at theother. Thecentreand outer conductorsof these
l i nes of ten come as two separate components, al though f ul l y assembl ed versi ons al so
exi st where the centre conductor i s hel d i n pl ace by the bead i n the ai r l i ne’ s GPC.
Semi -supported l i nes are of ten f ound i n VNA veri f i cati on ki ts where a cal cul abl e
geometry i s not requi red (al though a hi gh-el ectri cal perf ormance i s sti l l necessary).
190 Mi crowave measurements
These l i nes can al so be used i n appl i cati ons where mi nor ref l ecti ons f rom one end of
the l i ne do not cause probl ems (e.g. some appl i cati ons of the ‘ ri ppl e’ techni que [ 44] ).
9.4.1.3 Fully suppor ted air lines
These l i nes contai n support beads at both ends of the l i ne. Thi s i s equi val ent to GPCs
bei ng present at both ends of the l i ne thus maki ng i t rel ati vel y easy to connect. These
l i nescomef ul l y assembl ed wi th thecentreconductor bei ng hel d i n pl aceby both beads
i n the ai r l i ne’ s GPCs. Such l i nes f i nd appl i cati on where onl y rel ati vel y modest l evel s
of accuracy are requi red or where onl y a part of the l ength of a l i ne needs to be of a
known, or cal cul abl e, i mpedance(e.g. when cal i brati ng ti me-domai n ref l ectometers).
I n such appl i cati ons, the mi nor ref l ecti ons and di sconti nui ti es caused by the presence
of the beads wi l l be i nconsequenti al .
9.4.2 Ai r l i ne standards
I n the above appl i cati ons, the ai r l i nes are used as ref erences of ei ther characteri sti c
i mpedance or phase change, or both. These two appl i cati ons are di scussed i n the
f ol l owi ng subsecti ons.
9.4.2.1 Char acter istic impedance
I n general , the characteri sti c i mpedance of a parti cul ar el ectromagneti c mode sup-
ported by a coaxi al l i ne i s a compl ex f uncti on of the di mensi ons and al i gnment of the
conductors, the physi cal properti es of the materi al s of the l i ne, and the presence of
di sconti nui ti es such as connectors. However, f or a uni f orm l i ne wi th l ossl ess conduc-
tors and ai r between the centre and outer conductors, the characteri sti c i mpedance of
the TEM mode can be approxi mated by
Z
0
=
1

µ
ε
l og
e

b
a

≈ 59.93904 ×l og
e

b
a

(9.3)
From the above expressi on, i t i s cl ear that the characteri sti c i mpedance of a l i ne can
bef ound f rom measurementsof thedi ametersof thel i ne’ sconductors. Such measure-
ments are of ten made usi ng ai r gaugi ng techni ques [ 46] that enabl e measurements to
bemadeconti nuousl y al ong theenti rel engths, and at al l possi bl eori entati ons, of both
conductors. Thi s i s a very usef ul techni que si nce the determi nati on of an ai r l i ne’ s
characteri sti c i mpedance can be made wi th di rect traceabi l i ty to the SI base uni t of
l ength (i .e. the metre).
Si mi l arl y, i t i s al so cl ear that, f rom the above expressi on, val ues of characteri sti c
i mpedance can be establ i shed by usi ng di ff erent di ameters f or a l i ne’ s conductors.
Thi s i s evi dent f rom the di ameter val ues presented i n Tabl e 9.2 that show a range of
di ameter val ues f or coaxi al ai r l i nes each wi th a nomi nal characteri sti c i mpedance of
50 . Si mi l arl y, Tabl e 9.5 gi ves di ameter val ues that achi eve a nomi nal characteri sti c
i mpedance of 75 f or the 14 and 7 mm l i ne si zes, menti oned previ ousl y. These
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 191
Tabl e 9.5 Li ne di ameter s for 75 l i ne si zes
Connector name Li ne si ze, i .e. the i nternal di am-
eter of theouter conductor (mm)
Centre conductor di ameter
(mm)
GR900 14.2875 4.088
Type N 7.000 2.003
di ameters are used to real i se 75 versi ons of the GR900 and Type N connectors,
respecti vel y
8
.
Havi ng establ i shed that a wi de range of characteri sti c i mpedance val ues can be
achi eved si mpl y by choosi ng di ff erent di ameters f or the centre and outer conductors,
thi srai sesthequesti on ‘ Why i s50 apref erred val uef or thecharacteri sti c i mpedance
of coaxi al l i nes?’ The answer appears to be that i t was chosen as a compromi se
i n perf ormance between the theoreti cal characteri sti c i mpedance needed to obtai n
mi ni mum attenuati on i n al i ne(whi ch occursat nomi nal l y 77.5
9
) and thetheoreti cal
characteri sti c i mpedance needed to obtai n the maxi mum power transf er al ong a l i ne
(whi ch occurs nomi nal l y at 30 ). The average of these two val ues i s 53.75 , whi ch
rounds to 50 (to one si gni f i cant f i gure). Hence, 50 i s a good compromi se val ue
f or the characteri sti c i mpedance of l i nes used i n many and di verse appl i cati ons.
9.4.2.2 Phase change
Ai r l i nes can al so be used as standards of phase change si nce a l ossl ess l i ne wi l l onl y
i ntroduce a phase change to a si gnal , whi ch rel ates di rectl y to the l i ne’ s l ength. The
phase change i s gi ven by
ϕ = 2π

ε
r
c
f l (radi ans)
or
ϕ = 360

ε
r
c
f l (degrees)
Ai r l i nes have been used successf ul l y as phase change standards to cal i brate ref l ec-
tometers and VNAs at the very hi ghest l evel s of accuracy (e.g. see [ 47,48] ). These
techni ques use the l i nes i n conj uncti on wi th hi gh ref l ecti ng termi nati ons (such as
short-ci rcui ts and open-ci rcui ts) to produce a known phase change at the i nstrument
8
Cauti on! Great careshoul d betaken when perf ormi ng measurements whereboth 75 and 50 versi ons
of the same connector type are avai l abl e. For the Type N connector, damage wi l l occur to a 75 f emal e
connector i f an attempt i s made to mate i t wi th a 50 mal e connector. Thi s i s due to the substanti al
di ff erence i n di ameters of the mal e pi n and the f emal e socket. (Note that the same si tuati on occurs wi th
50 and 75 versi ons of BNC connectors! ).
9
Thi s may al so expl ai n why 75 i s al so of ten used i n some appl i cati ons (such as i n certai n areas of
the communi cati ons i ndustry).
192 Mi crowave measurements
test port. I n recent years, the use of such techni ques i s begi nni ng to re-emerge i n
appl i cati ons where i t i s not practi cal to use unsupported ai r l i nes pri mari l y as stan-
dards of characteri sti c i mpedance(e.g. i n cal i brati on schemes such as TRL and LRL).
For exampl e, a ki t currentl y avai l abl e f or VNA cal i brati ons i n the 1 mm coaxi al l i ne
si ze [ 10] uses short-ci rcui ts off set by di ff erent l engths of l i ne to achi eve cal i brati ons
f rom around 50 to 110 GHz.
An i mportant consi derati on when usi ng ai r l i nes i n conj uncti on wi th hi gh ref l ect-
i ng termi nati ons (e.g. as off set short-ci rcui ts) i s that the eff ecti ve el ectri cal l ength of
the off set l i ne i s actual l y doubl e the mechani cal l ength. Thi s i s because the el ectri cal
si gnal has to makea‘ there-and-back’ j ourney al ong thel ength of thel i nehavi ng been
ref l ected back f rom the termi nati on at the end of the l i ne.
9.4.3 Conductor i mper fecti ons
I n the above di scussi on concerni ng usi ng ai r l i nes as standards of characteri sti c
i mpedance and phase change, i t has been assumed that the l i ne’ s conductors are
made up of l ossl ess materi al (i .e. the conductors are perf ectl y conducti ng or, i n other
words, possess i nf i ni te conducti vi ty). However, i n practi ce, conductors are not per-
f ectl y conducti ng and theref ore possess f i ni te conducti vi ty (or l oss). Thi s causes
probl ems f or the el ectri cal properti es of l i nes especi al l y at l ow f requenci es when
the conducti vi ty at the surf ace of the conductors becomes i mportant. Manuf acturers
attempt to mi ni mi se these probl ems by produci ng l i nes made up of hi gh-conducti vi ty
materi al s (such as al l oys of copper) or by appl yi ng a pl ated l ayer of hi gh-conducti vi ty
materi al (such as si l ver) to the surf ace of the conductors i n the coaxi al l i ne.
Even so, as f requency decreases, the f i ni te conducti vi ty of a l i ne causes the prop-
agati ng wave to penetrate the wal l s of the conductors to some extent. The attenuati on
constant associ ated wi th the wave propagati ng i nto the wal l s of the conductors
10
i s
consi derabl y hi gher than f or the wave propagati ng i n the di el ectri c between the con-
ductors, and theref ore the wave attenuates rapi dl y as i t penetrates the wal l s of the
conductors. The reci procal of thi s attenuati on constant i s cal l ed the ski n depth and i s
def i ned as the di stance travel l ed i nto the wal l s of the conductors by the wave bef ore
bei ng attenuated by one neper (≈8.686 dB).
The ski n depth i s gi ven by
δ
s
=

1
πf σµ
(9.4)
Thi s i ndi cates that ski n depth i ncreases as the f requency decreases. The ski n depth
wi l l al so be l arger f or a l i ne wi th a l ower val ue of conducti vi ty. To i l l ustrate thi s,
val ues f or ski n depth are gi ven i n Tabl e 9.6, f or conductors made up of si l ver, brass
and beryl l i um copper (BeCu), wi th assumed conducti vi ti es of 62, 16 and 13 MSm
−1
,
respecti vel y, as these are materi al s of ten used to f abri cate preci si on ai r l i nes. Further
detai l ed di scussi ons on ski n depth eff ects can be f ound i n [ 49] .
10
The wave decays exponenti al l y as i t penetrates the wal l s of the conductors.
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 193
Tabl e 9.6 Ski n depth val ues as a functi on of frequency
Frequency (MHz) Ski n depth (µm)
Si l ver
(σ = 62 MS m
−1
)
Brass
(σ = 16 MS m
−1
)
BeCu
(σ = 13 MS m
−1
)
1 64 126 140
10 20 40 44
100 6 13 14
1000 2 4 4
I t i s general l y onl y necessary to accuratel y determi ne the conducti vi ty of a l i ne’ s
conductors at RF (typi cal l y, between 1 MHz and 1 GHz) i n order to determi ne
the l i ne’ s characteri sti cs. Thi s i s because l i nes are rarel y used as i mpedance stan-
dards bel ow these f requenci es and ski n depth becomes l ess of a probl em at hi gher
f requenci es. Thi s requi rement, however, i s not tri vi al . I f the l i ne’ s consti tuti on i s
known then a val ue may be obtai ned f rom tabl es of physi cal data (e.g. f rom sources
such as [ 50] ). However val ues speci f i ed i n tabl es usual l y ref er to bul k materi al
sampl es. These val ues are of ten di ff erent f rom actual val ues f or the same materi al
af ter i t has been subj ect to manuf acturi ng processes, as i s the case f or ai r l i nes (e.g.
see [ 51,52] ).
An addi ti onal probl em i n determi ni ng a val ue f or the conducti vi ty of a l i ne i s
caused by pl ati ng l ayers that may be appl i ed by manuf acturers ei ther to i ncrease con-
ducti vi ty (e.g. si l ver pl ati ng) or i ncrease l ongevi ty (e.g. gol d ‘ f l ashi ng’ ). Several
studi es have been carri ed out eval uati ng eff ects of pl ati ng on the eff ecti ve con-
ducti vi ty of conductors [ 53–55] but these assume pri or knowl edge of the materi al
of each l ayer and i gnore addi ti onal compl i cati ons caused by i mpuri ti es whi ch wi l l
doubtl essl y bepresent. A recent val i dati on of theoreti cal predi cti onsbased on assumed
conducti vi ty val ues has been perf ormed by compari son wi th preci si on attenuati on
measurements [ 56] .
Fi nal l y, another consi derati on concerni ng the characteri sti cs of a l i ne rel ates to
the non-uni f ormi ty of the conductor’ s surf aces caused ei ther by changes i n the l on-
gi tudi nal di mensi ons of the l i ne [ 57,58] or surf ace roughness [ 59] . I n both cases,
these eff ects wi l l cause the properti es of the l i ne to depart si gni f i cantl y f rom i deal
val ues.
9.5 RF impedance
The measurement of i mpedance, and i mpedance-rel ated quanti ti es, requi res speci al
consi derati on when the measurement f requency i s i n the RF regi on (i .e. f rom 1 MHz
to 1 GHz). Thi si sgeneral l y dueto techni quesused at thehi gher f requenci esbecomi ng
i nappropri ate at these l onger wavel engths. Si mi l arl y, l ow-f requency techni ques, used
194 Mi crowave measurements
L
C
R
G
Fi gure 9.3 Di str i buted ci rcui t model for a secti on of coaxi al l i ne
bel ow 1 MHz, areal so unsui tabl e– f or exampl e, becausetheconnector conf i gurati ons
are of ten di ff erent (e.g. f our-termi nal pai r connecti ons). I nf ormati on concerni ng use
of ai r l i nes and termi nati ons (i .e. one-port devi ces) as i mpedance standards at RF i s
gi ven bel ow – f or exampl e, to cal i brate a VNA. More detai l ed i nf ormati on can be
f ound i n [ 60] .
9.5.1 Ai r l i nes
Ai r l i nes can be used i n conj uncti on wi th termi nati ons as cal i brati on i tems f or ref l ec-
tometers (or VNA one-port cal i brati ons). I n thi s conf i gurati on, one end of the ai r l i ne
i s connected to the i nstrument test port whi l e the other end i s connected to the termi -
nati on. Li nes can al so be used f or VNA two-port cal i brati ons (such as TRL and LRL,
where they act as the Li ne standard) and are connected between the two test ports
duri ng cal i brati on. I n ei ther appl i cati on, the accuracy achi eved usi ng modern VNAs
requi res that the el ectri cal characteri sti cs of the ai r l i nes are def i ned very preci sel y,
as shown i n Fi gure 9.3.
A coaxi al l i ne can be characteri sed usi ng the di stri buted ci rcui t model gi ven i n
Fi gure 9.3, where R, L, G and C are the seri es resi stance and i nductance, and the
shunt conductance and capaci tance, respecti vel y, per uni t l ength of l i ne.
Expressi ons f or the f our l i ne el ements R, L, G and C can be used to obtai n f urther
expressi ons f or two f undamental l i ne parameters – the characteri sti c i mpedance and
the propagati on constant – whi ch are def i ned as f ol l ows:
Z =

(R +j ωL)
(G +j ωC)
(9.5)
γ = α +j β =

(R +j ωL)(G +j ωC) (9.6)
9.5.1.1 L ossless lines
For a l ossl ess l i ne (i .e. wi th conductors of i nf i ni te conducti vi ty) both the seri es
resi stance and the shunt conductance are zero. The seri es i nductance and the shunt
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 195
capaci tance have f i xed val ues i ndependent of f requency and are gi ven by
L
0
=
µl og
e
(b

a)

(9.7)
C
0
=
2πε
l og
e
(b

a)
(9.8)
The characteri sti c i mpedance of the l ossl ess l i ne i s theref ore (as bef ore)
Z
0
=

L
0
C
0
=
1

µ
ε
l og
e

b
a

(9.9)
Thi s shows that the l i ne’ s characteri sti c i mpedance i s a purel y real quanti ty (i .e. con-
tai ni ng no i magi nary component), i s i ndependent of f requency and determi ned by the
rati o (b/a). For exampl e, to achi eve a characteri sti c i mpedance of 50 thi s rati o i s
approxi matel y 2.3. The propagati on constant of the l ossl ess l i ne i s
γ
0
= j β = j ω

L
0
C
0
= j ω

µε = j
ω
v
= j

λ
(rad m
−1
) (9.10)
Thi s shows that the l i ne’ s propagati on constant i s purel y i magi nary (i .e. contai ni ng
no real component) and i s determi ned onl y by the wavel ength (or equi val ent) of the
propagati ng wave. The attenuati on constant i s zero whi ch i s consi stent wi th a l i ne
havi ng no l oss. The phase constant i s a l i near f uncti on of f requency, i ndi cati ng a
non-di spersi ve l i ne.
9.5.1.2 L ossy lines
As menti oned previ ousl y, metal l i c ai r-f i l l ed coaxi al l i nes are not l ossl ess. An i mpor-
tant part of l i ne characteri sati on at RF i s a determi nati on of the eff ects due to l i ne
l oss. An attempt at deal i ng wi th thi s probl em f or RF i mpedance standardi sati on has
been gi ven i n [ 61] . Further work has si nce been presented i n [ 62] , gi vi ng expressi ons
f or al l f our l i ne el ements – R, L, C and G – contai ni ng f requency-dependent terms f or
each el ement. Addi ti onal work has al so sol ved thi s probl em f or f requenci es bel ow
the RF regi on, obtai ni ng exact f i el d equati ons f or l ossy coaxi al l i nes [ 63] .
The expressi ons deri ved i n [ 62] f or the f our l i ne el ements at RF are as f ol l ows:
R = 2ωL
0
d
0

1 −
k
2
a
2
F
0
2

(9.11)
L = L
0

1 +2d
0

1 −
k
2
a
2
F
0
2

(9.12)
G = ωC
0
d
0
k
2
a
2
F
0
(9.13)
C = C
0
(1 +d
0
k
2
a
2
F
0
) (9.14)
196 Mi crowave measurements
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
1 10 100 1000
Frequency (MHz)
Z

c
h
a
n
g
e

f
r
o
m

5
0

(
m

)
Fi gure 9.4 Change i n char acter i sti c i mpedance magni tude for a 7 mm BeCu l i ne
−2500
−2000
−1500
−1000
−500
0
1 10 100 1000
Frequency (MHz)
Z

p
h
a
s
e

(
m
D
e
g
r
e
e
s
)
Fi gure 9.5 Char acter i sti c i mpedance phase angl e for a 7 mm BeCu l i ne
where
F
0
=
(b
2
/a
2
) −1
2 l og
e
(b/a)

(b/a) l og
e
(b/a)
(b/a) +1

1
2

b
a
+1

(9.15)
d
0
=
δ
s
(1 +(b/a))
4b l og
e
(b/a)
(9.16)
These expressi ons can be used to cal cul ate the characteri sti c i mpedance, whi ch, f or
a l i ne wi th f i ni te conducti vi ty, i s cl earl y a compl ex quanti ty, materi al dependent and
a f uncti on of f requency. Fi gures 9.4 and 9.5 i l l ustrate the eff ect on the characteri sti c
i mpedance of a nomi nal 50 7 mm ai r l i ne made up of BeCu wi th an assumed
conducti vi ty of 13 MS m
−1
.
The devi ati on i n the characteri sti c i mpedance causes a probl em f or i mpedance
measurements (such as S-parameters) si nce they are usual l y speci f i ed wi th respect to
thel ossl essl i neval ue(e.g. 50 ). Measurementsmadeon i nstrumentscal i brated wi th
l i nes of di ff erent materi al wi l l vary systemati cal l y si nce the i mpedance parameters
wi l l be measured wi th respect to di ff erent characteri sti c i mpedances. Thi s probl em i s
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 197
0.00
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
1 10 100 1000
Frequency (MHz)
A
t
t
e
n
u
a
t
i
o
n

c
o
n
s
t
a
n
t

(
d
B
/
m
)
Fi gure 9.6 Attenuati on constant for a 7 mm BeCu l i ne
0.0
0.4
0.8
1.2
1.6
1 10 100 1000
Frequency (MHz)
P
h
a
s
e

c
o
n
s
t
a
n
t

c
h
a
n
g
e
(
D
e
g
/
m
)
Fi gure 9.7 Change i n phase constant for a 7 mm BeCu l i ne
overcomeby transf ormi ng f rom theactual l i necharacteri sti c i mpedanceto thedef i ned
l ossl ess val ue (e.g. 50 f or the 50 l i ne si ze). Further i nf ormati on on i mpedance
transf ormati ons of thi s type i s gi ven i n [ 64] .
The above expressi ons can al so be used to cal cul ate the propagati on constant,
whi ch, f or a l i ne wi th f i ni te conducti vi ty has both real and i magi nary parts and i s
non-l i near wi th f requency. Fi gures 9.6 and 9.7 i l l ustrate the eff ect on the propaga-
ti on constant f or a nomi nal 50 7 mm ai r l i ne made up of BeCu. The attenuati on
constant i s non-zero (Fi gure 9.6), whi ch i s consi stent wi th a l i ne contai ni ng l oss. The
i ncrease i n the phase constant f rom i ts l ossl ess val ue i ndi cates that the l i ne’ s el ectri -
cal l ength i s l onger than i ts physi cal l ength – thi s di screpancy varyi ng as a f uncti on
of f requency. The l i ne i s theref ore di spersi ve and i mparts group del ay to broadband
si gnal s.
A compari son of parameters characteri si ng l ossl ess and l ossy l i nes reveal s that
onl y one extra term i s i ncl uded to al l ow f or the l oss eff ects, that i s, the conductor’ s
conducti vi ty. I f the conducti vi ty i s assumed to be i nf i ni te, the ski n depth becomes
zero and the term d
0
i n the expressi ons f or the f our l ossy l i ne el ements vani shes. Thi s
198 Mi crowave measurements
causes R and G to become zero and L and C to revert to thei r l ossl ess val ues (i .e. L
0
and C
0
). The f i ni te conducti vi ty (and hence non-zero ski n depth) of the conductors
i s theref ore sol el y responsi bl e f or departures f rom the l ossl ess l i ne condi ti ons. The
expressi on gi ven earl i er f or ski n depth al so contai ns a 1/

f term i ndi cati ng that ski n
depth i ncreases as f requency decreases, causi ng a subsequent i ncrease i n the val ues
f or al l f our l i ne el ements.
9.5.2 Ter mi nati ons
I t i s of ten very conveni ent to use termi nati ons (i .e. one-port devi ces) as cal i bra-
ti on standards f or ref l ectometers and VNAs. These termi nati ons can be used i n
both one-port and two-port VNA cal i brati on schemes. The termi nati ons can be con-
nected di rectl y to the i nstrument test port or separated by a l ength of ai r l i ne cal l ed
an ‘ off set’ . The ai r l i ne secti on can be an i ntegral part of the i tem or connected
separatel y. The three most common termi nati ons used f or thi s purpose are short-
ci rcui ts, open-ci rcui ts and near-matched termi nati ons (i ncl udi ng so-cal l ed sl i di ng
l oads). Mi smatched termi nati ons (and capaci tors) can al so be used, parti cul arl y at
l ower f requenci es.
9.5.2.1 Shor t-cir cuits
A coaxi al l i ne short-ci rcui t i s si mpl y a f l at metal l i c di sc connected normal l y to the
l i ne’ s centre and outer conductors. I ts radi us must exceed the i nternal radi us of
the outer conductor and be of suff i ci ent thi ckness to f orm an eff ecti ve shi el d f or
the el ectromagneti c wave propagati ng i n the l i ne. The di sc i s usual l y made up of a
si mi l ar materi al as the l i ne’ s conductors. Short-ci rcui ts can be connected di rectl y to
an i nstrument test port or vi a a l ength of l i ne produci ng an off set short-ci rcui t.
Short-ci rcui ts provi de a good approxi mati on to the l ossl ess condi ti on at RF
(i .e. wi th both seri es resi stance and i nducti ve reactance bei ng cl ose to zero). Thi s
produces a ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent wi th real and i magi nary parts of −1 and 0, respec-
ti vel y. Loss due to ski n depth and surf ace f i ni sh of the di sc can be consi dered f or
hi gh-preci si on metrol ogy appl i cati ons. Such l osses have been consi dered i n [ 65] by
anal ysi ng the eff ects of a TEM wave i nci dent normal l y to a conducti ng pl ane.
9.5.2.2 Open-cir cuits
I n pri nci pl e, a coaxi al open-ci rcui t i s produced by havi ng nothi ng connected to the
i nstrument test port. However, thi sproducesapoorl y def i ned standard f or two reasons:
(1) i t wi l l radi ate energy produci ng a ref l ected si gnal dependent on obstacl es i n the
vi ci ni ty of the test port and (2) the test port connector’ s mati ng mechani sm aff ects
the establ i shed measurement ref erence pl ane whi ch l i mi ts accurate characteri sati on
as a standard.
The f i rst of these probl ems can be overcome by extendi ng the l i ne’ s outer con-
ductor suff i ci entl y beyond the posi ti on of the open-ci rcui ted centre conductor so that
the evanescent radi ati ng f i el d decays to zero wi thi n the outer conductor shi el d – the
extended outer conductor acti ng asan eff ecti vel y i nf i ni tel ength of ci rcul ar wavegui de
bel ow cut-off .
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 199
Thesecond probl em can beovercomeei ther by depressi ng themati ng mechani sm
usi ng a di el ectri c pl ug or attachi ng a l ength of l i ne to the centre conductor, termi nated
i n an abrupt truncati on. The di el ectri c pl ug techni que i s used as a standard wi th
numerous VNA cal i brati on ki ts. The abruptl y truncated l i ne techni que has been used
to real i se pri mary nati onal i mpedance standards [ 47,66] . I n both cases, the open-
ci rcui t behaves as a f requency-dependent ‘ f ri ngi ng’ capaci tance. Cal cul ati ons f or the
capaci tance of an abruptl y truncated coaxi al l i ne can be f ound i n the l i terature (i .e.
[ 67–69] ). These val ues have been veri f i ed f or RF i mpedance appl i cati ons usi ng a
computer-i ntensi ve equi val ent ci rcui t techni que [ 70] .
Coaxi al open-ci rcui ts have a ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of nomi nal l y uni ty magni tude
and aphaseangl edependent on thef ri ngi ng capaci tanceand thel ength of any l i neused
to f abri cate the devi ce. They can theref ore be very usef ul as standards f or cal i brati ng
ref l ectometers and VNAs.
9.5.2.3 Near-matched ter minations
A l ow-ref l ecti on (or near-matched) termi nati on can beproduced by mounti ng acyl i n-
dri cal thi n-f i l m resi sti ve l oad i n the centre conductor of a l i ne wi th a tractori al l y
shaped outer conductor. A parabol i c transi ti on between the conventi onal coaxi al l i ne
and the tractori al secti on transf orms i nci dent pl ane wave f ronts to spheri cal wave
f ronts requi red to propagate i n the tractori al secti on of the termi nati on. Thi s produces
near-uni f orm power di ssi pati on al ong the l ength of the resi sti ve l oad el ement wi th
mi ni mal f requency dependence. Thi s desi gn of l ow ref l ecti ng termi nati on has been
di scussed i n [ 71] .
Low-ref l ecti on termi nati ons are usual l y assumed to have zero ref l ecti on dur-
i ng a ref l ectometer, or VNA, cal i brati on (and are theref ore of ten cal l ed ‘ matched’
l oads). Al ternati vel y, l ow ref l ecti ng l oad el ements can be used to ‘ synthesi se’
the perf ormance of a matched termi nati on, usi ng sl i di ng l oad techni ques. Thi s i s
achi eved by measuri ng the response of a l oad el ement at several posi ti ons al ong a
vari abl e l ength of preci si on ai r l i ne. The characteri sti cs of a ‘ perf ectl y’ matched
termi nati on can then be computed by f i tti ng a ci rcl e to the measured ref l ecti on
val ues (the centre of the f i tted ci rcl e bei ng the poi nt i n the compl ex ref l ecti on
coeff i ci ent pl ane correspondi ng to a perf ect match, i .e. zero ref l ecti on). However,
probl ems due to i mperf ecti ons i n the ai r l i ne secti on and i nadequate phase di f -
f erences produced by real i sabl e l engths of ai r l i ne make thi s techni que of l i mi ted
use at RF.
9.5.2.4 M ismatched ter minations
I n pri nci pl e, mi smatched termi nati ons (and capaci tors) can be very usef ul devi ces f or
provi di ng val uesof ref l ecti on that aresi gni f i cantl y di ff erent f romthoseachi eved usi ng
short-ci rcui t, open-ci rcui t and near-matched termi nati ons. Such ref l ecti on val ues
coul d be used i n certai n cal i brati on appl i cati ons (e.g. as al ternati ves to the short-
open-l oad val ues used duri ng conventi onal VNA cal i brati on schemes). However,
devi ces used f or cal i brati on (i .e. standards) are usual l y assumed to have ‘ known’
200 Mi crowave measurements
val ues based on ei ther a cal cul ated and/or measured perf ormance
11
. I n general , i t i s
not possi bl e to cal cul ate, to any degree of accuracy, the perf ormance of a mi smatched
termi nati on. I ndeed, the same can be sai d of near-matched termi nati ons where an
assumed val ue (i .e. zero) i s of ten used f or cal i brati on purposes.
There have been several attempts recentl y at characteri si ng near-matched termi -
nati ons usi ng measurement data at DC and RF. Some work i n the 1990s [ 72] used
equi val ent ci rcui t model s f or characteri si ng these devi ces at l ower RF (300 kHz
to 30 MHz) based on measurement data at hi gher RF. More recent work [ 73,74] has
concentrated on i mpl ementi ng i nterpol ati on schemesf or characteri si ng thesedevi ces.
The i nterpol ati on schemes have the advantage that very f ew assumpti ons need to be
made concerni ng the characteri sti cs of the devi ce. I n pri nci pl e, such schemes can be
extended to characteri se ‘ any’ devi ce (e.g. mi smatch termi nati ons) wi thout requi ri ng
detai l ed knowl edge concerni ng the physi cal (i .e. cal cul abl e) properti es of the devi ce.
Thi si sl eadi ng to thedevel opment of general i sed techni quesf or VNA cal i brati ons[ 75]
that do not need to rel y on the cl assi cal assumpti ons i mpl i ci t i n the short-open-l oad
cal i brati on schemes. Such techni ques are expected to greatl y enhance our knowl edge
of cal i brati on devi ces and i nstruments used tradi ti onal l y to perf orm RF i mpedance
measurements.
9.6 Futur e developments
Coaxi al connectorsand coaxi al transmi ssi on l i nesconti nueto pl ay acruci al rol ei n the
real i sati on of themaj ori ty of measurementsmadeat radi o and mi crowavef requenci es.
Thi s chapter has presented some of the i mportant i ssues rel ati ng to the vari ous types
of coaxi al connector currentl y avai l abl e f or maki ng hi gh-preci si on measurements.
Even so, the connector i tsel f can sti l l be the l i mi ti ng f actor f or the accuracy achi eved
by today’ s measurement systems.
Si mi l arl y, coaxi al ai r l i nes provi de very usef ul standard ref erence artef acts f or
real i si ng i mpedance quanti ti es f or these connector types and the associ ated trans-
mi ssi on l i nes. These devi ces are si mpl e structures wi th wel l -def i ned el ectromagneti c
properti es. But once agai n, the preci si on at whi ch today’ s i nstruments can operate
means that these standards wi l l need to be def i ned to an even greater l evel of preci -
si on. Thi s i s parti cul arl y trueat l ower RF (and, i ndeed, at extremel y hi gh f requenci es)
where the l i ne’ s characteri sti cs depart substanti al l y f rom thei r i deal i sed val ues.
I t i sunl i kel y that f uturerequi rementsf or thesetechnol ogi eswi l l bel essdemandi ng
than they are at present. I ndeed, i t can be expected that most measurement appl i ca-
ti ons wi l l requi re broader bandwi dths, i mproved el ectri cal capabi l i ti es (i ncl udi ng
repeatabi l i ty, i nserti on l oss and l ower passi ve i nter-modul ati on) and hi gher l evel s
of accuracy. These demands are l i kel y to conti nue to dri ve devel opments i n preci -
si on coaxi al connectors, ai r l i nes and other i mpedance standards f or the f oreseeabl e
f uture.
11
For exampl e, the characteri sti cs of unsupported ai r l i nes can be cal cul ated based on the measured
val ues of the di ameters of the l i ne’ s conductors.
Connector s, ai r l i nes and RF i mpedance 201
Appendix: 7/16 connector s
The 7/16 connector was devel oped duri ng the 1960s pri mari l y f or hi gh-perf ormance
mi l i tary appl i cati ons. I n recent years, i t has become a popul ar choi ce f or certai n
appl i cati ons i n the mobi l e communi cati ons i ndustry, such as i n base stati ons and
antenna f eed l i nes. Thi s i s due to i ts sui tabi l i ty f or uses i nvol vi ng hi gh power l evel s,
l ow recei ver noi se l evel s and where there are requi rements f or l ow passi ve i nter-
modul ati on (PI M).
The 7/16 connector i s a sexed connector wi th a nomi nal characteri sti c i mpedance
of 50 . I t i s avai l abl e i n both GPC and LPC versi ons – LPCs are f ound on 7/16
unsupported ai r l i nes used i n VNA cal i brati on ki ts to real i se cal i brati on schemes such
as TRL and LRL. Termi nati ons are al so avai l abl e whi ch can be used f or Short-Open-
Load cal i brati on schemes. The nomi nal di ameters of the centre and outer conductors
are7 and 16 mm, respecti vel y, and thi syi el dsarecommended usabl eupper f requency
l i mi t of approxi matel y 7.5 GHz.
Pri mary nati onal standards of i mpedance f or 7/16 connectors have recentl y been
i ntroduced at the UK’ s Nati onal Physi cal Laboratory.
Symbols
a = Radi us of coaxi al l i ne centre conductor (m).
α = Attenuati on constant (Np m
−1
).
b = Radi us of coaxi al l i ne outer conductor (m).
β = Phase constant (rad m
−1
).
γ = Propagati on constant f or coaxi al l i ne contai ni ng conductor l oss. Thi s i s
general l y a compl ex-val ued quanti ty (m
−1
).
γ
0
= Propagati on constant of l ossl ess coaxi al l i ne. Thi s i s an i magi nary-val ued
quanti ty (m
−1
).
C = Shunt capaci tance, per uni t l ength, of coaxi al l i ne i ncl udi ng conductor l oss
(F m
−1
).
C
0
= Shunt capaci tance, per uni t l ength, of l ossl ess coaxi al l i ne (F m
−1
).
c = Speed of l i ght i n vacuum (def i ned exactl y as 299,792,458 m s
−1
).
δ
s
= Ski n depth of ai r l i ne conductors (m).
φ = Phase change (i n degrees or radi ans) i ntroduced by a l ength of l i ne, l .
e = 2.718281828…(base of Naperi an l ogari thms).
ε = Permi tti vi ty, ε = ε
0
ε
r
(F m
−1
).
ε
r
= Rel ati ve permi tti vi ty of an ai r l i ne’ s di el ectri c (e.g. ε
r
= 1.000649 f or
‘ standard’ ai r at 23

C, 50 per cent rel ati ve humi di ty and 1013.25 hPa
atmospheri c pressure).
ε
0
= Permi tti vi ty of f ree space (def i ned exactl y as
(c
2
µ
0
)
−1
= 8.854187817 . . . ×10
−12
F m
−1
).
f = Frequency (Hz).
f
c
= Cut-off f requency f or the TEM mode (Hz).
202 Mi crowave measurements
G = Shunt conductance, per uni t l ength, f or a coaxi al l i ne i ncl udi ng conductor
l oss (S m
−1
).
j =

−1.
k = Angul ar wave number, k = 2π/λ (rad m
−1
).
l = Length of ai r l i ne (m).
L = Seri es i nductance, per uni t l ength, f or a coaxi al l i ne i ncl udi ng conductor
l oss (H m
−1
).
L
0
= Seri es i nductance, per uni t l ength, f or a l ossl ess coaxi al l i ne (H m
−1
).
λ = Wavel ength = v/f (m).
λ
c
= Cut-off wavel ength f or the TEM mode (m).
µ = Permeabi l i ty, µ = µ
0
µ
r
(H m
−1
).
µ
r
= Rel ati ve permeabi l i ty of an ai r l i ne’ s di el ectri c (e.g. µ
r
= 1 f or ‘ standard’
ai r, to si x deci mal pl aces).
µ
0
= Permeabi l i ty of f ree space (def i ned exactl y as 4π ×10
−7
H m
−1
).
π = 3.141592653. . .
R = Seri es resi stance, per uni t l ength, f or a coaxi al l i ne i ncl udi ng conductor
l oss ( m
−1
).
σ = Conducti vi ty of an ai r l i ne’ s conductors (S m
−1
).
v = Speed of the el ectromagneti c wave i n the ai r l i ne [ v = c/

ε
r
(m s
−1
)] .
ω = Angul ar f requency, ω = 2πf (rad s
−1
).
Z = Characteri sti c i mpedance of a coaxi al l i ne contai ni ng conductor l oss.
Thi s i s general l y a compl ex-val ued quanti ty ().
Z
0
= Characteri sti c i mpedance of a coaxi al l i ne wi th l ossl ess conductors. Thi s
i s a real -val ued quanti ty ().
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2001, pp. 1720–25
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ci si on ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent measurements at i ntermedi ate f requenci es. Part 2:
practi cal i mpl ementati on’ , I MTC’ 2001 Proceedi ngs of the 18th I EEE I nstr umen-
tati on and Measurement Technol ogy Conference, Budapest, Hungary, 21–23 May
2001, pp. 1731–35
75 Morgan, A. G., Ri dl er, N. M., and Sal ter, M. J.: ‘ General i sed cal i brati on schemes
f or RF vector network anal ysers’ , I MTC’ 2002 Proceedi ngs of the 18th I EEE
I nstr umentati on and Measurement Technol ogy Conference, Anchorage, AL,
21–23 May 2002
Chapter 10
M icr owave networ k analyser s
Roger D. Pol l ard
10.1 I ntr oduction
Thi s chapter i s i ntended to cover the basi c pri nci pl es of measuri ng mi crowave
networks by usi ng a network anal yser. The obj ecti ves are to di scuss the ki nd of
measurements whi ch can be made and the maj or components i n a network anal yser
coveri ng the basi c bl ock di agram, the el ements and the advantages and di sadvan-
tages of di ff erent hardware approaches. Materi al on error correcti on i s the subj ect of
another chapter. The f undamental concept of mi crowave network anal ysi s i nvol ves
i nci dent, ref l ected and transmi tted waves travel l i ng al ong a transmi ssi on l i ne. I t must
be appreci ated, at the outset, that measurement i n terms of i mpedance, whi ch i s
the rati o of vol tage to current, i mpl i es knowl edge of the characteri sti c i mpedance
Z
0
whi ch descri bes the mode of propagati on i n the transmi ssi on l i ne. Mi crowave
network anal ysi s i s concerned wi th measuri ng accuratel y the i nci dent, ref l ected and
transmi tted si gnal s associ ated wi th a l i near component i n a transmi ssi on l i ne envi ron-
ment. I t i s i mportant to appreci ate that the same quanti ti es may be def i ned as di ff erent
val ues, f or exampl e, return l oss, ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent, VSWR, S
11
, i mpedance and
admi ttanceareal l waysof descri bi ng ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent, and, si mi l arl y, gai n, i nser-
ti on l oss, transmi ssi on, group del ay and i nserti on phase are al l ways of descri bi ng
transmi ssi on coeff i ci ent.
I t i s al so necessary to understand the f undamental di ff erence between a network
anal yser and aspectrum anal yser. Network anal ysersareused to measurecomponents,
devi ces and ci rcui ts, but a network anal yser i s al ways l ooki ng at a known si gnal i n
terms of f requency and i s descri bed as a sti mul us–response system. Wi th a network
anal yser, f or exampl e, i t i s very hard to get an accurate trace on the di spl ay, f or
reasons whi ch wi l l be expl ai ned l ater, but very easy to i nterpret the resul ts usi ng
vector error correcti on. A network anal yser can provi de much hi gher accuracy than a
spectrum anal yser. Spectrum anal ysers on the other hand are used to measure si gnal
208 Mi crowave measurements
characteri sti cson unknown si gnal s. They areusual l y asi ngl echannel recei ver wi thout
asourceand haveamuch wi der rangeof I F bandwi dths than anetwork anal yser. Wi th
a spectrum anal yser i t i s easy to get a trace on the di spl ay, but i nterpreti ng the resul ts
can of ten be much more di ff i cul t than wi th a network anal yser.
10.2 Refer ence plane
The measurements under consi derati on are those whi ch characteri se travel l i ng waves
on a uni f orm transmi ssi on l i ne and the (usual l y vol tage) rati os whi ch are detected are
f uncti ons of posi ti on on the l i nes. Furthermore, any change i n the cross secti on of the
transmi ssi on l i ne wi l l gi ve ri se to a ref l ecti on and the l aunch of evanescent modes. I t
i s theref ore necessary to be abl e to speci f y a reference pl ane whi ch i s appropri atel y
l ocated i n a suff i ci ent l ength of uni f orm transmi ssi on l i ne. The ref erence pl ane of ten,
but not necessari l y, i s the pl ane of contact of the outer conductors of a mati ng pai r of
coaxi al connectors or a pai r of wavegui de f l anges.
10.2.1 El ements of a mi crowave networ k anal yser
Fi gure10.1 showsthegeneral bl ock di agram of anetwork anal yser showi ng themaj or
si gnal processi ng parts.
Reflected
(A)
Transmitted
(B)
Incident
(R)
Signal
separation
Source
Reflected
DUT
Processor/display
Receiver/detector
Fi gure 10.1 Gener al bl ock di agr am of a networ k anal yser
Mi crowave networ k anal yser s 209
Main signal
Coupled signal
6 dB
50 Ω
50 Ω
6 dB
Fi gure 10.2 Separ ati on of reference si gnal usi ng power spl i tter or di recti onal
coupl er
Four el ements are present: (1) source to provi de a sti mul us, (2) si gnal separati on
devi ces, (3) a recei ver f or detecti ng the si gnal s, and (4) a processor and di spl ay f or
cal cul ati ng and showi ng the resul ts.
10.2.1.1 Sour ce
The si gnal source suppl i es the sti mul us f or the test system and can ei ther sweep the
f requency of the source or i ts power l evel . Tradi ti onal l y, most network anal ysers had
a separate source but nowadays the source i s of ten a bui l t-i n part of the i nstrument.
The source may be ei ther a vol tage-control l ed osci l l ator or a synthesi sed sweeper.
10.2.1.2 Signal separ ation
Thi si snormal l y descri bed asthetest set, whi ch can beaseparatebox or i ntegrated i nto
a network anal yser. The si gnal separati on hardware must provi de two f uncti ons. The
f i rst i sto separateaporti on of thei nci dent si gnal to provi detheref erencesi gnal l i ng f or
rati oi ng. Thi s can be done wi th a power spl i tter or a di recti onal coupl er (Fi gure 10.2).
Power spl i tters are usual l y resi sti ve, non-di recti onal devi ces and can be very
broadband; the trade-off i s that they have some l oss (usual l y 6 dB or more) i n each
port. Di recti onal coupl ers can be bui l t to have very l ow l oss through the mai n arm
and off er good i sol ati on and di recti vi ty, but i t i s di ff i cul t to make them operate at very
l ow f requenci es.
Thesecond f uncti on i sto separatethei nci dent and ref l ected travel l i ng wavesat the
i nput to thedevi ceunder test (DUT). Di recti onal coupl ers arei deal becausethey have
the necessary di recti onal properti es, l ow l oss i n the mai n arm and good reverse i sol a-
ti on. However, owi ng to thedi ff i cul ty of maki ng very broadband coupl ers, di recti onal
bri dges are of ten used. Bri dges can operate over a very wi de range of f requency but
exhi bi t morel ossto thetransmi tted si gnal resul ti ng i n l esspower del i vered to theDUT.
A di recti onal coupl er i sadevi cethat separatesacomponent of thesi gnal travel l i ng
i n one di recti on onl y. I n the di agrams i n Fi gure 10.3, the si gnal f l owi ng through the
mai n arm i s shown as a sol i d l i ne, the coupl ed si gnal as a dotted l i ne. Note that the
f ourth port of the coupl er i s termi nated wi th a matched l oad. The si gnal appeari ng at
the coupl ed port i s a f racti on of the i nput si gnal ; thi s f racti on i s the coupl i ng factor .
I n the exampl e i n Fi gure 10.3, the coupl i ng f actor i s 20 dB and theref ore when 1 mW
(0 dBm) i s suppl i ed to the i nput port, 0.01 mW (−20 dBm) wi l l appear at the coupl ed
210 Mi crowave measurements
Z
0
Source
0 dBm
1 mW
Coupling reverse
−0.046 dBm
0.99 mW
−20 dBm
0.01 mW
Coupling, forward
Z
0
Source
0 dBm
1 mW
−0.046 dBm
0.99 mW
−50 dBm
0.00001 mW
This is an error signal
during measurements
Fi gure 10.3 Di recti onal coupl er : coupl i ng and di recti vi ty
port. Note that as a resul t there i s a smal l l oss through the mai n arm. The coupl i ng
f actor i s rarel y constant wi th f requency and the f requency response can become a
si gni f i cant measurement error term.
I n an i deal coupl er, therewi l l beno component of asi gnal travel l i ng i n thereverse
di recti on at the coupl ed port, but i n practi ce a coupl er has f i ni te i sol ati on and some
energy wi l l l eak i n the reverse di recti on. I n the exampl e i n Fi gure 10.3, the coupl er
i s reversed and the i sol ati on measured at −50 dB.
The most i mportant si ngl e parameter f or a di recti onal coupl er i s i ts di recti vi ty,
whi ch i s a measure of a coupl er’ s abi l i ty to separate si gnal s f l owi ng i n opposi te
di recti ons. I t can be thought of as the dynami c range f or ref l ecti on measurements.
By def i ni ti on, di recti vi ty i s the rati o between the reverse coupl i ng f actor (i sol ati on)
and the f orward coupl i ng f actor. I n the exampl e of Fi gure 10.3, the coupl er has a
di recti vi ty of 30 dB. Duri ng a ref l ecti on measurement the error si gnal can be, at best,
the di recti vi ty bel ow the desi red si gnal . The better the match of the DUT the greater
measurement error thedi recti vi ty error wi l l cause. Di recti vi ty error i s themai n reason
that wi l l be seen as a l arge ri ppl e pattern i n many measurements of return l oss. At the
peak of the ri ppl e, di recti vi ty i s added i n phase wi th the si gnal ref l ected f rom the
devi ce. I n other cases the di recti vi ty wi l l cancel the DUT ref l ecti on, resul ti ng i n a
sharp di p i n the response (Fi gure 10.4).
The di recti onal bri dge i s si mi l ar i n operati on to the Wheatstone bri dge. I f al l f our
arms have equal resi stance and 50 i s connected to the test port then a vol tage nul l
wi l l be measured at the detector and the bri dge i s bal anced. I f the l oad at the test
port i s not 50 then the vol tage across the detector i s proporti onal to the mi smatch
presented by the DUT. I f both magni tude and phase are measured at the detector,
the compl ex i mpedance of the test port can be cal cul ated. A bri dge al so has an
Mi crowave networ k anal yser s 211
Data Max
Add in phase
D
e
v
i
c
e
D
i
r
e
c
t
i
v
i
t
y
R
e
t
u
r
n

l
o
s
s
Frequency
0
30
60
DUT RL = 40 dB
Cancel ∴ Data ≈ 0
D
e
v
i
c
e
Directivity
Data = Vector sum
D
i
r
e
c
t
i
v
i
t
y D
e
v
i
c
e
Data Min
Fi gure 10.4 Retur n l oss r i ppl e caused by coupl er di recti vi ty
Detector
5
0

5
0

5
0

Test port
50Ω
50 Ω

50Ω
source
50Ω
standard
50Ω
50Ω
detector
Γ
Fi gure 10.5 Di recti onal br i dge: theoreti cal and actual ci rcui t
equi val ent di recti vi ty that i s the rati o between the best bal ance measuri ng a perf ect
l oad and the worst bal ance measuri ng an open ci rcui t or a short ci rcui t. The eff ect of
bri dge di recti vi ty on measurement accuracy i s exactl y the same as f or a di recti onal
coupl er. Thebasi c arrangement of adi recti onal bri dgei sshown i n Fi gure10.5. Noti ce
that i n a mi crowave system there i s general l y a requi rement that one termi nal of each
component i s connectabl e to ground; the key theref ore to desi gni ng a successf ul
broadband di recti onal bri dge to operate at mi crowave f requenci es i s the provi si on of
a sui tabl e bal un as shown i n Fi gure 10.5.
10.2.1.3 Detector s and r eceiver s
There are two basi c ways of provi di ng detecti on i n network anal ysers – di ode detec-
tors, whi ch si mpl y convert theRF to aproporti onal DCl evel , or tuned recei vers. Di ode
212 Mi crowave measurements
Detector
DUT
Bridge
Termination
Reflection
RF R A B
Transmission
Detector
Detector
RF R A B
DUT
Fi gure 10.6 Scal ar networ k anal yser measurements usi ng di ode detector s
detecti on i s i nherentl y scal ar and l oses phase i nf ormati on. The mai n advantages of
di ode detecti on are l ow cost and broadband f requency range whi ch i s a si gni f i cant
benef i t when measuri ng f requency transl ati ng devi ces (Fi gure 10.6). Off set agai nst
thi s i s the l i mi ted sensi ti vi ty and dynami c range and suscepti bi l i ty to source harmon-
i cs and spuri ous si gnal s. Dri f t i n a di ode detector, a maj or source of measurement
error, can be el i mi nated by the use of AC detecti on that al so reduces noi se and sus-
cepti bi l i ty to unwanted si gnal s. However, the necessary modul ati on of the RF si gnal
can aff ect the measurements of some devi ces (e.g. ampl i f i ers wi th AGC).
The tuned recei ver uses a l ocal osci l l ator (LO) to mi x the RF down to an i nter-
medi ate f requency (I F). The LO i s l ocked ei ther to the RF or to the I F so that the
recei ver i n the network anal yser i s al ways correctl y tuned to the RF present at the
i nput (Fi gure 10.7). The I F si gnal i s f i l tered, whi ch narrows the recei ver bandwi dth,
al l ows l arge amounts of gai n and greatl y i mproves the sensi ti vi ty and the dynami c
range. A modern network anal yser uses an anal ogue-to-di gi tal converter (ADC) and
di gi tal si gnal processi ng to extract the magni tude and phase i nf ormati on f rom the I F
si gnal .
Tuned recei vers not onl y provi de the best sensi ti vi ty and dynami c range but al so
provi de harmoni c and spuri ous si gnal rej ecti on. The narrow band I F f i l ter produces
a consi derabl y l ower noi se f l oor resul ti ng i n si gni f i cant i mprovement i n sensi ti vi ty
and dynami c range. For exampl e, a mi crowave network anal yser mi ght have a 3 KHz
I F bandwi dth and an achi evabl e dynami c range, better than 100 dB. The dynami c
range can be i mproved by i ncreasi ng the i nput power by decreasi ng the I F bandwi dth
Mi crowave networ k anal yser s 213
IF filter
IF = F
LO
± F
RF
LO
RF
ADC / DSP
Fi gure 10.7 Downconver ti ng tuned recei ver
or by averagi ng. Thi s provi des a trade-off between noi se f l oor and measurement
speed. Averagi ng reduces the noi se f l oor of the network anal yser because compl ex
data are bei ng averaged. Wi thout phase i nf ormati on, as i n, f or exampl e, a spectrum
anal yser, averagi ng onl y reducesthenoi seampl i tudeand doesnot i mprovesensi ti vi ty.
Al so because the RF si gnal i s downconverted and f i l tered bef ore i t i s measured, any
harmoni cs associ ated wi th the source appear at f requenci es outsi de the I F bandwi dth
and are removed. Thi s el i mi nates response to harmoni cs and spuri ous si gnal s and
resul ts i n i ncreased dynami c range.
A tuned recei ver can be i mpl emented wi th a mi xer or a sampl er based f ront-end.
I t i s of ten cheaper and easi er to make wi de band f ront-ends usi ng sampl ers i nstead of
mi xers. The sampl er uses di odes to sampl e very short ti me sl i ces of the i ncomi ng RF
si gnal . Conceptual l y the sampl er can be thought of as a mi xer wi th an i nternal pul se
generator. The pul se generator creates a broadband f requency spectrum (of ten known
as a ‘ comb’ ) composed of harmoni cs of a l ocal osci l l ator. The RF si gnal mi xes wi th
one of the spectral l i nes (or ‘ comb-tooth’ ) to produce the desi red I F.
Fi gure 10.8 shows the bl ock di agram of a sampl er system. The l ocal osci l l ator i s
tuneabl e and dri ves a harmoni c generator. The output f rom the harmoni c generator
dri ves a di ode that can be thought of si mpl y as a swi tch. I n terms of f requency
behavi our the output f rom the harmoni c generator provi des a comb of harmoni cs
of the l ocal osci l l ator and by tuni ng the l ocal osci l l ator to the ri ght f requency, the
di ff erence between the i ncomi ng RF and one of the comb-teeth wi l l be exactl y the I F
f requency whi ch can pass through the I F f i l ter. A phase l ock l oop wi l l ensure that the
l ocal osci l l ator i s al ways correctl y tuned as the source f requency changes. I n most
modern desi gns the l ocal osci l l ator i s pre-tuned to ensure that the same comb-tooth of
the l ocal osci l l ator i s used every ti me that the same f requency i s i nput. Compared to
a mi xer-based network anal yser the LO i n a sampl er-based f ront-end covers a much
smal l er f requency range and a broadband mi xer i s no l onger needed. The trade-off
i s that the phase l ock al gori thms f or l ocki ng the vari ous comb-teeth are much more
compl ex. Sampl er based f ront-ends al so have a somewhat l ower dynami c range than
those based on mi xers and f undamental l ocal osci l l ators because the addi ti onal noi se
i s converted i nto the I F f rom al l of the comb-teeth. Nonethel ess, network anal ysers
214 Mi crowave measurements
Source
IF
filter
IF filter
IF = nf
LO
−f
RF
LO harmonics
Frequency
IF
output
Reference
oscillator
LO
Harmonic
generator
Fi gure 10.8 Pr i nci pl e of oper ati on of a sampl i ng recei ver i n a networ k anal yser
wi th narrow band detecti on based on sampl ers sti l l have f ar greater dynami c range
than anal ysers based on di ode detecti on. Dynami c range i s usual l y def i ned as the
maxi mum power the recei ver can measure accuratel y mi nus the recei ver noi se f l oor.
There are many appl i cati ons requi ri ng l arge dynami c range, the most common bei ng
f i l ter appl i cati ons. Al so the presence of harmoni cs f rom the source may create a f al se
response whi ch wi l l be removed by a tuned recei ver.
10.3 Networ k analyser block diagr am
Fi gure 10.9 shows the general schemati c of an S-parameter measurement system
whi l st Fi gure 10.10 i s the bl ock di agram of a modern mi crowave vector network
anal yser.
The schemati c di agram shown i n Fi gure 10.10 i s a RF system whi ch has an
i ntegrated source and a tuned recei ver based on sampl ers (l abel l ed S). The system
can be conf i gured wi th a three-channel or f our-channel recei ver and consequentl y the
test set can be ei ther a transmi ssi on/ref l ecti on type or capabl e of f ul l S-parameters.
There are two basi c types of test set that are used wi th network anal ysers f or
transmi ssi on/ref l ecti on (TR) test sets. The RF power al ways comes out of test port
1 and test port 2 i s al ways connected to a recei ver. To measure reverse transmi ssi on
Mi crowave networ k anal yser s 215
BPF
Proc
display
A/ D
RF
source
LO
source
a
0
b
0
b
3
a
3
DUT
a
2
a
1
b
1
b
2
Cable Cable
IF
IF
IF
IF
IF
Port - 2 Port - 1
Fi gure 10.9 Schemati c of an S-par ameter measurement system
S
S
S
4 kHz
4 kHz
4 kHz
Test
set
RF
300 kHz
to
3 GHz
Reference
Synthesiser
15 MHz to 60 MHz
MUX
996 kHz
Source Receiver
ADC CPU Display
Digital
control
DUT

detector
Test
set
A
B
R
Phase
lock
Fi gure 10.10 Bl ock di agr am of an RF networ k anal yser
216 Mi crowave measurements
or output ref l ecti on the devi ce must be di sconnected, turned around and reconnected
agai n. TR-based network anal ysers off er onl y response and one-port cal i brati on so
measurement accuracy i snot asgood astheonethat can beachi eved usi ng S-parameter
test sets. An S-parameter test set al l ows both f orward and reverse measurements
wi thout reconnecti on and al l ows characteri sati on of al l f our S-parameters. RF power
can come out of ei ther test port 1 or test port 2 and ei ther test port can be connected to
a recei ver. The i nternal s rearrangement i s carri ed out by swi tches i nsi de the test set.
These are usual l y sol i d-state swi tches whi ch are f ast and do not wear out. Al though i t
i s possi bl e to conf i gure an S-parameter test set wi th onl y three sampl ers or mi xers the
archi tectureprovi desf ewer choi cesf or cal i brati on asdoesaf our recei ver archi tecture.
The di spl ay and processor secti on al l ows i n current systems i s usual l y an i n-bui l t,
f ul l -f eatured PC that not onl y the ref l ecti on and transmi ssi on data to be f ormatted i n
many ways to al l ow f or easy di spl ay, compari son and i nterpretati on but al so supports
al gori thms f or cal i brati on, data storage and vari ous other f eatures.
Fur ther r eading
Warner, F. L.: ‘ Mi crowave vector network anal ysers’ i n Bai l ey, A. E. (ed.),
Mi crowaveMeasurements, 2nd edn (Peter Peregri nusLtd, London, 1989), Chapter 11
Chapter 11
RFI C and M M I C measur ement techniques
Stepan Lucyszyn
11.1 I ntr oduction
Al l el ectroni c sub-systems are made up of devi ces and networks. I n order to si mu-
l ate the overal l perf ormance of a sub-system under devel opment, al l the components
that make up the sub-system must be accuratel y characteri sed. To thi s end, preci si on
measurement techni ques must be empl oyed at component l evel . Not onl y do preci -
si on measurements enabl e a manuf acturer to check whether devi ces are wi thi n thei r
target speci f i cati ons, and to moni tor vari ati ons i n parameter tol erances due to process
vari ati ons, they al so al l ow more accurate empi ri cal model s to be extracted f rom the
measurementsand hel p new model l i ng techni questo beval i dated. Al so, theoperati on
and perf ormance of some experi mental devi ces can of ten onl y be understood f rom
accurate measurements and subsequent model l i ng. Conversel y, poor measurements
coul d resul t i n the needl ess, and theref ore expensi ve, redesi gn of hi gh-perf ormance
components or sub-systems.
Devi ces and networks are tradi ti onal l y characteri sed usi ng Z, Y or h-parameters.
To measure these parameters di rectl y, i deal open and short ci rcui t termi nati ons are
requi red. These i mpedances can be easi l y real i sed at l ow f requenci es. However, at
mi crowave f requenci es such i mpedances can onl y be achi eved over narrow band-
wi dths (when tuned ci rcui ts are empl oyed) and can al so resul t i n ci rcui ts that are
condi ti onal l y stabl e (when embedded wi thi n a ‘ matched l oad’ ref erence i mpedance
envi ronment) becomi ng unstabl e. Fortunatel y, scatteri ng- (or S)- parameters can
be determi ned at any f requency. To perf orm such measurements, the devi ce under
test (DUT) i s termi nated wi th matched l oads. Thi s enabl es extremel y wi deband
measurements to be made and al so greatl y reduces the ri sk of i nstabi l i ty; however,
onl y when the DUT i s termi nated wi th near i deal matched l oads (thi s i s i rrespecti ve
of whether the measurement system i s cal i brated or not). S-parameter measurements
218 Mi crowave measurements
al so off er the f ol l owi ng advantages:
(1) Any movement i n ameasurement ref erencepl aneal ong an i deal transmi ssi on
l i ne wi l l vary the phase angl e onl y.
(2) For a l i near devi ce or network, vol tage or current and measured power are
rel ated through the measurement ref erence i mpedance (normal l y 75 or 50
f or coaxi al l i nes and 1 f or rectangul ar wavegui des).
(3) Wi th some passi ve and reci procal structures, i deal S-parameters can be
deduced f rom spati al consi derati ons, enabl i ng the measurements of the
structure to be checked i ntui ti vel y.
By appl yi ng a known i nci dent wave to the DUT and then measuri ng the ref l ected and
transmi tted waveampl i tudes, S-parameters can becal cul ated f rom theresul ti ng wave
ampl i tuderati os. Theequi pment most commonl y used to perf orm thi smeasurement i s
cal l ed avector network anal yser (VNA) [ 1] . TheDUT can now becharacteri sed usi ng
compl ete S-parameter measurements (al ong wi th DC measurements). The el ement
val ues associ ated wi th the smal l -si gnal equi val ent ci rcui t model of the DUT can be
determi ned usi ng di rect cal cul ati ons, i terati ve opti mi sati on and i ntui ti ve tuni ng. Thi s
process i s ref erred to as parameter extracti on.
Wi th a radi o f requency i ntegrated ci rcui t (RFI C), al so known as a monol i thi c
mi crowavei ntegrated ci rcui t (MMI C), ei ther atest f i xtureor probestati on i sempl oyed
to secure the MMI C i n pl ace and to provi de a stabl e means of el ectri cal l y connecti ng
the MMI C to the measurement system [ 2] . I n thi s chapter, the use of test f i xtures
and probe stati ons at ambi ent room temperature i s revi ewed and thei r rol e at thermal
and cryogeni c temperatures i s di scussed. Fi nal l y, wi th the i ncreasi ng need f or per-
f ormi ng non-i nvasi ve (or non-contacti ng) measurements, experi mental f i el d probi ng
technol ogi es are i ntroduced.
11.2 Test fixtur e measur ements
Al though probestati onsresul t i n much moreaccurateand reproduci bl emeasurements,
test f i xtures are sti l l wi del y used. The pri nci pal reasons are that they are very much
cheaper than probe stati ons and they off er a greater degree of f l exi bi l i ty, such as
f aci l i tati ng l arger numbers of RF ports and enabl i ng DC bi as ci rcui try and any off -
chi p resonators to be l ocated next to the chi p. Al so, the heat di ssi pati on requi red
when testi ng monol i thi c power ampl i f i ers can be easi l y provi ded wi th test f i xtures.
I n addi ti on, test f i xturesarei deal l y sui ted when RF measurementsarerequi red duri ng
temperature-cycl i ng and when cryogeni c devi ce characteri sati on i s requi red [ 3–5] .
An i l l ustrati on of a basi c two-port test f i xture i s shown i n Fi gure 11.1. Most
test f i xtures are, i n pri nci pl e, based on thi s generi c desi gn, typi cal l y consi sti ng of
f our di ff erent components: (1) a detachabl e metal chi p carri er wi th hi gh-permi tti vi ty
substrate, (2) a ri gi d metal housi ng, (3) connector/l aunchers and (4) bond wi res.
The MMI C i s permanentl y attached to the chi p carri er wi th ei ther conducti ve epoxy
gl ue or sol der. The metal housi ng i s empl oyed to hol d the chi p carri er and the con-
nector/l aunchers i n pl ace. The l auncher i s basi cal l y an extensi on of the coaxi al
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 219
Housing
High permittivity
chip carrier
substrate
Ridge-mounted
MMIC under test
Chip carrier
Microstrip
launcher
50 Ω microstrip
transmission line
Bond
wires
50 Ω coaxial
cable/connector
to the
VNA
Chip carrier
ground plane
50 Ω flange-mounted
coaxial connector
Coaxial calibration
VNA reference plane
Fi gure 11.1 Gener i c desi gn of a two-por t test fi xture
connector’ s centre conductor, whi ch passes through the housi ng wal l to make
el ectri cal contact wi th theassoci ated chi p carri er’ smi crostri p transmi ssi on l i ne. Bond
wi res or straps are used to connect the other end of the mi crostri p l i ne to the MMI C
under test. The parasi ti c el ement val ues associ ated wi th a test f i xture are typi cal l y an
order of magni tude greater than those of the MMI C under test.
Bef ore any accurate measurements can be perf ormed, measurement systems
must f i rst be cal i brated, i n order to correct f or the systemati c errors resul ti ng f rom
the numerous ref l ecti on and transmi ssi on l osses wi thi n the measurement system.
A cal i brati on ki t i s requi red to perf orm thi s cal i brati on procedure. Thi s ‘ cal . ki t’ has
a number of el ectri cal ref erence standards and sof tware that must be downl oaded
i nto the VNA’ s non-vol ati l e memory or associ ated PC/workstati on control l er. For a
two-port measurement system, the cal i brati on standards must:
(1) def i ne the pri mary ref erence pl anes;
(2) remove any phase ambi gui ty usi ng open ci rcui t and/or short ci rcui t ref l ecti on
standard(s); and
(3) def i ne the ref erence i mpedance usi ng del ay l i ne, matched l oad or attenuator
i mpedance standard(s).
Some of the vari ous combi nati ons of di ff erent standards that can be empl oyed i n a
two-port cal i brati on procedure are l i sted i n Tabl e 11.1. The sof tware shoul d contai n
accuratemodel sf or theassoci ated standardsand theal gori thmsrequi red to i mpl ement
the chosen cal i brati on method. The accuracy of subsequent measurements ul ti matel y
depends on how wel l al l the standards remai n characteri sed. Any devi ati on i n the
el ectri cal parameters of the standards wi l l degrade the magni tudes of the eff ecti ve
di recti vi ty and source match f or the measurement system. As a resul t, great care must
be taken to l ook af ter these cal i brati on standards.
Thenon-i deal i ti es of ameasurement system arecharacteri sed usi ng mathemati cal
error correcti on model s, represented by f l ow di agrams (al so known as error adapters
or boxes). Thef uncti on of thecal i brati on procedurei sto sol vef or theerror coeff i ci ents
i n these model s by appl yi ng the raw, uncorrected, S-parameter measurements of the
220 Mi crowave measurements
Tabl e 11.1 Common cal i br ati on methods
Method Cal i brati on standard
Through Ref l ect Ref erence i mpedance
L = 0 L = 0 ρ
1
= ρ
2
Li ne Match Atten.
TRL • • •
LRL • • •
TRM • • •
LRM • • •
TRA • • •
LRA • • •
TSD • ρ = −1 •
standards to a set of i ndependent l i near equati ons. The basi c two-port cal i brati on
procedures have an ei ght-term error model (f our terms associ ated wi th each port)
and requi re onl y three standards. These error terms shoul d correspond di rectl y to the
raw hardware perf ormance, i ncl udi ng the di recti vi ty, source match and f requency
tracki ng. A moreaccurate12-termerror model , asused i n two-port coaxi al cal i brati on,
takes crosstal k and theeff ects of i mpedancemi smatches at theRF swi tches wi thi n the
VNA’ s test-set i nto account. Once the cal i brati on procedure has been perf ormed, i t
can be veri f i ed by measuri ng separate veri f i cati on standards.
11.2.1 Two-ti er cal i br ati on
One method of cal i brati ng the measurement system i s to spl i t the process i nto two
ti ers [ 6] . I ni ti al l y, acoaxi al cal i brati on i s perf ormed, wheretheVNA ref erencepl anes
are l ocated at the end of i ts cabl e connectors. Hi stori cal l y, the VNA was cal i brated
usi ng short-open-l oad-through (SOLT) standards. These l umped-el ement standards
can gi ve hi gh-qual i ty coaxi al cal i brati ons across an ul tra-broad bandwi dth (e.g. DC
to 50 GHz), so l ong as al l the standards remai n accuratel y characteri sed across the
enti re bandwi dth. Si nce test f i xtures are f ar f rom i deal , a second process i s requi red
to shi f t the i ni ti al VNA ref erence pl anes to the MMI C under test, i n order to el i mi nate
the eff ect of the test f i xture. Thi s second process i s known as de-embeddi ng or de-
convol uti on [ 7] . To perf orm de-embeddi ng i t i s necessary to accuratel y characteri se
the test f i xture [ 8] .
Another reason why you may need to characteri se a test f i xture i s when mul ti pl e
RF port MMI Cs are to be measured usi ng a two-port VNA [ 9] . Here, power ref l ected
f rom i mpedance-mi smatched l oads on the auxi l i ary ports of the MMI C can resul t
i n si gni f i cant measurement errors. These errors wi l l i ncrease as the mi smatch l osses
i ncrease and/or the number of RF ports i ncreases. As a resul t, MMI Cs that have more
RF ports than the VNA requi re al l the l oads to be i ndi vi dual l y characteri sed, and a
f urther process of matri x renormal i sati on [ 9–13] i n order to remove the eff ects of
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 221
the mi smatched l oads on the auxi l i ary ports. Three methods that can, i n pri nci pl e, be
empl oyed to characteri seatest f i xtureare(1) ti me-domai n (T-D) gati ng, (2) i n-f i xture
cal i brati on and (3) equi val ent ci rcui t model l i ng.
11.2.1.1 Time-domain gating
Some VNAs can be upgraded wi th a syntheti c-pul se T-D ref l ectometry (TDR) opti on
[ 14–20] . Here, the di screte f orm of the i nverse Fouri er transf orm (I FT) i s appl i ed to
a real sequence of harmoni cal l y rel ated f requency-domai n (F-D) measurements; i n
our case, of the MMI C embedded wi thi n i ts test f i xture. Thi s i s di rectl y equi val ent
to mathemati cal l y generati ng syntheti c uni ty-ampl i tudei mpul ses (or uni ty-ampl i tude
steps), whi ch are then ‘ appl i ed’ to the embedded MMI C. The resul ti ng T-D ref l ecti on
and transmi ssi on responses can then be anal ysed to provi de i nf ormati on about the
MMI C and test f i xture di sconti nui ti es. I n ref l ecti on measurements, i t i s possi bl e
to remove the eff ects of unwanted i mpedance mi smatches or el se i sol ate and vi ew
the response of an i ndi vi dual f eature. Wi th a mul ti pl e port test f i xture, transmi ssi on
measurements can gi ve the propagati on del ay and i nserti on l oss of si gnal s travel l i ng
through a parti cul ar path by removi ng the responses f rom the unwanted paths.
Wi th an MMI C f ed wi th transmi ssi on l i nes that onl y support a pure TEM mode
of propagati on, ti me and actual physi cal di stance are si mpl y rel ated:
Physi cal di stance =

ct ζ/2 wi th ref l ecti on measurements
ct ζ wi th transmi ssi on measurements
where c i s the speed of l i ght i n f ree space; t i s the ti me di ff erence, rel ati ve to a
ref erence (e.g. t = 0); and ζ = 1/

ε
r
i s the vel oci ty f actor.
Al so, F-D nul l s i n |S
11
| are at f requency harmoni cs of 1/t , where t i s the ti me
di ff erence between two ref l ected i mpul ses.
I f the f eed l i nes are non-TEM, and theref ore di spersi ve, i mpul se spreadi ng wi l l
occur, whi ch coul d si gni f i cantl y di stort the i mpul se shape (i n ti me and ampl i tude).
I f the di spersi ve nature i s known, the f requency sweep can be pre-warped [ 20] .
Wi th ei ther a banded VNA (whi ch may cover j ust one of the mai n wavegui de
bands), or a broadband VNA, the band-pass T-D mode can be sel ected, where onl y
syntheti c i mpul ses are generated. Thi s i s usef ul f or band-l i mi ted gui ded-wave struc-
tures (e.g. rectangul ar wavegui des). I n general , i n thi s mode, onl y the magni tudes of
the i ndi vi dual ref l ecti on and transmi ssi on coeff i ci ents are avai l abl e. As a resul t, the
exact nature of any di sconti nui ty (e.g. resi sti ve, i nducti ve and capaci ti ve) cannot be
i denti f i ed. However, i t i s sti l l possi bl e to extract some i nf ormati on about the nature of
a def ect i n band-pass mode wi th a phasor i mpul se.
Wi th a broadband VNA, a l ow-pass T-D mode i s al so avai l abl e where both syn-
theti c i mpul ses and syntheti c steps can be generated. The l ow-pass mode i s used to
emul ate a real -pul se TDR measurement system. Thi s al l ows the user to i denti f y the
nature of any di sconti nui ty. F-D measurements are taken f rom the star t frequency, f
1
,
to the stop frequency, f
2
. When compared wi th band-pass, f or the same bandwi dth
(i .e. frequency-span) B = f
2
−f
1
, the l ow-pass mode off ers twi ce the response reso-
l uti on i n the T-D. However, wi th the l ow-pass mode, the F-D measurements must be
222 Mi crowave measurements
harmoni cal l y rel ated, f rom DC to f
2
, such that f
2
= n
f d
f
1
, where n
f d
i s the number of
poi nts i n the F-D (e.g. 51, 101, 201, 401 and 801). The DC data poi nt i s extrapol ated
f rom the f
1
measurement. However, i f the measurement at f
1
i s noi sy, the T-D trace
wi l l be unstabl e and di ff i cul t to i nterpret.
I n TDR, the wi dth of a band-l i mi ted uni t i mpul se (or wi ndow f uncti on) i s def i ned
as the i nterval between i ts two hal f -ampl i tude (i .e. −6 dB power) poi nts. The
correspondi ng response resol uti on i s def i ned as the i nterval between two i mpul ses
that are j ust di sti ngui shabl e f rom each other as separate peaks. Wi th equal ampl i tude
i mpul ses, the response resol uti on i s equal to the 6 dB i mpul se wi dth. Wi th no wi ndow
f uncti on appl i ed to the F-D measurements:
6 dB I mpul se wi dth =





1.2
B
f or band-pass
0.6
B
f or l ow-pass
Mai n Lobe’ s nul l -to-nul l wi dth =





2
B
f or band-pass
1
B
f or l ow-pass
The ti me r ange i s the l ength of ti me that measurements can be made wi thout encoun-
teri ng arepeti ti on of thesameresponse. Ther ange must beset l onger than thef urthest
di sconti nui ty, otherwi se al i asi ng wi l l occur, where out-of -range di sconti nui ti es wi l l
f ol d-over and appear i n-range at (two r ange – target posi ti on)
Range =
1
f
where f = B/(n
f d
−1).
I f af eaturel i esexactl y mi dway between two T-D poi ntsthen theenergy associ ated
wi th the di sconti nui ty wi l l be di stri buted between the two poi nts, resul ti ng i n the
di spl ayed ampl i tude bei ng reduced by al most 4 dB [ 20] . Theref ore, care must be
taken to ensure there i s suff i ci ent r ange resol uti on (or poi nt spaci ng) i n the T-D.
Range resol uti on =
Range
n
td
where n
td
i s the number of poi nts i n the T-D.
Thepoi nt spaci ng can bereduced to any desi red l evel , at theexpenseof processi ng
ti me, by usi ng a chi rp-Z f ast Fouri er transf orm al gori thm. Thi s al l ows range to be
repl aced by an arbi trary di spl ay ti me-span i n the above range resol uti on equati on.
I t i s worth noti ng that wi th range and range resol uti on, ei ther the one-way ti me or
round-tri p ti me may be quoted, dependi ng on the manuf acturer.
De-embeddi ng usi ng syntheti c-pul se TDR i s not de-embeddi ng i n the true sense.
I t i s speci f i cal l y T-D gati ng, whi ch can i sol ate a ti me f eature and emphasi se i ts
f requency response. Wi th ti me-gati ng, a mathemati cal wi ndow (cal l ed a gate or ti me
f i l ter) i s used to i sol ate the embedded MMI C,so that onl y the MMI C’ s f requency
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 223
response can be emphasi sed. When the gate i s swi tched on, al l ref l ecti ons outsi de the
gate are set to zero. Thi s i s equi val ent to termi nati ng the MMI C wi th the compl ex
conj ugate of i ts respecti ve port i mpedance(s).
The syntheti c-pul se TDR opti on can be a very usef ul tool , al though i t can suff er
f rom a number of sources of errors [ 15,19,20] ; some of these are l i sted as f ol l ows:
(1) Noi se errors [ 15] .
(a) Sweep mode: The VNA’ s synthesi sed source can be operated i n
ei ther the r amp-sweep or step-sweep mode. Wi th the f ormer, smal l
non-l i neari ti es and phase di sconti nui ti es generate l ow-l evel noi se
si debands on the T-D i mpul se and step sti mul i . However, wi th the
step-sweep mode, thei mproved sourcestabi l i ty el i mi natesthesenoi se
si debands and i mproves the T-D’ s dynami c range by as much as 30
dB. Moreover, to reduce the noi se f l oor of the T-D measurements
f urther, thestep-sweep modeenabl es moreaveragi ng of theF-D mea-
surements, compared wi th the r amp-sweep mode, wi thout greatl y
i ncreasi ng the sweep ti me.
(b) Bandwi dth: The noi se f l oor i n the T-D response i s di rectl y rel ated to
noi se i n the F-D data. Theref ore, the number of F-D data poi nts taken
at, or bel ow, the system’ s noi se f l oor can be mi ni mi sed by reduci ng
the frequency-span to the bandwi dth of the MMI C.
(c) Test-set : I f the test-set does not have a f l at response down to the star t
frequency then the reducti on i n the F-D’ s dynami c range towards f
1
wi l l cause an i ncrease i n the T-D’ s noi se f l oor, the resul ti ng trace
bounce, i n the l ow-pass mode, can be i mproved by turni ng on T-D
trace averagi ng.
(2) Frequency-domai n wi ndow errors.
There i s usual l y a choi ce of F-D wi ndow f uncti ons (e.g. Kai ser–Bessel ) that
can beappl i ed pri or to theI FT, f or exampl e, mi ni mum(0th order ), nor mal (6th
order ) and maxi mum (13th order ). The mi ni mum wi ndow has a rectangul ar
f uncti on that produces the si n x/x i mpul se shape, havi ng the mi ni mum 6
dB i mpul se wi dth and al so the maxi mum si del obe l evel s (wi th a mi ni mum
si del obe suppressi on of onl y 13 dB i n i ts power response). The other two
wi ndow f uncti ons reduce the si del obe l evel s (wi th a mi ni mum suppressi on
of 44 and 98 dB, respecti vel y) at the expense of a wi der i mpul se (by a f actor
of 1.6 and 2.4, respecti vel y). I t wi l l be seen that a trade-off has to be made
when choosi ng theF-D’ swi ndowi ng f uncti on, between thedesi red resol uti on
and dynami c range i n the T-D. Note that thi s wi ndowi ng f uncti on does not
aff ect the di spl ayed F-D response.
(a) Ti me resol uti on er ror s: Wi th narrow bandwi dth VNAs, the i mpul se
may be too wi de. As a resul t, i t may be di ff i cul t to resol ve the MMI C
and the connector/l aunchers f eatures, down to the basel i ne, when the
associ ated di sconti nui ti es are too cl ose to one another. I n practi ce,
the MMI C shoul d be separated by at l east two 6 dB i mpul se wi dths
f rom the connector/l auncher.
224 Mi crowave measurements
(b) Dynami c r ange er ror s: I mpul se si del obes l i mi t the dynami c range of
the T-D responses, si nce the si del obes f rom a l arge i mpul se can hi de
a smal l adj acent target i mpul se.
(c) Modi ng er ror s: I f the bandwi dth of the VNA i s too hi gh, such that
overmodi ng i n transmi ssi on l i nes or box mode resonances occur i n
the test j i g, the T-D responses become un-i nterpretabl e.
(d) Out-of-band response: The ampl i tude of the i mpul ses represents the
average val ue over the enti re frequency-span. Theref ore, the di s-
pl ayed ampl i tude of an i mpul se can be di ff erent f rom the expected
val ue i f the frequency-span i ncl udes an MMI C wi th a non-f l at f re-
quency response; f or exampl e, havi ng hi ghl y abrupt out-of -band
characteri sti cs.
(3) Di sconti nui ty errors.
(a) Maski ng er ror s: I f the target di sconti nui ty i s preceded by other di s-
conti nui ti es that ei ther ref l ect or absorb energy, then these other
di sconti nui ti es may remove some of the energy travel l i ng to and
emanati ng f rom the target di sconti nui ty. The trai l i ng edge of earl i er
f eatures can al so obscure the target f eature.
(b) Mul ti -refl ecti on al i asi ng er ror s: Mul ti pl eref l ecti ons between di scon-
ti nui ti es can cause al i asi ng errors. For exampl e, i f a two-port MMI C
i s posi ti oned mi dway between two connector/l aunchers, ref l ecti on
f rom the f urthest connector/l auncher wi l l be corrupted by mul ti pl e
ref l ecti ons between the MMI C and the nearest connector/l auncher.
(4) Ti me-domai n wi ndow errors.
I n practi ce, a ti me f i l ter havi ng a non-rectangul ar response i s used f or gati ng,
otherwi se the si n x/x wei ghti ng woul d be conveyed to the F-D. There i s
usual l y a choi ce of T-D wi ndow f uncti ons that can be appl i ed bef ore the
Fouri er transf orm: mi ni mum, nor mal , wi de and maxi mum. The mi ni mum
wi ndow has the f astest rol l -off and l argest si del obes, whi l e the maxi mum
wi ndow has the sl owest rol l -off and smal l est si del obes.
(a) Basel i ne er ror s: The gate-star t and gate-stop ti mes, whi ch def i ne
the −6 dB gate-span of the f i l ter, must be set at the basel i ne i f l ow
f requency di storti on i n the F-D i s to be mi ni mi sed [ 14] .
(b) Tr uncati on er ror s: A l i mi ted gate wi dth may truncate l engthy target
f eatures. To mi ni mi se truncati on error, the wi der gates are pref erred.
(c) Si del obe er ror s: The ti me f i l ter si del obes may ‘ see’ earl i er or subse-
quent f eatures. Thi s coul d si gni f i cantl y corrupt the F-D response of
the target f eature. To mi ni mi se si del obe errors, the wi der gates are
pref erred.
(d) Gate offset er ror s: F-D di storti on can occur i f the gate-centre i s
off set f rom the centre of the target f eature(s). Thi s i s because a near-
symmetri cal target response may l ose i ts symmetry when appl i ed to a
ti me-off set gate that has si gni f i cant i n-gate attenuati on. To mi ni mi se
gate off set errors, the wi der gate shapes are pref erred.
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 225
(e) Mi ni mum gate-span er ror s: The gate-span must be set wi der than the
mi ni mum val ue, otherwi se the gate wi l l have no passband and may
have hi gh si del obe l evel s.
(f ) Attenuati on er ror s: For a f i xed gate-span, the l evel and durati on of
i n-gate attenuati on may be excessi ve wi th wi der gates.
(g) Refl ecti on/tr ansmi ssi on swi tchi ng er ror s: I f gati ng i s perf ormed on
a vol tage ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent response then the associ ated return
l oss F-D measurement i s val i d. I f the same gati ng ti mes are appl i ed
to the vol tage transmi ssi on coeff i ci ent response(s) then thi s may not
be appropri ate. For exampl e, when a two-port MMI C i s not pl aced
mi dway between connectors, the transmi ssi on pul se may not be f ul l y
encl osed wi thi n the ref l ecti on response’ s gate. The resul ti ng i nserti on
l oss F-D measurement wi l l not represent accurate de-embeddi ng.
As an exampl e, a gal l i um arseni de (GaAs) MMI C wi th a 2.9 mm l ength of 55
mi crostri p through-l i newaspl aced at thecentreof a25.4 mm al umi nachi p carri er. An
Agi l ent Technol ogi es 8510B VNA was cal i brated wi th a 20 GHz bandwi dth and 401
f requency poi nts. The band-pass mode was sel ected wi th a mi ni mum F-D wi ndowi ng
f uncti on. Thi s combi nati on provi des a mi ni mum response resol uti on and maxi mum
r ange val ues of 60 ps and 20 ns, respecti vel y. The F-D power responses are shown i n
Fi gure 11.2a. The correspondi ng T-D response of the i nput port’ s vol tage ref l ecti on
coeff i ci ent i s shown i n Fi gure 11.2b. Here, the f i rst and l ast peaks correspond to
the i mpedance mi smatches associ ated wi th the coaxi al -to-mi crostri p transi ti ons of
the i nput and output ports, respecti vel y. The two centre peaks correspond to the
ref l ecti ons associ ated wi th the mi crostri p-to-MMI C transi ti ons. I t wi l l be apparent
f rom Fi gure11.2b that accuratede-embeddi ng woul d not bepossi bl eusi ng T-D gati ng.
Thi s i s because the unwanted ref l ecti ons cannot be resol ved down to the basel i ne.
I f de-embeddi ng was attempted i n the above exampl e then the ri ppl es i n the F-D
responses woul d be smoothed out, as one woul d expect, al though thi s woul d not
consti tute accurate de-embedded measurements. I n order to achi eve accurate de-
embedded measurements, a VNA wi th more bandwi dth, or al ternati vel y, a real -pul se
TDR system havi ng ul tra-short i mpul ses, can be used.
11.2.1.2 I n-fixtur e calibr ation
I n general , a qual i ty test f i xture i s much cheaper to buy than a probe stati on.
Sui tabl y desi gned qual i ty test f i xtures can beaccuratel y characteri sed usi ng i n-f i xture
cal i brati on techni ques. As wi th coaxi al cal i brati on, the most appropri ate al gori thms
use a combi nati on of through, ref l ecti on and del ay l i ne standards, wi th common
methods bei ng through-ref l ect-match (TRL), TSD and l i ne-ref l ect-l i ne (LRL). The
mai n reason f or empl oyi ng these types of cal i brati on i s that onl y one di screte
i mpedance standard i s requi red, such as an open or short, whi ch i s rel ati vel y easy
to i mpl ement. The matched l oad i s avoi ded; thi s i s advantageous, as i t i s more di f -
f i cul t to f abri cate non-pl anar 50 l oads to the same l evel of accuracy that can be
226 Mi crowave measurements
achi eved wi th l ow di spersi on transmi ssi on l i nes. However, there are sti l l si gni f i cant
di sadvantages wi th i n-f i xture cal i brati on:
(1) Mul ti pl e del ay l i nes may be requi red f or wi deband cal i brati on (any one
l i ne must i ntroduce between about 20 and 160 of el ectri cal del ay to avoi d
phase ambi gui ty, l i mi ti ng the bandwi dth contri buti on of each l i ne to an 8:1
f requency range).
(2) The use of mul ti pl e l i nes can add uncertai nty to the measurements, si nce
the l aunchers are conti nual l y bei ng di sturbed duri ng cal i brati on, al though
f reel y avai l abl e sof tware (cal l ed Mul ti Cal ™) can el i mi nate the eff ects of
non-repeatabi l i ty, by measuri ng ei ther the same l i ne a number of ti mes or
di ff erent l engths of l i ne, i n order to reduce the uncertai nty [ 21] .
(3) A f requency-i nvari ant measurement ref erencei mpedancemust betaken f rom
the characteri sti c i mpedance, Z
0
, of the del ay l i nes, however, f requency di s-
persi on i n mi crostri p l i nes may not al ways be corrected f or. I n practi ce, the
Z
0
of the l i nes can be determi ned usi ng TRL cal i brati on [ 22,23] and then sub-
sequent measurements can be renormal i sed to any measurement ref erence
i mpedance.
(4) The hi gh l evel of accuracy i s i mmedi atel y l ost wi th test f i xtures that empl oy
poor qual i ty components and/or non-preci si on assembl y.
(5) The cal i brati on substrates di ctate and, theref ore, restri ct the l ocati on of the
RF ports.
(6) For devi ces wi th more than two ports the cal i brati on procedure must be si g-
ni f i cantl y extended and al l the resul ts f rom thi s routi ne must be easi l y stored
and retri eved.
(7) The mi crostri p-to-MMI C transi ti on i s not taken i nto account.
11.2.1.3 Equivalent cir cuit modelling
Test f i xtures made i n-house tend to be si mpl e i n desi gn, such as the type shown i n
Fi gure 11.1, and cost onl y a smal l f racti on of the pri ce of a good qual i ty commer-
ci al test f i xture. Unf ortunatel y, these non-i deal test f i xtures suff er f rom unwanted
resonances [ 24] , poor groundi ng [ 25] and poor measurement repeatabi l i ty. The prob-
l em of unwanted resonances can be cl earl y seen i n the F-D responses of Fi gure 11.2a.
Here, the resonances at 3 and 12 GHz are attri buted to the producti on grade coaxi al
connectors used i n the test f i xture. Because of poor repeatabi l i ty, empl oyi ng el abo-
rate and expensi ve cal i brati on techni ques to characteri se such f i xtures woul d appear
unj usti f i ed, because si gni f i cant measurement degradati on i s i nherent. As an al terna-
ti ve, equi val ent ci rcui t model s (ECMs) can provi de a crude but eff ecti ve means of
de-embeddi ng. Thi s ‘ stri ppi ng’ process resul ts i n about the same l evel of degradati on
as woul d be f ound i f i n-f i xture cal i brati on was used wi th a non-i deal test f i xture,
but wi th mi ni mal expense and greater f l exi bi l i ty. Al so, ECMs based on the physi cal
structureof thef i xturehavedemonstrated awi debandwi dth perf ormance. TheECMs
can beeasi l y i ncorporated i nto conventi onal F-D si mul ati on sof twarepackages. They
can al so be empl oyed to si mul ate packaged MMI Cs. An exampl e of an ECM f or a
test f i xture si mi l ar to the one i n Fi gure 11.1 i s shown i n Fi gure 11.3. Thi s model has
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 227
(a)
(b)
Fi gure 11.2 Embedded 55 MMI C through-l i ne: (a) frequency-domai n power
responses and (b) cor respondi ng ti me-domai n response for the i nput
vol tage refl ecti on coeffi ci ent
228 Mi crowave measurements
SMA connector/wedge-shaped launcher model
Coaxial
connector
Coax-to-microstrip
transition
Lossy
microstrip
line model
Wire 1
Wire 2
C
f
Im(i) Z
01

r1

1
I
1
Z
02

r2

2
I
2
Z
03

r3

3
I
3
L
2
L
1
C
1
R
2
C
2
T
LINE 4 T
LINE 1
R1
T
LINE 2
T
LINE 3 MMIC
reference
plane
VNA
reference
plane
Bond wire
model
Z
04

r4
I
4
Fi gure 11.3 Equi val ent ci rcui t model of a mi crostr i p test fi xture
demonstrated a suff i ci ent degree of accuracy f rom DC to 19 GHz f or the popul ar
Omni -Spectra SMA connector/wedge-shaped l auncher [ 9] , whi ch i s si mi l ar to the
more popul ar SMA pri nted ci rcui t board socket.
The exact nature of the ECM, the el ement val ues and the mi crostri p parame-
ter data are extracted f rom through-l i ne measurements of the test f i xture. Both a
di rect mi crostri p through-l i ne and an MMI C through-l i ne shoul d be used i n order to
provi de more i nf ormati on f or the parameter extracti on process, and to make i t pos-
si bl e to model the mi crostri p-to-MMI C transi ti on accuratel y. De-embeddi ng can be
carri ed out wi th most F-D CAD packages by converti ng the ECM i nto a seri es of neg-
ati ve el ements connected onto the ports of the measured data. Some CAD packages
provi de a ‘ negati on’ f uncti on that al l ows the ECM sub-ci rcui t to be di rectl y stri pped
f rom the measured data. Wi th ei ther method, the order of the node numbers i s cri ti cal ,
and the de-embeddi ng routi ne shoul d be veri f i ed.
I n addi ti on to those al ready menti oned, de-embeddi ng usi ng equi val ent ci rcui t
model l i ng has the f ol l owi ng advantages:
(1) di spersi on i n the mi crostri p l i nes does not have to be corrected f or i n the
VNA’ s cal i brati on;
(2) there i s no restri cti on by the cal i brati on procedure on the l ocati on of the RF
ports;
(3) systemati c errors resul ti ng f rom vari ati ons i n the characteri sti c i mpedance of
the chi p carri er’ s mi crostri p l i nes, due to rel axed f abri cati on tol erances, can
easi l y be corrected f or;
(4) bond wi res [ 26] and themi crostri p-to-MMI C transi ti on can bemodel l ed [ 27] ;
(5) resonant mode coupl i ng between ci rcui t components, due to a package
resonance, can al so be model l ed [ 24] . Better sti l l , package resonances can,
i n some i nstances, be removed al together [ 28,29] .
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 229
Fi gure 11.4 Photogr aph of the Anr i tsu 3680V uni ver sal test fi xture
11.2.2 One-ti er cal i br ati on
I mproved contact repeatabi l i ty and prol onged contact l i f eti me are two consi derati ons
that f avour the two-ti er process [ 6] , as they are onl y assembl ed once wi th T-D gati ng
and ECMs. I n practi ce, however, to achi eve the best perf ormance, i n-f i xture TRL
or l i ne–network–network [ 30] cal i brati on i s appl i ed di rectl y to a qual i ty test f i xture,
wi thout theneed f or thetwo-ti er coaxi al cal i brati on/de-embeddi ng process. Thi s one-
ti er cal i brati on proceduregi vesmoreaccuratemeasurementsthan thetwo-ti er method,
si ncede-embeddi ng i si nherentl y proneto errors, and thepropagati on of measurement
errors i s reduced [ 6] . Usi ng thi s approach, the Anri tsu 3680 V uni versal test f i xture,
shown i n Fi gure11.4, can perf orm repeatabl emeasurementsup to 60 GHz. At theti me
of wri ti ng, a number of other compani es produce test f i xtures f or accurate i n-f i xture
cal i brati on, i ncl udi ng Agi l ent Technol ogi es, I nterconti nental Mi crowave, Argumens
and Desi gn Techni ques. They are ei ther spl i t-bl ock f i xtures, wi th a removabl e centre
secti on, or they use l aunchers attached to sl i di ng carri ages.
Wi th the hi gh l evel s of accuracy that can be achi eved usi ng qual i ty test f i xtures,
the poor characteri sati on of bond wi res, due to the poor repeatabi l i ty of conventi onal
manual l y operated wi re-bondi ng machi nes, becomessi gni f i cant. I mprovementsi n the
model l i ng accuracy and physi cal repeatabi l i ty of the mi crostri p-to-MMI C transi ti on
when usi ng automati c wi re-bondi ng assembl y techni ques have been reported [ 27] .
I n addi ti on, f l i p-chi p technol ogy (al so known assol der-bump technol ogy) i snow wel l
establ i shed [ 31–39] . Here, a ti ny bead of sol der i s pl aced on al l the MMI C bond pads
and the MMI C i s pl aced upsi de down di rectl y onto the chi p carri er. When heated to
the appropri ate temperature, the sol der f l ows evenl y and a near perf ect connecti on
230 Mi crowave measurements
i s made between the MMI C pad and i ts associ ated chi p carri er pad. The advantages
of thi s technol ogy over bond wi re technol ogy, f or the purposes of measurements,
are i ts ul tra-broad bandwi dth, superi or contact repeatabi l i ty and hi gh characteri sati on
accuracy of the carri er’ s transmi ssi on l i ne-to-MMI C transi ti on.
11.2.3 Test fi xture desi gn consi der ati ons
Thef ol l owi ng gui del i nesareusef ul when sel ecti ng, desi gni ng or usi ng atest f i xture:
(1) Spl i t-bl ock test f i xtures [ 5,40] are i deal f or two-port i n-f i xture TRL cal i bra-
ti on, si nce they can provi de good repeatabi l i ty. Here, a short ci rcui t standard
i s pref erred, si nce si gni f i cant energy may be radi ated wi th an open ci rcui t
standard.
(2) Si de wal l s can f orm a wavegui de or resonant cavi ty. The si ze of the waveg-
ui de/cavi ty shoul d be made smal l enough so that the domi nant mode resonant
f requency i s wel l above the maxi mum measurement f requency. Caref ul l y
pl aced tuni ng screws and/or mul ti pl e RF absorbi ng pads can el i mi nate or
suppress unwanted modes [ 28,29] .
(3) Poor groundi ng, due to excessi vel y l ong ground paths and ground path
di sconti nui ti es, must be avoi ded.
(4) Avoi d thi ck chi p carri er substrates, wi de transmi ssi on l i nes (someti mes used
f or off -chi p RF de-coupl i ng) and di sconti nui ti es, i n order to mi ni mi se the
eff ects of surf ace wave propagati on and transverse resonances at mi l l i metri c
f requenci es. Transverse currents can be suppressed by i ntroduci ng narrow
l ongi tudi nal sl i ts i nto the l ow i mpedance l i nes.
(5) Use substrates wi th a hi gh di el ectri c constant to avoi d excessi ve radi ati on
l osses and to mi ni mi se unwanted RF coupl i ng eff ects.
(6) New preci si on connector/l aunchers shoul d be used whenever possi bl e, and
measurements shoul d be perf ormed bel ow the connector’ s domi nant TEM
mode cut-off f requency.
(7) Launchers shoul d be separated f rom the DUT by at l east three or f our ti mes
thesubstratethi ckness, so that any hi gher-order evanescent modes, generated
by the non-i deal coax-to-mi crostri p transi ti on, are suff i ci entl y attenuated at
the DUT.
11.3 Pr obe station measur ements
Unti l rel ati vel y recentl y, the el ectri cal perf ormance of an MMI C was al most al ways
measured usi ng test f i xtures. Nowadays, extremel y accurate MMI C measurements
can be achi eved usi ng probe stati ons. Such techni ques were f i rst suggested f or use at
mi crowave f requenci es i n 1980 [ 41] , demonstrated experi mental l y i n 1982 [ 42] , and
i ntroduced commerci al l y by CascadeMi crotech i n 1983. Duri ng thepast two decades
there have been rapi d devel opments i n probe stati on measurement techni ques.
Today, the partnershi p between Cascade Mi crotech and Agi l ent Technol ogi es
provi des a total sol uti on f or on-waf er probi ng, whi ch can perf orm repeatabl e
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 231
F-D measurements at f requenci es as hi gh as 220 GHz [ 43] , al though si ngl e-sweep
measurements f rom 45 MHz to 110 GHz are routi nel y undertaken. When com-
pared wi th test f i xtures, commerci al probe stati on measurements have the f ol l owi ng
advantages:
(1) they are avai l abl e i n a si ngl e-sweep system f rom DC to 110 GHz;
(2) they are more accurate and much more repeatabl e, si nce they i ntroduce much
smal l er systemati c errors;
(3) they have a si mpl er cal i brati on procedure, whi ch can be automated wi th
on-waf er cal i brati on and veri f i cati on standards [ 12,44] ;
(4) they enabl etheVNA measurement ref erencepl anes to bel ocated at theprobe
ti psor at somedi stanceal ong theMMI C’ stransmi ssi on l i ne; i n thel atter case,
transi ti on eff ects can be removed al together;
(5) they provi deaf ast, non-destructi vemeansof testi ng theMMI C, thusal l owi ng
chi p sel ecti on pri or to di ci ng and packagi ng; and
(6) banded measurements are possi bl e up to 220 GHz.
Overal l , the mi crowave probe stati on can provi de the most cost eff ecti ve way of
measuri ng MMI Cs when al l costs are taken i nto account.
11.3.1 Passi ve mi crowave probe desi gn
At f requenci es greater than a f ew hundred megahertz, DC probe needl es suff er f rom
parasi ti c reactance components, due to the excessi ve seri es i nductance of l ong thi n
needl es and shunt f ri ngi ng capaci tances. I f the needl es are repl aced by ordi nary coax-
i al probes that are suff i ci entl y grounded, measurements up to a f ew gi gahertz can
be achi eved. The upper f requency i s ul ti matel y l i mi ted by the poor coax-to-MMI C
transi ti on. A tapered copl anar wavegui de (CPW) probe provi des a smooth transi ti on
wi th l ow crosstal k.
Cascade Mi crotech have devel oped tapered CPW probes and mi crostri p hybri d
probes (I nf i ni ty) that enabl e measurement to be made f rom DC to 110 GHz wi th a
si ngl e coaxi al i nput. Wi th wavegui de i nput, 50–75 GHz (V-band) or 75–110 GHz
(W-band) [ 43] probes are avai l abl e i n both the tapered wavegui de and I nf i ni ty ver-
si ons, as shown i n Fi gure 11.5. The I nf i ni ty probes are al so avai l abl e f or 90–140 GHz
(F-band), 110–170 GHz (D-band) and 140–220 GHz (G-band) operati on.
Themaxi mum f requency l i mi t f or coaxi al -i nput probes i s i mposed by theonset of
hi gher-order modes propagati ng i n the conventi onal coaxi al cabl es and connectors.
For W-band operati on, Agi l ent Technol ogi esdevel oped acoaxi al cabl eand connector
that has an outer screeni ng conductor di ameter of onl y 1 mm, whi l eAnri tsu havethei r
own 1.1 mm coaxi al technol ogy.
A photograph i l l ustrati ng the use of Agi l ent’ s 1 mm coaxi al technol ogy to gi ve
state-of -the-art perf ormanceup to 110 GHz, wi th aCascadeMi crotech Summi t 12000
probestati on, i sshown i n Fi gure11.6. Thi sarrangement usesthel atest Agi l ent N5250
110 GHz VNA. Ful l y automati c cal i brati on of the probi ng system can be perf ormed
up to 110 GHz. The D-band versi on i s shown i n Fi gure 11.7.
232 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 11.5 Photogr aph of a wavegui de i nput I nfi ni ty probe
I n the past, the tapered copl anar wavegui de probe was made f rom an al umi na
substrate or an ul tra-l ow-l oss quartz substrate. The probe ti ps that made the el ectri cal
contacts consi sted of hard metal bumps that were el ectropl ated over smal l cushi ons
of metal , al l owi ng i ndi vi dual compl i ance f or each contact. As the probes were over-
travel l ed (i n the verti cal pl ane) the probe contacts wi ped or ‘ skated’ the MMI Cs’
probe pads (i n the hori zontal pl ane). One of the maj or l i mi tati ons of these tapered
CPW probes was thei r short l i f eti me, si nce the substrate had l i mi ted compl i ance and
the probe contacts coul d wear down qui te qui ckl y. As a resul t, the more the probe
was used, the more over-travel had to be appl i ed to them. Eventual l y, ei ther the probe
substrate begi ns to crack or the probe ti ps f al l apart.
For thi s reason, GGB I ndustri es devel oped thePi coprobe™. Thi s coaxi al probei s
more compl i ant and can achi eve operati on between DC and 120 GHz, wi th a coaxi al
i nput, and between 75 and 120 GHz wi th awavegui dei nput [ 45] . From DC to 40 GHz,
thi s probe has demonstrated an i nserti on l oss of l ess than 1.0 dB and a return l oss
better than 18 dB. However, one potenti al di sadvantage of coaxi al probes i s that the
i sol ati on between probes may be l i mi ted when operati ng above V-band.
For even better compl i ancy, durabi l i ty, ruggedness and f l exi bi l i ty, Cascade
Mi crotech devel oped the Ai r Copl anar ™ ti pped coaxi al probe [ 46] . Thi s probe has
demonstrated an i nserti on l oss of l ess than 1.0 dB f rom DC to 110 GHz and can oper-
ate at temperatures f rom −65 to +200

C. A cross-secti onal vi ew and photograph
can be seen i n Fi gure 11.8.
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 233
Fi gure 11.6 Si ngl e-sweep, 10 MHz to 110 GHz, on-wafer probi ng system wi th Agi -
l ent’s N5250 110 GHz PNA ser i es networ k anal yser and the Summi t
12971 probe
Cascade Mi crotech sti l l produce the ACP probe, as i t i s usef ul f or appl i cati ons
that requi rehi gh power/bi asuse(above500 mA), poor contact pl anari ty, l argepi tches
(above 250 µm) or temperatures above 125

C.
Cascade Mi crotech’ s l atest generati on of I nf i ni ty probes, shown i n Fi gure 11.9,
was i ni ti al l y desi gned to i mprove the contact resi stance characteri sti cs of probi ng
onto al umi ni um pads but i t al so has si gni f i cant advantages f or probi ng onto gol d
pads. Fi gure 11.10 shows a compari son between the resi stance characteri sti cs of the
tungsten ACP probe and I nf i ni ty probe, when probi ng onto al umi ni um.
I nherent to the desi gn i s a coaxi al -to-mi crostri p transi ti on. Thi s, i n turn, uses
vi as to connect to extremel y smal l contacts. The mi crostri p constructi on ensures
vastl y i mproved i sol ati on between the undersi de of the probe and the measurement
of the substrate underneath, al l owi ng adj acent devi ces to be pl aced cl oser to the test
structure. Thi s desi gn al so dramati cal l y i mproves the cal i brati on and crosstal k char-
acteri sti cs. Moreover, asaresul t of thereduced contact si ze, asshown i n Fi gure 11.11,
the damage to the contact pads i s al so greatl y reduced; thi s i s very usef ul f or tests
that requi re mul ti pl e tests or wi th appl i cati ons where very l i ttl e pad damage i s
al l owed.
234 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 11.7 Photogr aph of the banded, 110–170 GHz, on-wafer probi ng system
(a) (b)
Coaxial connector
(2.92, 2.4, 1.85 or 1mm)
Block
Soft
absorber
Low-loss
cable
Air coplanar
waveguide
Absorber
Hard
absorber
Fi gure 11.8 APC probe: (a) cross-secti onal vi ew of constr ucti on and (b) photogr aph
When sel ecti ng the type of mi crowave probe requi red, i t i s necessary to suppl y
the vendor wi th the f ol l owi ng speci f i cati ons:
(1) Footpr i nt : Ground–si gnal –ground (GSG) i s the most common f or MMI Cs,
al though ground–si gnal (GS) probes are used bel ow 10 GHz.
(2) Probe ti p contact pi tch (i .e. di stance between the mi d-poi nts of adj acent
contacts): For mi crowave appl i cati ons, 200 µm i s very common, al though
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 235
Coax
(a) (b)
Thin-film
microstrip
Fi gure 11.9 I nfi ni ty ti p: (a) i l l ustr ati on and (b) contact bumps i n contact wi th wafer
0
0.05
0.1
0.15
0.2
0.25
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
Conventional tungsten ACP
Infinity probe
Contact
resistance,

Fi gure 11.10 Var i ati on of contact resi stance wi th touchdowns for conventi onal
tungsten ACP and I nfi ni ty probes
Fi gure 11.11 Contact damage from I nfi ni ty probes, typi cal l y 12 ×25µm
2
236 Mi crowave measurements
probes are commerci al l y avai l abl e wi th pi tches rangi ng f rom 50 to 1250 µm.
Smal l er pads resul t i n smal l er extri nsi c l auncher parasi ti cs. A 100 µm pi tch i s
commonl y used f rom appl i cati ons i n the 40–120 GHz f requency range, whi l e
75 µm i s used above 120 GHz.
(3) Probe ti p contact wi dth: 40 and 25 µm are typi cal f or operati on up to 65 and
110 GHz, respecti vel y.
(4) Probe ti p contact metal -pl ati ng: BeCu i s opti mi sed f or GaAs chi ps (hav-
i ng gol d pads) and tungsten i s opti mi sed f or si l i con and Si Ge chi ps (havi ng
al umi ni um pads).
(5) Launch angl e, φ.
(6) Coaxi al connector type: The 3.5 mm Amphenol Preci si on Connector
(APC3.5) i s used f or operati on to 26.5 GHz; the Anri tsu K-connector (2.92
mm), f or si ngl e-mode operati on to 46 GHz, i s compati bl e wi th 3.5 mm con-
nectors; the APC2.4 can be used f or measurements up to 50 GHz, whi l e the
Anri tsu V-connector (1.85 mm), f or si ngl e-mode operati on to 67 GHz, i s
compati bl e wi th 2.4 mm connectors; the Agi l ent Technol ogi es 1 mm con-
nector i s used f or operati on up to 120 GHz, whi l e the Anri tsu W-connector
(1.1 mm) has a cut-off f requency of ei ther 110 or 116 GHz, dependi ng on the
coaxi al di el ectri c used.
Cascade Mi crotech now sel l s probes that are capabl e of maki ng on-waf er measure-
ments i n dual conf i gurati ons, such as GSGSG. I n the case of the dual i nf i ni ty, thi s
al l ows dual measurements up to 67 GHz. Such probes may be used i n conj uncti on
wi th modern f our-port VNAs, such as Agi l ent’ s N5230A PNA-L.
I f thel aunch angl ei stoo smal l , unwanted coupl i ng between theprobeand adj acent
on-waf er components may occur. For thi s reason, i t i s recommended that adj acent
components have at l east 600 µm of separati on f or 110 GHz measurements. On the
other hand, i f the angl e i s too l arge there wi l l not be enough skate on the probe pads.
I t has been f ound anal yti cal l y and empi ri cal l y that the best angl e occurs when the
hori zontal components of the phase vel oci ty f or the probe and MMI C transmi ssi on
l i nes match one other [ 44] . Theref ore
φ = cos
−1

ε
eff . probe
ε
eff . MMI C

whereε
eff . probe
i stheeff ecti vepermi tti vi ty of probel i neand ε
eff . MMI C
i stheeff ecti ve
permi tti vi ty of MMI C l i ne.
For exampl e, aCPW l i neon GaAshasε
eff . MMI C
≈ 6.9 at 76.5 GHz and, theref ore,
φ = 68

wi th Ai r Copl anar ™ probes, si nce ε
eff . probe
= 1. However, i n practi ce, the
l aunch angl e i s approxi matel y 20

. Thi s may rai se questi ons as to the possi bi l i ty of
l aunchi ng unwanted parasi ti c modes, due to uncompensated vel oci ty mi smatches at
the RF probe ti p, and al so f ri nge f i el ds coupl i ng f rom the RF probe ti p i nto the waf er.
11.3.2 Probe cal i br ati on
Duri ng the pl acement of probes onto an MMI C, there are two mechani sms by whi ch
the probe ti ps become soi l ed. Fi rst, si nce the probe ti p contact’ s metal -pl ati ng i s
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 237
desi gned to bemuch harder than theMMI C probepad ohmi c contact’ smetal , parti cl es
of ei ther gol d or al umi ni um wi l l be deposi ted onto the respecti ve BeCu or tungsten
contacts. Second, i t i s not uncommon f or the probe ti p contacts to overshoot the
unpassi vated probe pads and scratch off some of the Si
2
N
3
(si l i con ni tri de) pas-
si vati on materi al surroundi ng the pads. Wi thout regul ar cl eani ng, a bui l d-up of
gol d/al umi ni um and Si
2
N
3
parti cl es can f orm around the probe ti p contacts. Thi s
bui l d-up i s l i kel y to degrade the perf ormance of measurements at mi l l i metri c f re-
quenci es. Theref ore, pri or to cal i brati ng the measurement system, i t i s recommended
that the probe ti ps be very gentl y cl eaned. Here, f orced-ai r can be bl own onto the
probe ti p – i n a di recti on paral l el to the ti p and towards i ts open contact end – i n order
to remove any parti cl es. For more stubborn obj ects, a l i nt-f ree cotton bud, soaked
i n i sopropanol (I PA), can be caref ul l y brushed i n a di recti on paral l el to the ti p and
towards i ts open contact end.
Af ter the probe ti ps have been i nspected f or any si gns of damage and cl eaned,
a pl anari ty check must be made between the probes and the ul tra-f l at surf ace of
the waf er chuck. A contact substrate, consi sti ng of a pol i shed al umi na waf er wi th
def i ned areas of patterned gol d, i s used to test that al l three of the probe ti p contacts
(e.g. ground–si gnal –ground) make cl ear and even marki ngs i n the gol d. Once thi s
procedure i s compl ete, the probe ti p contacts can be cl eaned of any resi dual gol d by
si mpl y probi ng onto theexposed, un-metal l i sed, areas of al umi na. Thi s i s parti cul arl y
i mportant f or tungsten contacts, because tungsten oxi di ses, and theref ore the contact
resi stance woul d otherwi se i ncrease. However, thi s i s not the case f or BeCu contacts
as they do not oxi di se.
Probe stati ons use a one-ti er cal i brati on procedure, wi th the standards l ocated
ei ther on an i mpedance standard substrate (I SS) or on the test waf er. Wi th a preci si on
I SS, the standards can be f abri cated to much ti ghter tol erances. For exampl e, a pai r
of 100 resi stors are used to i mpl ement the CPW 50 l oad ref erence i mpedance.
Here, these resi stors can be l aser-tri mmed to achi eve an al most exact val ue of 50 ,
but at DC onl y. For D- and G-band operati on, i n order to reduce the eff ects of modi ng
f rom the undersi de of the cal i brati on substrate, Cascade Mi crotech produce a 250 µm
thi n I SS that, when used i n conj uncti on wi th thei r I SS absorber bl ocks, drasti cal l y
reduces the eff ects of substrate modi ng.
I t shoul d be noted, however, that i f a cal i brati on i s perf ormed usi ng a 635 µm
thi ck al umi na I SS and the veri f i cati on i s perf ormed usi ng 200 µm thi ck GaAs
on-waf er standards (whi ch i s a real i sti c measurement scenari o), then probl ems may
be encountered at mi l l i metri c f requenci es. Thi s i s because the probe-to-I SS i nterf ace
i s el ectromagneti cal l y di ff erent f rom that of the probe-to-waf er i nterf ace. As a resul t,
even though the speci f i cati ons f or correspondi ng cal i brati on and veri f i cati on stan-
dards may be i denti cal , thei r measured characteri sti cs may di ff er si gni f i cantl y. For
thi s reason, the use of on-waf er standards i s by f ar the best choi ce. Thi s i s because
the probe-to-waf er i nterf ace can be el ectromagneti cal l y the same f or cal i brati on,
veri f i cati on and al l subsequent measurements. Moreover, on-chi p l aunch transi ti on
di sconti nui ti es (e.g. probe pads and thei r transmi ssi on l i nes) can be treated as part of
the overal l measurement system to be cal i brated. I deal l y, the ref erence pl anes wi thi n
the on-waf er standards shoul d have the same l i ne geometri es as those at the on-chi p
238 Mi crowave measurements
DUT. The UK Nati onal Physi cal Laboratory (NPL) and the US Nati onal I nsti tute of
Standards and Technol ogy (NI ST) have devel oped GaAs I SS waf ers wi th cal i brati on
standards and veri f i cati on components of certi f i ed qual i ty [ 47,48] .
There are a number of cal i brati on techni ques that are used f or on-waf er measure-
ments [ 44,47–52] . The SOLT techni que i s not used at upper-mi crowave f requenci es
dueto thepoor qual i ty of pl anar open standards. For TRL, theref l ect standards(ei ther
an open or short ci rcui t) must be i denti cal at both ports, but they can be non-i deal and
unknown. The TRL techni que al so requi res a mi ni mum of two transmi ssi on l i nes.
Theref erencei mpedancei staken f rom thecharacteri sti c i mpedance, Z
0
, of thesel i nes
[ 53] . Si nce a 50 l oad i s not requi red f or TRL cal i brati on, onl y transmi ssi on l i ne
standards are needed, and these are easi l y real i sabl e on-waf er. I n practi ce, i n order to
cover a usef ul f requency range, i t i s necessary to empl oy a number of di ff erent del ay
l i ne l engths to overcome phase ambi gui ty at al l the measurement f requenci es. Thi s
means that the probe separati on has to be adj usted duri ng the cal i brati on procedure.
For many appl i cati ons such as automated test systems thi s i s a maj or l i mi tati on, and
f or these appl i cati ons the l i ne-ref l ect-match (LRM) cal i brati on [ 49] i s pref erred to
TRL. The mul ti pl e CPW del ay l i nes requi red wi th the TRL cal i brati on are eff ecti vel y
repl aced by the CPW 50 l oad, to theoreti cal l y represent an i nf i ni tel y l ong del ay
l i ne. Thi s resul ts i n the f ol l owi ng advantages:
(1) an ul tra-wi deband cal i brati on can be achi eved (e.g. DC to 120 GHz),
(2) the probes can be set i n a f i xed posi ti on,
(3) automati c cal i brati on routi nes can be appl i ed,
(4) ref l ecti ons and unwanted modes i n l ong CPW del ay l i nes are avoi ded and
(5) a consi derabl e savi ng of waf er/I SS area can be made.
Wi th SOLT and LRM, theaccuracy to whi ch thel oad i sknown di rectl y determi nesthe
accuracy of themeasurement. I n other words, perf ect model s arerequi red f or thel oad
i mpedances. These l oads i nevi tabl y have some parasi ti c shunt capaci tance (whi ch i s
equi val ent to havi ng negati ve seri es i nductance), and f urthermore, have f requency-
dependent resi stance due to the ‘ ski n eff ect’ . I n addi ti on, wi th mi crostri p technol ogy
therewi l l besi gni f i cant seri esi nductanceassoci ated wi th theshort and l oad standards.
Cascade’ s l i ne-ref l ect-ref l ect-match (LRRM) cal i brati on i s a more accurate versi on
of the standard LRM cal i brati on, i n whi ch l oad-i nductance correcti on i s i ncorporated
by i ncl udi ng an extra ref l ecti on standard.
NI ST recentl y rel eased some publ i c domai n sof tware on the worl dwi de web
cal l ed Mul ti Cal ™. Thi s sof tware provi des a new method f or the accurate cal i bra-
ti on of VNAs [ 21–23] . Here, mul ti pl e and redundant standards are used to mi ni mi se
the eff ects of random errors caused by i mperf ect contact repeatabi l i ty. Moreover,
wi th spl i t-band methods (e.g. LRL and TRL), the cal i brati on di sconti nui ti es at the
f requency break poi nts can be el i mi nated. Wi th Mul ti Cal ™-TRL, onl y the physi cal
l engths of thestandards and theDC measurement of thel i neresi stanceper uni t l ength
(by appl yi ng a l east-square error f i t to the mul ti pl e shorted l i ne l engths) are requi red.
The Z
0
of the l i nes can then be determi ned and subsequent measurements can be
renormal i sed to the 50 measurement ref erence i mpedance.
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 239
For theul ti matei n ul tra-wi deband cal i brati on, veri f i cati on and measurement accu-
racy, there i s strong support f or havi ng Mul ti Cal ™-TRL cal i brati on f or f requenci es
above a f ew gi gahertz (say 1 GHz), combi ned wi th LRM f or the f requenci es bel ow
1 GHz, usi ng on-waf er standards. The LRM’ s standards shoul d be characteri sed
at DC and at 1 GHz (usi ng Mul ti Cal ™-TRL); conventi onal model l i ng techni ques
can be used to i nterpol ate the resul ts. A recent compari son was made between the
cal i brati on coeff i ci entsobtai ned f rom aNI ST mul ti l i necal i brati on and thoseobtai ned
f rom an assortment of other techni ques; the resul ts are shown i n Fi gure 11.12.
A two-port probe stati on tradi ti onal l y uses a 12-term error model , al though a
16-term error model has been i ntroduced that requi res f i ve two-port cal i brati on
standards [ 54] . Thi s more accurate model can correct f or poor groundi ng and the
addi ti onal l eakage paths and coupl i ng eff ects encountered wi th open-ai r probi ng.
Wi th the extremel y hi gh l evel s of accuracy that are possi bl e wi th modern probe sta-
ti ons, the eff ects of cal i brati on errors become more noti ceabl e. Cal i brati on errors can
resul t f rom the f ol l owi ng (i n the order of greatest si gni f i cance):
(1) probe pl acement errors – posi ti on, pressure and pl anari ty vari ati ons;
(2) degradati on wi th use i n the probe ti ps and the standards’ probe pads surf ace
wave eff ects on cal i brati ons [ 55] ; and
(3) I SS manuf acturi ng vari ati ons.
I t has been f ound that the eff ects of probe mi spl acement are greatl y reduced when
cal i brati on i s carri ed out on an automated probe. Cascade Mi crotech produce an
automated cal i brati on package, cal l ed Wi nCal , whi ch al l ows f ul l automati on of the
cal i brati on on a Cascade semi -automati c probe stati on, such as the Summi t 12000
or the 300 mm S300. Manual cal i brati on i s al so possi bl e. Wi nCal i ncorporates al l
the mai n f ami l y of cal i brati ons (e.g. TRL, SOLT, LRM and al so has LRM/LRRM
Fi gure 11.12 Compar i son of cal i br ati on coeffi ci ents obtai ned from LRRM, LRM,
SOLT and NI ST mul ti l i ne
240 Mi crowave measurements
wi th auto l oad i nductance compensati on). Another routi ne, cal l ed Short Open Load
Ref l ect, i s i ncl uded that al l ows accurate cal i brati on to be conducted wi th non-i deal
through-l i ne standards. Such si tuati ons are al most unavoi dabl e when devi ce ports
are orthogonal i n nature. Wi nCal has the abi l i ty to measure, record and di spl ay
S-parameters i n a vari ety of f ormats and al so carry out compensati on to remove
the eff ects of pad parasi ti cs. A stabi l i ty checker i s al so provi ded i n order to determi ne
the val i di ty of the cal i brati on at any gi ven moment.
Wi th the extremel y hi gh l evel of measurement accuracy that can be achi eved,
the eff ects of on-chi p l aunch transi ti on di sconti nui ti es can be si gni f i cant above a
f ew gi gahertz. So f ar, i t has been assumed that the eff ects of probe pads and thei r
associ ated transmi ssi on l i nes have been cal i brated out. Here, the on-waf er cal i brati on
standards woul d have the same l aunch transi ti on di sconti nui ti es as the on-chi p DUT.
However, eff ecti vede-embeddi ng techni quescan sti l l beperf ormed wi thi n theMMI C.
I f ECMs are to be empl oyed, the f oundry that f abri cates the MMI C shoul d provi de
very accuratemodel s f or probepads and transmi ssi on l i nes. Themetrol ogi st must use
these f oundry-speci f i c model s to determi ne the actual measurements of the on-chi p
DUT. When de-embeddi ng i s perf ormed usi ng equi val ent ci rcui t model l i ng, these
f oundry-speci f i c model s can be easi l y i ncorporated i nto conventi onal F-D si mul ati on
sof tware packages.
11.3.3 Measurement er ror s
Even when the system has been successf ul l y cal i brated, measurement errors (or
uncertai nty) can sti l l occur. Some of the more common sources of errors are as
f ol l ows:
(1) probe pl acement errors,
(2) temperature vari ati on between cal i brati on and measurement,
(3) cabl e-shi f t i nduced phase errors between cal i brati on and measurement,
(4) radi ati on i mpedance changes due to the probes/waf er chuck movi ng,
(5) matri x renormal i sati on not bei ng perf ormed wi th mul ti pl e port MMI Cs,
(6) resonant coupl i ng of the probes i nto adj acent structures [ 56] ,
(7) l ow f requency changes i n the characteri sti c i mpedance and eff ecti ve permi t-
ti vi ty of both mi crostri p and CPW transmi ssi on l i nes [ 56] and
(8) opti cal l y i nduced measurement anomal i es associ ated wi th vol tage-tunabl e
anal ogue-control l ed MMI Cs [ 57] .
11.3.4 DC bi asi ng
Dependi ng on the nature and compl exi ty of the devi ce or ci rcui t under test, DC bi as
can be appl i ed to an MMI C i n a number of ways:
(1) through the RF probes, vi a bi as-tees i n the VNA’ s test set;
(2) through si ngl e DC needl es mounted on probe stati on posi ti oners; and
(3) wi th mul ti pl e DC needl es attached to a DC probe card, whi ch may i n turn be
mounted on a posi ti oner.
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 241
The DC probe needl e has si gni f i cant i nductance, and as a resul t, provi des RF
de-coupl i ng f or the bi as l i nes that hel ps to prevent stabi l i ty probl ems. However, addi -
ti onal off -chi p de-coupl i ng capaci tors and resi stors can usual l y beadded to thecard to
f urther mi ni mi setheri sk of unwanted osci l l ati ons. Wi th bi as-teesand DC needl es, the
maxi mum DC bi as vol tage and current are approxi matel y 40 V and 500 mA, respec-
ti vel y. Wi th mul ti pl e DC needl es, standard i n-house DC f ootpri nts are recommended
wherever possi bl e, i n order to provi de card re-use. Thi s wi l l reduce measurement
costs consi derabl y. There i s a l i mi t to the maxi mum number of needl es per card, but
ten i s typi cal . One needl e i s normal l y requi red to provi de a ground ref erence.
11.3.5 MMI C l ayout consi der ati ons
The f oundry’ s desi gn gui del i nes wi l l def i ne a mi ni mum di stance between the centres
of probe pad vi as and the mi ni mum di stance f rom the vi as to the edge of the MMI C’ s
acti ve area. General l y, a parti cul ar company or i nsti tute may standardi se on a certai n
pad si ze and pi tch f or a parti cul ar probe ti p speci f i cati on. I n order to save expensi ve
chi p area, probi ng di rectl y onto vi a-hol e grounds i s tempti ng. However, the probe ti p
contacts may puncture the gol d pads on top of the vi a-hol es, whi ch coul d damage the
probe ti ps and destroy the MMI C. Whi l e on-vi a probi ng can be used, i n pri nci pl e,
i t i s l i kel y that the chi p woul d f ai l a subsequent QA i nspecti on. As a resul t, when
desi gni ng MMI Cs f or on-waf er probed measurement, i t i s i mportant to consul t the
f oundry desi gn gui del i nes f or the probe pad speci f i cati ons.
The l ocati on and ori entati on of the probe pads must al so be consi dered. I f the
pads associ ated wi th one port are too cl ose to those of another port, the very f ragi l e
probe ti ps are at ri sk of severe damage i f they acci dental l y touch one another duri ng
the probe al i gnment procedure. The mi ni mum separati on di stance between probe ti ps
i s determi ned by the desi gn rul e on probe pad spaci ng (typi cal l y 250 µm wi th vi as
or 200 µm wi thout vi as, dependi ng on the thi ckness of the chi p). Moreover, i f the
spaci ng between port padsi sl essthan 200 µm, therecoul d besi gni f i cant measurement
errors due to RF crosstal k eff ects between probes. Fi nal l y, i f three or f our RF probe
posi ti oners are attached to the probe stati on then they wi l l be ori ented orthogonal to
one another. As a resul t, the RF probe pads f or a three- or f our-port MMI C must al so
be orthogonal to one another.
On the MMI C, l aunch transi ti ons are requi red to i nterf ace between the probes
and the DUT. I n many cases, the DUT i s i n the mi crostri p medi um, and so transi ti ons
f rom CPW-to-mi crostri p must be empl oyed bef ore and af ter the DUT. Wi th ref erence
to Fi gure 11.13a, mi crostri p l aunchers requi re through-GaAs vi as to provi de a l ow
i nductance earth path f rom the probe to the MMI C’ s backsi de metal l i sati on l ayer.
A mi crostri p l auncher shoul d be l ong enough f or the hi gher-order evanescent modes,
resul ti ng f rom theCPW-to-mi crostri p transi ti on, to besuff i ci entl y attenuated and have
mi ni mum i nteracti on wi th the DUT. As a rul e of thumb, the mi crostri p l aunchers
shoul d i deal l y have a l ength of three to f our ti mes the substrate thi ckness. Wi th
ref erence to Fi gure 11.13b, when the DUT i s i n the CPW medi um, through-GaAs
vi as are not requi red and a matched taper f rom the probe pads to the DUT i s used.
Even though thi s taper i s very short, i f the 50 characteri sti c i mpedance i s not
mai ntai ned throughout the transi ti on, si gni f i cant parasi ti c capaci tance or i nductance
242 Mi crowave measurements
P
r
o
b
e

t
i
p



Via to
ground
G
G
S
G
S
G
Source
Source
Drain
G
S
G
G
S
G
Source
Source
Drain
(a) (b) (c)
Fi gure 11.13 Common l auncher techni ques: (a) mi crostr i p, (b) copl anar wavegui de
and (c) di rect probi ng onto a FET devi ce
can be i ntroduced. I n speci al cases, l aunchers are not requi red at al l f or some devi ces.
One exampl e of thi s i s wi th a si mpl e FET structure, as shown i n Fi gure 11.13c,
where two GSG probes are pl aced di rectl y onto the source–gate–source and source–
drai n–source pads. Thi s approach el i mi nates the need f or de-embeddi ng the eff ects
of l aunchers f rom the measurements, but the eff ects of the bond pads shoul d sti l l
be consi dered. At thi s poi nt, i t i s i mportant to note that f or f requenci es above a f ew
gi gahertz, the equi val ent ci rcui t model of a devi ce that has been characteri sed i n one
medi um (e.g. mi crostri p or CPW) shoul d onl y be used i n ci rcui ts desi gned i n the
same medi um.
Si ngl e devi ces such as transi stors and di odes can be bi ased through the bi as-tees
of the network anal yser. However, i n order to test a compl ete ci rcui t usi ng a probe
stati on, speci al consi derati on has to be gi ven to the l ayout of the DC bi as pads and the
desi gn of the bi as networks. When usi ng DC needl es to bi as a ci rcui t, the f ol l owi ng
poi nts shoul d be consi dered:
(1) The f oundry may i mpose mi ni mum pad si zes and centre-to-centre pi tch.
(2) For ease of DC probe card f abri cati on and probe al i gnment, the DC probe
pads shoul d be arranged i n a l i near array al ong the edge of the chi p’ s acti ve
area, and shoul d be kept away f rom the RF pads. A common method i s to
have the RF probe pads on the east and west edges of the chi p, and the DC
bi as pads on the north and/or south edges. I f l ayout constrai nts suggest that
orthogonal RF i nputs and outputs woul d be more conveni ent, f i rst check that
sui tabl e posi ti oners are avai l abl e.
(3) The bi as networks of the ci rcui t shoul d be model l ed separatel y to ensure that
osci l l ati ons wi l l not occur. Off -chi p de-coupl i ng capaci tors cannot al ways be
pl aced as near to the chi p as they can be i n a test f i xture.
(4) Hi gh-val ue resi stors can be added on-chi p to prevent RF l eakage and catas-
trophi c f ai l ureresul ti ng f rom excessf orward bi asi ng of di odesand transi stors.
Wi th varactor di odes, col d-FETs and swi tchi ng-FETs, a trade-off may have
to be made i n the val ue of these bi as resi stors. I f the resi stance i s too smal l
there may not be enough RF i sol ati on. I f the resi stance i s too hi gh the max-
i mum swi tchi ng speed may not be reached, due to an excessi ve R-C ti me
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 243
constant. I n practi ce, a mi ni mum resi stance val ue of approxi matel y 300
shoul d suff i ce f or most appl i cati ons.
11.3.6 Low-cost mul ti pl e DC bi asi ng techni que
Conventi onal DC probe cards may need to be repl aced f or every new MMI C desi gn,
unl ess standard DC probe f ootpri nts can be used. Thi s throwaway approach i s very
costl y, especi al l y when the DC probe cards are suppl i ed by a commerci al vendor
(as automated and preci si on manuf acturi ng techni ques general l y have to be used f or
al i gni ng mul ti pl e needl es). Moreover, the cost of the cards i ncreases wi th the number
of needl es, as the i ndi vi dual needl es are themsel ves preci si on-made components.
A f l exi bl e, l ow-cost techni que has been devel oped f or provi di ng an experi men-
tal acti ve f i l ter wi th mul ti pl e DC bi as connecti ons [ 58] . The MMI C i s attached to
a gol d-pl ated chi p carri er usi ng conducti ve epoxy gl ue. An array of si ngl e-l ayer
mi crowave capaci tors i s then attached to the chi p carri er i n cl ose proxi mi ty to the
MMI C. BAR-CAPS™, made by Di el ectri c Labs I nc., are i deal f or thi s purpose si nce
they are avai l abl e as si ngl e-chi p stri ps of three, f our or si x 100 pF shunt capaci tors,
each havi ng a probeabl e area of approxi matel y 650 × 325 µm
2
and separated by
approxi matel y 170 µm. A gol d bond wi re i s then used to connect the MMI C’ s DC
probe pad to i ts off -chi p capaci tor.
As an exampl e of thi s techni que, a mi crophotograph of the experi mental MMI C,
requi ri ng 15 DC bi as l i nes, i s shown i n Fi gure 11.14.
I t hasbeen f ound that thi sl ow-cost sol uti on hasanumber of i mportant advantages
f or use i n the R & D l aboratory.
(1) The hi gh-i nductance bond wi res and off -chi p de-coupl i ng capaci tors mi n-
i mi se the ri sk of unwanted osci l l ati ons.
(2) When desi gni ng the MMI C l ayout, the DC probe pads do not need to be
arranged i n a l i near array al ong the edges of the chi p. Thi s provi des greater
desi gn l ayout f l exi bi l i ty.
(3) The l i near array of off -chi p capaci tors automati cal l y provi des a standard
i n-house DC f ootpri nt, reduci ng l ong-term measurement costs consi derabl y.
(4) Theprobeabl eareaof theoff -chi p capaci tors i s approxi matel y 15 ti mes l arger
than that of the MMI C probe pads and the capaci tors can wi thstand greater
mechani cal f orces. As aresul t, i n-houseDC probecards can bemadeby hand
because of the rel axati on i n manuf acturi ng preci si on, reduci ng short-term
costs consi derabl y.
11.3.7 Upper -mi l l i metre-wave measurements
The past f ew years have seen consi derabl e devel opments i n the proposed uses of the
mi l l i metri c f requency range above 75 GHz f or new ci vi l appl i cati ons; f or exampl e,
col l i si on avoi danceradar at 77 GHz. Al so, the94 GHz band i sno l onger domi nated by
mi l i tary appl i cati ons. Hi gh-resol uti on radi ometri c i magi ng at 94 and 140 GHz has a
number of i mportant appl i cati ons, i ncl udi ng ai rcraf t l andi ng systems, f i ndi ng vi cti ms
trapped i n f i res and l ocati ng conceal ed weapons wi thout theuseof X-rays. Ul tra-hi gh
244 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 11.14 Mi crophotogr aph of an exper i mental MMI C wi th mul ti pl e DC bi asi ng
usi ng the l ow-cost techni que [ 58]
data rate opti cal communi cati ons – usi ng a ‘ radi o-f i bre’ system at 180 GHz – coul d
transf orm the way domesti c computer networks are di stri buted. Future EC di rec-
ti ves on envi ronmental ai r pol l uti on moni tori ng wi l l requi re cheap hi gh-perf ormance
terahertz sensors to be mass-produced. Sensors f or sub-cel l ul ar probi ng are openi ng
up new areas of medi cal research. Fi nal l y, passi ve taggi ng/i denti f i cati on systems are
possi bl e, whi ch areboth easy to conceal and extremel y di ff i cul t to f orge. Wi th most (i f
not al l ) of these appl i cati ons, monol i thi c technol ogy wi l l be sought. To thi s end, there
have been maj or advances i n both hi gh el ectron mobi l i ty transi stor (HEMT) and het-
eroj uncti on bi pol ar transi stor (HBT) technol ogi es, both of whi ch haveattai ned val ues
of f
max
greater than 500 GHz [ 59,60] .
Today, VNAs are commerci al l y avai l abl e that can operate i n ei ther broadband
or banded conf i gurati ons up to 110 GHz. The Agi l ent Technol ogi es N5250 and the
Anri tsu ME7808B are exampl es of two broadband VNAs that are abl e to measure
smal l -si gnal S-parameters f rom about 45 MHz to 110 GHz i n a si ngl e-sweep. Both
systems use coaxi al cabl es between the test-sets and the probes.
As f requency i ncreases, the combi ned l osses of al l the components between the
test-sets’ ref l ectometers and the MMI C under test (e.g. test-set combi ners, transmi s-
si on l i nes, probes, transi ti ons and connectors) al so i ncrease. As a resul t, the overal l
system suff ers f rom a reducti on i n both accuracy and stabi l i ty [ 61] . The Anri tsu 360B
empl oys two test-sets: onerack-mounted (operati ng f rom 40 MHz to 67 GHz) and the
other mounted on the probe stati on (operati ng f rom 67 to 110 GHz). Here, a test-set
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 245
combi ner (or f orward wave MUX coupl er) i s used to combi ne the si gnal s f rom both
test-sets. The drawback wi th thi s approach i s the consi derabl e l osses associ ated wi th
test-set combi ners, whi ch wi l l degrade the eff ecti ve di recti vi ty, source match and
f requency tracki ng of the system at W-band. Ul ti matel y, thi s wi l l have an i mpact on
thequal i ty of cal i brati ons and thesystem’ s abi l i ty to hol d acal i brati on i n thepresence
of dri f t. The Agi l ent Technol ogi es 8510XF mi ni mi ses thi s probl em by removi ng the
need f or a test-set combi ner. Here, ul tra-broadband (45 MHz to 110 GHz) di recti onal
coupl ers are uti l i sed to create a si ngl e test-set [ 61] .
I n order to mi ni mi sethel osses between thetest-set’ s ref l ectometer and theMMI C
under test, abanded VNA i spref erred. Thi scan uti l i secoaxi al cabl esup to W-band and
metal -pi perectangul ar wavegui desat and/or aboveW-band. TheUK’ sNati onal Phys-
i cal Laboratory hasrecentl y establ i shed anew pri mary nati onal standard measurement
f aci l i ty f or S-parameters wi th rectangul ar wavegui de operati ng over the f requency
range of 75–110 GHz, usi ng such a banded VNA system [ 62] . Thi s f aci l i ty represents
a si gni f i cant extensi on to the exi sti ng UK nati onal standards f or S-parameter and
i mpedance measurements [ 63] .
To date, there are sti l l no traceabl e standards f or on-waf er measurements above
75 GHz, f rom ei ther NPL or NI ST. Thi si sdueto amul ti tudeof i ssues(e.g. mechani cal
preci si on, mul ti -modi ng, radi ati on eff ects, di el ectri c and surf ace wave propagati on,
ohmi c l osses i n the di el ectri c and anomal ous ski n-eff ect l osses i n the conductors)
associ ated wi th accurate cal i brati on and veri f i cati on measurements usi ng non-i deal
standards. However, there i s a great deal of experi mental work bei ng undertaken to
f i nd the opti mum cal i brati on strategy f or W-band [ 64–66] .
Wi th the ever-i ncreasi ng i nterest i n perf ormi ng on-waf er measurements above
110 GHz, Ol eson Mi crowave Laboratori es I nc. can now suppl y f requency extensi on
modul es f or thecommerci al market to i ncl udethef ol l owi ng wavegui debands: WR-8
f or F-band (90–140 GHz) [ 67] ; WR-5 f or G-band (140–220 GHz); and WR-3 f or
H-band (220–325 GHz). Cascade Mi crotech and GGB I ndustri es suppl y the I nf i ni ty
and Pi coprobe™ on-waf er probes, respecti vel y, f or f requenci es up to 220 GHz.
I n addi ti on to these commerci al systems, the Uni versi ty of Kent has devel oped
an experi mental passi ve on-waf er probi ng system. Here, ul tra-l ow l oss PTFE di el ec-
tri c wavegui des are used to avoi d the probl em of the ski n-eff ect al together [ 68–72] .
The di el ectri c wavegui de has been used to i mpl ement the mul ti state ref l ectometer,
i nterconnecti ng transmi ssi on l i nes, and even the on-waf er probes. I n pri nci pl e, thi s
system can operate f rom 118 to 178 GHz [ 72] . However, the ul ti mate chal l enge i s
to remove al l the l osses between the test-set’ s ref l ectometer and MMI C under test.
I n an experi mental set-up, a f ul l two-port VNA has been i mpl emented wi th acti ve
probes, enabl i ng S-parameter measurements to be made f rom DC up to 120 GHz
[ 73] . Here, hi gh-speed non-l i near transmi ssi on l i ne (NLTL)-gated di recti onal T-D
ref l ectometers (whi ch are essenti al l y di recti onal sampl ers) were real i sed usi ng GaAs
MMI C technol ogy [ 74] . More recentl y, a 70–230 GHz VNA has been demonstrated
that al so empl oys MMI C ref l ectometers l ocated on the on-waf er probes [ 75,76] . The
NLTL-based acti veprobesserveasS-parameter test-setsf or theAgi l ent Technol ogi es
8510 VNA. Usi ng the Agi l ent Technol ogi es 8510XF system, good agreement has
been demonstrated f rom 70 to 120 GHz [ 75] .
246 Mi crowave measurements
11.4 T her mal and cr yogenic measur ements
11.4.1 Ther mal measurements
I n real -l i f e appl i cati ons, mi crowave ci rcui ts can be exposed to temperatures other
than ambi ent room temperature (i .e. 23

C or approxi matel y 296 K). For exampl e,
some components i n geostati onary orbi ti ng satel l i tes (e.g. wi thi n the antenna sub-
system) may be peri odi cal l y exposed to temperatures rangi ng f rom −150 to +80

C,
dependi ng on the amount of vi si bl e sunl i ght, the l evel s of l ocal i sed heat generated
wi thi n the satel l i te and the eff ecti veness of the thermal control sub-system. Al so,
Gunn di odes can have j uncti on temperatures i n excess of +200

C. At the other
extreme, cryogeni cal l y cool ed LNAs can operate at −196

C, wi th a l i qui d ni trogen
cryogen havi ng a boi l i ng poi nt temperature of 77 K.
Duri ng the devel opment of a sub-system, the l evel s of perf ormance degradati on
whi l e operati ng over a predef i ned temperature range must be known. There-
f ore, the temperature-dependent characteri sti cs of al l the MMI C components that
make up a sub-system must be determi ned. Once the compl ete sub-system has
been assembl ed, temperature-cycl i ng i s perf ormed so that the measured l evel s of
perf ormance degradati on can be compared wi th those predi cted duri ng si mul ati on.
The Cascade Mi crotech Summi t S300-863 semi -automati c probi ng system, i n
conj uncti on wi th the Mi crochamber ™ encl osure, enabl es very f ast set-up and
measurements to be perf ormed up to 110 GHz i n a dark, temperature control l ed and
el ectromagneti c i nterf erence-i sol ated envi ronment. The Summi t S300-973 thermal
probi ng system [ 77] can be seen i n Fi gure 11.15.
The MMI C under test si ts on a temperature control l ed waf er chuck, whi ch can
be subj ected to temperatures rangi ng f rom −65 to +200

C or f rom 0 to +300

C.
Acrossthesetemperatureranges, theparameter val ueswi thi n, say, aFET’ sequi val ent
ci rcui t model exhi bi t a l i near temperature dependency. Here, al l the resi sti ve and
capaci ti ve el ements have a posi ti ve temperature coeff i ci ent, whi l e I
ds
, g
m
and f
T
have negati ve temperature coeff i ci ents. Al so, as the temperature drops, the gai n of
an acti ve devi ce can i ncrease si gni f i cantl y. Theref ore, to ensure l i near operati on, and
thus avoi d osci l l ati on, the i nput RF power l evel s need to be reduced accordi ngl y.
Al so, i f the RF probes and cabl es exhi bi t l arge temperature gradi ents, si gni f i cant
phase changes wi l l be f ound, even at l ow mi crowave f requenci es. As a resul t, an ai r
f l ow purge i s i ntroduced i nto the chamber i n order to mi ni mi se the thermal coupl i ng
between the chuck and the probe/connector/cabl es. The ai r-f l ow purge al so creates
a dry, f rost-f ree envi ronment. The system i s cal i brated f or every new waf er chuck
temperature setti ng. An LRRM cal i brati on i s used, wi th the I SS l ocated on a separate
thermal l y i sol ated stage. The at-temperature cal i brati on procedure can be perf ormed
15 mi n af ter the chuck temperature has been changed. Thi s short wai t corresponds to
approxi matel y three thermal ti me constants f or the probe/connector/cabl e assembl y.
Si nceal l but thematched l oad i mpedancestandardsarei nsensi ti veto temperature, the
I SSchuck temperature can be set at −5

C, f or a waf er chuck temperature of −65

C.
Thi s approach resul ts i n l ess than a 1 per cent error i n measurements between DC and
65 GHz.
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 247
Fi gure 11.15 Photogr aph of the Summi t S300-973 ther mal probi ng system, capabl e
of over temper ature measurements from −65 to 200

C
As a waf er chuck changes temperature i t expands or contracts. For exampl e, the
total chuck expansi on, f rom −65 to +200

C, can be about 230 µm. As a resul t,
probe pl acement errors wi l l become si gni f i cant. Theref ore, at each temperature, the
overtravel of theprobeti psmay need to beadj usted. I n addi ti on, asthewaf er di ameter
changeswi th temperature, therewi l l besmal l changesi n thespaci ng between devi ces.
Cascade Mi crotech’ s Summi t seri es of semi -automati c thermal probe stati ons i ncl ude
control sof tware that automati cal l y compensates f or such changes. Thi s mi ni mi ses
the i mpact of measurement accuracy.
Cascade Mi crotech now has a new mi croscopy system cal l ed Evue. Thi s enabl es
the contact hei ght to be adj usted dynami cal l y to ensure that the chuck i s mai ntai ned
at a constant hei ght. Thi s has the potenti al to enabl e f ul l y automati c over temperature
probi ng. Moreover, the technol ogy empl oyed i n thi s system al l ows f or an extremel y
l arge f i el d of vi ew that can be zoomed i nto a f ar smal l er f i el d of vi ew at a si ngl e
sof tware command.
11.4.2 Cr yogeni c measurements
Cryogeni c hybri d MI Cs, empl oyi ng hi gh-perf ormance acti ve semi conductor and
passi ve superconductor components, are bei ng more wi del y used i n appl i cati ons
rangi ng f rom radi o astronomy, to spacecommuni cati ons, to medi cal nucl ear magneti c
248 Mi crowave measurements
resonance scanners. Theref ore, i t i s i mportant to be abl e to determi ne the cryogeni c
temperature characteri sti cs of these components [ 3–5,78–82] . At cryogeni c temper-
atures, the noi se f i gures of conventi onal GaAs transi stors are reduced dramati cal l y
f rom thei r ambi ent room temperature val ues. For exampl e, at 10 GHz the measured
noi se f i gure of a typi cal 0.6 × 100 µm MESFET i s 0.8 dB at 300 K and onl y 0.4 dB
at 35 K [ 80] . Wi th HEMT technol ogy, el ectron mobi l i ty can i ncrease by a f actor
of 5 when the l atti ce temperature i s reduced f rom 300 to 77 K [ 80] , resul ti ng i n a
consi derabl e i mprovement i n gai n and noi se perf ormance. Furthermore, measure-
ments made at temperatures as l ow as 10 K may provi de i nf ormati on that can gi ve
a uni que i nsi ght i nto the physi cs of experi mental devi ces. Al so, i n addi ti on to the
advances bei ng made i n new semi conductor devi ces, there i s consi derabl e i nterest
i n the devel opments of ul tra-l ow l oss hi gh temperature superconducti ng mi crowave
components that currentl y have to be ref ri gerated bel ow around 100 K.
The f i rst mi crowave test f i xture to be used i n cryogeni c measurements was
reported i n 1976 [ 3] . The f i xture was desi gned to be i mmersed i n l i qui d ni trogen
(LN
2
), whi ch has a boi l i ng poi nt of 77 K. Thi s approach suff ers f rom the probl ems
of poor accuracy and poor repeatabi l i ty due to the changi ng temperature gradi -
ents exhi bi ted by the cabl e/connector/l auncher assembl y, and requi res a compl i cated
cal i brati on procedure. Accurate measurements have been reported usi ng a TRL cal -
i brated spl i t-bl ock test f i xture mounted on the col d-head of an RMC Cr yosystems™
LTS-22-I R hel i um ref ri gerator [ 5] . Thi s approach enabl es smal l -si gnal S-parameter
measurements to be made at 300 and 77 K.
Cryogeni c probe stati ons have ei ther the MMI C under test and the probes
i mmersed i n l i qui d ni trogen or a l i qui d cryogen-cool ed copper stage wi th a dry
ni trogen vapour curtai n. The f ormer approach suff ers f rom poor repeatabi l i ty (due
to varyi ng amounts of LN
2
), a short measurement durati on (i n order to l i mi t the
bui l d-up of i ce f ormati on) and a l i mi ted l i f eti me due to the degradati on of the probes
i n contact wi th the LN
2
. Wi th the l atter approach, accuracy i s l i mi ted by mechan-
i cal stress, caused by the l arge thermal gradi ents between the mi crowave hardware
and the MMI C under test. Al so, rel i abi l i ty i s l i mi ted by moi sture and the bui l d-up
of i ce, whi ch i ncreases the wear and tear on mani pul ators and requi res extensi ve
re-pl anari sati on of the mechani cal apparatus. Researchers at the Uni versi ty of I l l i -
noi s have, however, demonstrated the desi gn and operati on of a cryogeni c vacuum
mi crowave probe stati on, f or the measurement of S-parameters f rom DC to 65 GHz,
whi ch mi ni mi ses the probl ems of l i mi ted accuracy and repeatabi l i ty [ 80] . Wi thi n a
vacuum chamber, the vacuum probe stati on has hi gh-f requency CPW probes con-
nected to cabl e f eeds vi a a custom bel l ows and mani pul ator system. A l i qui d hel i um
cryogen, wi th a boi l i ng poi nt temperature of 4.2 K, enabl es measurements to be
perf ormed at temperatures as l ow as 20 K. The copper stage i s conti nual l y f ed
wi th l i qui d cryogen, and the system i s then l ef t to stand f or 15–20 mi n i n order to
achi eve temperature equi l i bri um. Once the at-temperature cal i brati on has been per-
f ormed, the actual devi ce measurements can be taken f or up to 4 h bef ore havi ng to
recal i brate.
Today, compl ete on-waf er cryogeni c characteri sati on (f rom 20 to 300 K) can be
perf ormed f or S-parameters, noi se parameters and l oad-pul l measurements [ 82] .
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 249
11.5 Exper imental field pr obing techniques
So f ar onl y i nvasi ve MMI C measurement techni ques have been di scussed, whi ch
general l y do not perf orm i nternal f uncti on and f ai l ure anal ysi s. However, one si mpl e
techni que that can perf orm such tasks i s to real i se a coaxi al probe wi th a hi gh-
i mpedance ti p. Here, a 500 resi stor i s used to create a potenti al di vi der wi th the 50
osci l l oscope. The i nternal node vol tage can be measured wi thout perturbi ng the
operati on of the ci rcui t. Thi s techni que has been demonstrated on an MMI C power
ampl i f i er [ 83] . Al ternati vel y, non-contacti ng methods al so exi st. Agai n, al l the RF
ports of the MMI C under test are termi nated wi th matched l oads. An RF si gnal i s
i nj ected i nto the MMI C’ s i nput port and a mi cron-l evel probi ng system i s used to
detect the i nternal si gnal strength. I n the case of non-contacti ng techni ques, di ff erent
types of f i el d are detected al ong transmi ssi on l i nes and at di sconti nui ti es. Fi el d prob-
i ng can detect current crowdi ng, standi ng wavesand unwanted modesof propagati on,
and S-parameters can be determi ned f rom T-D network anal ysi s measurements.
11.5.1 El ectromagneti c-fi el d probi ng
The si mpl est method of f i el d detecti on uses a semi conductor di ode. At mi crowave
f requenci es, however, i t becomes di ff i cul t to match the di ode because i ts i mpedance
vari es wi th power l evel . At l ow power l evel s, bol ometers are tradi ti onal l y empl oyed
f or use above 1 GHz. The devi ce i s si mi l ar to a thi n-f i l m resi stor, where a hi gh-
resi sti vi ty bi smuth f i l m i s evaporated onto metal l i c el ectrodes. When exposed to
mi crowave radi ati on, the bol ometer absorbs the el ectromagneti c energy and con-
verts i t i nto heat energy. As the f i l m heats up, i ts resi sti vi ty decreases. Si nce the
bol ometer i s i nherentl y a square l aw detector, the measured vol tage change across
the devi ce i s proporti onal to the change i n i nci dent RF power. I n practi ce, how-
ever, si nce the si gnal l evel s are so smal l , the i nci dent mi crowave si gnal must be
pul sed. Thi s causes the resi stance of the bol ometer to change at the pul se repeti ti on
f requency, whi ch i s usual l y bel ow 100 kHz. Wi th a DC bi as current appl i ed, the
l ow-f requency vol tage si gnal across the bol ometer i s appl i ed to a l ock-i n ampl i f i er
that acts as a coherent detector. Thi s techni que exhi bi ts a hi gh degree of sensi ti vi ty;
as an exampl e, a 4 × 5µm devi ce wi th a noi se equi val ent power of 160 pW/Hz
1/2
has been reported [ 84] . Wi th the use of conventi onal probe mi crof abri cati on tech-
ni ques, mi crobol ometers can be empl oyed to detect power l evel s as l ow as a f ew
nanowatts al ong MMI C transmi ssi on l i nes. A mi crobol ometer probe that can be used
f or mi crostri p and CPW transmi ssi on l i nes i s i l l ustrated i n Fi gure 11.16. Wi th a per-
f ectl y symmetri cal probe posi ti oned di rectl y above a CPW l i ne, the wanted CPW (or
even) modewi l l bedetected and theunwanted sl otl i ne(or odd) modewi l l not. Aswel l
as thei r si mpl e f abri cati on and cal i brati on, mi crobol ometer probes can be desi gned
to operate i n the terahertz f requency range. Unf ortunatel y, the attai nabl e stabi l i ty and
uni f ormi ty of the resi sti ve f i l m does not yet appear to be suff i ci ent f or the commerci al
producti on of these probes.
A more recent devel opment uses a di el ectri c rod probe, wi th a thi n copper stri p at
i tsend f acethat hel psto pi ck up theel ectromagneti c f i el d and coupl ei t to thedi el ectri c
250 Mi crowave measurements
Bolometer
To bias
and lock-in
amplifier
Ι Ι
Fi gure 11.16 I l l ustr ati on of an el ectromagneti c-fi el d probe
wavegui de [ 85] . Usi ng thi s techni que, measured resul ts have been demonstrated
between 200 and 220 GHz to show standi ng wavepatterns on ami smatched di el ectri c
wavegui de [ 85] .
11.5.2 Magneti c-fi el d probi ng
The si mpl est magneti c-f i el d probi ng techni que i s to connect a conventi onal spectrum
anal yser to a magneti c-f i el d probe. Usi ng waf er probe mi crof abri cati on techni ques, a
mi ni ature magneti c quadrupol e antenna can be conf i gured to match the magneti c
f i el ds associ ated wi th mi crostri p and CPW transmi ssi on l i nes, as i l l ustrated i n
Fi gure 11.17. Pl aced di rectl y above the transmi ssi on l i ne, the l i nes of magneti c
f l ux wi l l come up through one l oop and back down through the other l oop. As a
resul t, the i nduced si gnal s add. From a di stance, the probe sees a near uni f orm
magneti c f i el d whi ch i nduces si gnal s that tend to cancel each other out. I n addi -
ti on to ampl i tude, phase measurements can al so be measured. A ref erence si gnal
at the same f requency, wi th a vari abl e ampl i tude and phase, i s combi ned wi th the
measured si gnal . The measured phase i s equal to the ref erence phase when the
ampl i tude di spl ayed on the spectrum anal yser i s at i ts peak. Theref ore, the probe
can be used to measure the ampl i tude and phase of currents at any node wi thi n
an MMI C.
An experi mental system has been reported that can operate i n the 26.5–40 GHz
f requency range [ 86] . Here, a 25–50 µm separati on di stance provi des suff i ci ent
coupl i ng and di scri mi nati on, whi l e provi di ng a negl i gi bl e eff ect on the MMI C
under test. One of the maj or sources of error i s el ectrostati c pi ckup. I ncreas-
i ng the wi dth of the l oops i ncreases the rati o of magneti c to el ectri c coupl i ng,
but i t al so i ncreases the random radi ati on pi cked up f rom other ci rcui t el ements.
Reduci ng the wi dth of the metal conductors reduces capaci ti ve pi ckup, but i ncreases
the conductor’ s resi stance and sel f -i nductance. I n practi ce, an eff ecti ve method of
l i mi ti ng the errors due to el ectrostati c pi ckup i s to rotate the probe and average
the measurements. Thi s probl em can be avoi ded by havi ng j ust a si ngl e-l oop
probe [ 87] .
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 251
To spectrum analyser
Dielectric
CPW feed line
Quadrupole
antenna
Fi gure 11.17 I l l ustr ati on of a magneti c-fi el d probe
11.5.3 El ectr i c-fi el d probi ng
The si mpl est el ectri c-f i el d probi ng techni que i s to connect a conventi onal spectrum
anal yser to anear el ectri c-f i el d (i .e. capaci ti ve) probe. Thi stechni quewasf i rst demon-
strated on MI Cs i n 1979 [ 88] , but i t i s sti l l bei ng used today [ 89] . The probe can
be si mpl y real i sed by removi ng a smal l secti on of the outer screeni ng conductor and
di el ectri c f rom theend of theanal yser’ s coaxi al f eed l i ne. Unf ortunatel y, theseprobes
have si gni f i cant unwanted parasi ti c reactances at hi gh mi crowave f requenci es, whi ch
can severel y perturb the operati on of the ci rcui t under test, thus causi ng measurement
errors. However, mi cromachi ni ng techni ques can be adopted to l i mi t thi s probl em,
to real i se di pol e and monopol e antennas [ 90] . I n practi ce, thi s techni que i s onl y
accurate when used wi th shi el ded transmi ssi on l i nes. As a resul t, i t i s unsui tabl e f or
mi cron-l evel f eatures f ound i n MMI Cs.
Over the past decade, a number of al ternati ve el ectri c-f i el d probi ng techni ques
have been i nvesti gated, wi th varyi ng degrees of success.
11.5.3.1 Electr on beam pr obing
The vol tage-contrast scanni ng el ectron mi croscope (SEM) was devel oped i n the l ate
1960s f or detecti ng vol tages on the conductor tracks of i ntegrated ci rcui ts. A pul sed
el ectron beam sti mul ates secondary el ectron emi ssi ons f rom the i rradi ated surf ace
of metal s. For conductors at a negati ve potenti al , the secondary el ectrons have more
energy than f or conductors at a more posi ti ve potenti al . Commerci al SEMs suff er
f rom a poor mi l l i vol t potenti al sensi ti vi ty and l i mi ted bandwi dths of onl y a f ew
gi gahertz [ 91] , al though l arger bandwi dths have been reported [ 92] . Al so, apart f rom
i ts very hi gh compl exi ty and cost, the el ectron beam may aff ect the operati on of
GaAs MMI Cs due to chargi ng of deep l evel s i n the GaAs substrate. However, the
maj or advantage of thi s techni que i s that the attai nabl e spati al resol uti on that can be
achi eved i s i n the order of a f ew angstroms.
252 Mi crowave measurements
11.5.3.2 Photo-emissive sampling
I nstead of usi ng an el ectron beam to sti mul ate secondary el ectron emi ssi ons, another
approach uses a hi gh-i ntensi ty pul sed l aser beam to i l l umi nate the surf ace of the
metal s [ 91] . Thi s T-D sampl i ng techni que off ers an i mproved potenti al sensi ti vi ty
and a greatl y extended bandwi dth. However, as wi th the SEM, the perf ormance of
GaAs MESFETs may be aff ected by chargi ng of deep l evel traps.
11.5.3.3 Opto-electr onic sampling
Ti me-domai n network anal ysi scan beperf ormed usi ng opto-el ectroni c sampl i ng tech-
ni ques. Here, el ectri cal pul ses can be generated on an MMI C by i l l umi nati ng DC
bi ased photoconducti ve swi tches wi th a pul sed l aser beam. The opti cal exci tati on
of a photoconducti ve swi tch can al so perf orm si gnal sampl i ng. By compari ng the
Fouri er transf orms of the sampl ed i nci dent and ref l ected or transmi tted wavef orms,
the compl ex two-port S−parameters can be determi ned f or the DUT [ 91,93–99] .
Sub-pi cosecond el ectri cal pul se generati on wi th a photoconducti ve swi tch has been
reported, enabl i ng terahertz measurement bandwi dth [ 100] . Thi s T-D opto-el ectroni c
sampl i ng techni que (al so known as photoconducti ve sampl i ng) requi res the DUT to
beembedded i n asi ngl e-chi p GaAstest f i xture. Each RF port of theDUT i sconnected
to a test structure consi sti ng of a 50 matched l oad termi nati on, photoconducti ve
swi tches, DC bi as l i nes and a l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne. These test components
are not onl y wastef ul of expensi ve chi p space, but they must al so be de-embedded
f rom the measurements. I n addi ti on, the f abri cati on process of the photoconducti ve
swi tches must be compati bl e wi th that of the MMI C under test. However, a DC to
500 GHz measurement system has been demonstrated [ 99] usi ng thi s techni que.
11.5.3.4 Electr o-optic sampling
The most promi si ng el ectri c-f i el d probi ng techni que i s el ectro-opti c sampl i ng. A
vari ety of non-centrosymmetri c crystal s, such as gal l i um arseni de and i ndi um phos-
phi de, exhi bi t Pockel ’ s el ectro-opti c eff ect. The presence of an el ectri c f i el d wi l l
i nduce smal l ani sotropi c vari ati ons i n the crystal ’ s di el ectri c constant, and theref ore,
i ts ref racti ve i ndex. I f a l aser beam passes through thi s materi al i t wi l l experi ence a
vol tage-i nduced perturbati on i n i ts pol ari sati on, whi ch i s di rectl y proporti onal to the
change i n the el ectri c-f i el d strength. As a resul t, thi s l i near el ectro-opti c eff ect can be
used to provi de a non-i nvasi ve means of detecti ng el ectri c f i el ds [ 91,93,94,101–111] .
Wi th i nternal (or di rect) el ectro-opti c probi ng the l aser beam penetrates the GaAs
MMI C i n a ref l ecti on mode, as i l l ustrated i n Fi gure 11.18a, gi vi ng good beam access
and requi ri ng onl y a si ngl e f ocusi ng l ens [ 91,93,94,101–103,107–111] . However,
opti cal pol i shi ng of the MMI C substrate i s requi red f or best resul ts. Wi th f ront-si de
probi ng, the beam i s ref l ected off the back-si de ground pl ane metal l i sati on, adj acent
to the ci rcui t conductor. Wi th back-si de probi ng, the beam i s ref l ected off the back
of the ci rcui t conductor i tsel f , maki ng thi s scheme i deal f or conventi onal CPW or
copl anar stri p l i nes and sl otl i nes. Today, i nternal el ectro-opti c sampl i ng can achi eve
a spati al resol uti on down to l ess than 0.5 µm [ 110] .
Centrosymmetri c crystal s, such as si l i con and germani um, do not exhi bi t the l i n-
ear el ectro-opti c eff ect. Theref ore, si l i con MMI Cs must empl oy external (or i ndi rect)
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 253
Probe beam
Slotline
GaAs substrate
Ground
plane
Back-side probing
Electric-field lines
Probe beam
Microstrip
line
Ground plane
Front-side probing
(a)
Probe beam
Fused
silica
needle
Electro-optic
crystal
(b)
Fi gure 11.18 I l l ustr ati on of el ectr i c-fi el d probe: (a) i nter nal and (b) exter nal
el ectro-opti c probi ng [ 91,93,104–106] . Thi s techni que uses an extremel y smal l el ec-
tri c f i el d sensor, consi sti ng of a 40 ×40 µm
2
el ectro-opti c crystal (l i thi um tantal ate)
at the end of a f used si l i ca needl e, pl aced i n cl ose proxi mi ty to the ci rcui t conductor,
as shown i n Fi gure 11.18b. Sendi ng a l aser beam down the needl e and measuri ng
the i nduced change i n the ref racti ve i ndex of the crystal f rom the returni ng beam can
detect the conductor’ s f ri ngi ng f i el ds. Si nce the beam can be f ocused down to a spot
si ze of 3–5 µm i n di ameter, excel l ent spati al resol uti on i s achi eved. Al so, there i s no
need f or MMI C substrate pol i shi ng.
Wi th el ectro-opti c probi ng, pi cosecond opti cal pul ses (generated by a l aser
wi th an output power l evel that i s l ower than the band-gap energy of the MMI C’ s
semi conductor) pass through the el ectri c f i el ds associ ated wi th the MMI C’ s ci rcui t
conductors. Af ter bei ng passed through a common beam spl i tter, the i nci dent and
return beams are combi ned, bef ore bei ng passed through a pol ari si ng beam spl i tter.
Two photodi odes detect the i ntensi ty of the orthogonal l y pol ari sed components
and l ock-i n ampl i f i ers are then used to determi ne the el ectri c-f i el d vectors. As
a resul t, i nternal node vol tage measurements can be determi ned and i mpressi ve
two-di mensi onal mappi ngs of the ampl i tude [ 105,107–109] and phase angl es [ 109]
254 Mi crowave measurements
of mi crowave f i el ds wi thi n the MMI C can be obtai ned. T-D network anal ysi s can
al so be perf ormed usi ng el ectro-opti c sampl i ng. Here, pi cosecond el ectri cal pul ses
are appl i ed to the i nput port of the MMI C under test, wi th the generator connected
to the MMI C usi ng tradi ti onal i nvasi ve techni ques. By compari ng the Fouri er trans-
f orm of the detected i nci dent and ref l ected or transmi tted wavef orms, the compl ex
two-port S-parameters can be determi ned. To date, a 50–300 GHz network anal yser
has been demonstrated usi ng thi s techni que [ 106] . A European consorti um (whi ch
i ncl udes NPL and theFraunhof er I nsti tutef or Appl i ed Sol i d StatePhysi cs) has devel -
oped the f i rst opti cal i nstrument capabl e of testi ng terahertz ci rcui ts and traci ng the
measurements back to i nternati onal standards [ 111] .
11.5.3.5 Electr ical sampling scanning-for ce micr oscopy
A number of non-i nvasi ve measurement techni ques have been i ntroduced that can
perf orm i nternal f uncti on and f ai l ure anal ysi s of MMI Cs. The el ectron beam probi ng
techni quei swel l establ i shed and hasexcel l ent spati al resol uti on, but thetemporal res-
ol uti on i s l i mi ted because of el ectron transi t ti me eff ects. Opti cal probi ng techni ques
have a superi or temporal resol uti on, but because of the mi cron-beam di ameters they
have a l i mi ted spati al resol uti on. Scanni ng-f orce mi croscopy, i n the el ectri cal sam-
pl i ng mode, i s a rel ati vel y new non-contacti ng measurement techni que that has hi gh
spati al , temporal and vol tage resol uti ons [ 112,113] . Here, an atomi cal l y sharp needl e
i s mounted on one end of a canti l ever. When the needl e i s pl aced at a f i xed worki ng
di stance of between 0.1 and 0.5 µm above the MMI C, i t wi l l be subj ected to attrac-
ti on or repul si on f orces, causi ng a detectabl e bendi ng of the canti l ever. Thi s very
experi mental techni que has so f ar demonstrated a spati al resol uti on of 0.5 µm and a
bandwi dth of 40 GHz [ 112] .
11.6 Summar y
A wi de range of techni ques has been bri ef l y i ntroduced f or the measurement of
MMI Cs. A summary of the mai n f eatures associ ated wi th the most practi cal i nvasi ve
techni ques i s gi ven i n Tabl e 11.2. I n general , the l evel of accuracy and repeatabi l i ty
Tabl e 11.2 Compar i son of the i nvasi ve measurement technol ogi es
Commerci al test On-waf er probe
I n-house test f i xture f i xture stati on
Cal i brati on 2-ti er wi th ECM
de-embeddi ng
1-ti er 1-ti er 1-ti er
Accuracy Moderate Hi gh Hi gh Very hi gh
Repeatabi l i ty Moderate Moderate Hi gh Very hi gh
Bandwi dth Wi deband Wi deband Wi deband Ul tra-wi deband
Fl exi bi l i ty Excel l ent Poor Poor Poor
Cost Very l ow Low Hi gh Very hi gh
RFI C and MMI C measurement techni ques 255
obtai nabl e i s proporti onal to the i ni ti al i nvestment costs of the measurement
system.
Compared wi th tradi ti onal i nvasi ve on-waf er measurement techni ques, opti cal
systems have so f ar demonstrated a l ower dynami c range and i nf eri or f requency
resol uti on. I n addi ti on, opti cal techni ques have compl i cated and l engthy cal i brati on
procedures. However, wi th i ts excel l ent spati al resol uti on and extremel y wi de band-
wi dth capabi l i ti es, el ectro-opti c probi ng may become commonpl ace i n the not too
di stant f uture.
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260 Mi crowave measurements
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90 Budka, T. P., Wacl awi k, S. D., and Rebei z, G. M.: ‘ A coaxi al 0.5–18 GHz
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91 Bl oom, D. M., Wei ngarten, K. J., and Rodwel l , M. J. W.: ‘ Probi ng the l i mi ts of
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92 Kubal ek, E., and Fehr, J.: ‘ El ectron beam test system f or GHz-wavef orm mea-
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94 Lee, T. T., Smi th, T., Huang, H. C., Chauchard, E., and Lee, C. H.: ‘ Opti cal
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95 Huang, S.-L. L., Chauchard, E. A., Lee, C. H., Hung, H.-L. A., Lee, T. T., and
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96 Ki m, J., Son, J., Wakana, S. et al .: ‘ Ti me-domai n network anal ysi s of mm-wave
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98 Armengaud, L., Gerbe, V., Lal ande, M., Laj zererowi cz, J., Cuzi n, M., and
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99 Frankel , M. Y.: ‘ 500-GHz characteri zati on of an optoel ectroni c S-parameter test
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100 Val dmani s, J. A., and Mourou, G.: ‘ Subpi cosecond el ectroopti c sampl i ng: pri n-
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102 Merti n, W., Bohm, C., Bal k, L. J., and Kubal ek, E.: ‘ Two-di mensi onal f i el d
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103 Lee, C. H., Li , M. G., Hung, H.-L. A., and Huang, H. C.: ‘ On-waf er probi ng
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Asi a-Paci fi c Mi crowave Conference, 1992, pp. 367–370
104 Wu, X., Conn, D., Song, J., and Ni ckerson, K.: ‘ Cal i brati on of external
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106 Cheng, H., and Whi taker, J. F.: ‘ 300-GHz-bandwi dth network anal ysi s usi ng
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262 Mi crowave measurements
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pp. 1005–8
Chapter 12
Calibr ation of automatic networ k analyser s
I an I nstone
12.1 I ntr oduction
Network anal ysersarevery compl ex i nstrumentsso i t i si mportant to def i netermssuch
as cal i brati on to avoi d conf usi on. The two di cti onary def i ni ti ons of cal i brati on that
can be appl i ed to network anal ysers are ‘ to mark (a gauge) wi th a scal e of readi ngs’
[ 1] , and ‘ to correl ate the readi ngs of (an i nstrument, etc.) wi th a standard to f i nd the
cal i breof ’ [ 1] . Unf ortunatel y nei ther of theseexpressi ons def i nes theterm cal i brati on
as i t i s appl i ed to network anal ysers, i nstead they rel ate better to veri f i cati on whi ch
i s the process where the network anal yser’ s measurements are compared wi th those
perf ormed i n a hi gher l evel l aboratory.
12.2 Definition of calibr ation
Cal i brati on i n the network anal yser sense i s the process by whi ch the errors wi thi n
the i nstrument are compensated f or, whereas veri f i cati on checks that the resul tant
correcti ons have been properl y assessed and appl i ed. The extent of cal i brati on used
wi l l depend on the desi red measurement accuracy and the type of network anal yser
empl oyed. To a l arge extent the avai l abl e ti me wi l l i nf l uence the type of cal i bra-
ti on. There are two basi c types of network anal yser, both of them havi ng thei r own
advantages and l i mi tati ons.
12.3 Scalar networ k analyser s
The scal ar network anal yser usual l y consi sts of a source, di spl ay/processor and a
transducer. Earl i er scal ar network anal ysers rarel y i ncl uded a recei ver, i nstead they
264 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 12.1 Photogr aph of a typi cal wi deband detector based scal ar networ k
anal yser and accessor i es
normal l y empl oy wi de band di ode detectors that have the advantage of bei ng abl e to
make measurements over a very wi de f requency range at hi gh speed (Fi gure 12.1).
Because thi s type operates over such a wi de range the noi se f l oor usual l y l i mi ts thei r
l ow ampl i tude response to around −70 dBm. Di ode detectors do not have a l i near
response to ampl i tude so the di spl ay/processor wi l l al so i ncl ude a tabl e of correcti ons
(wi thi n the memory) that are appl i ed to the measured val ues bef ore bei ng di spl ayed.
A very usef ul appl i cati on of the scal ar network anal yser i s i ts abi l i ty to characteri se
the transmi ssi on properti es of mi xers where the i nci dent si gnal wi l l be at a di ff erent
f requency to theoutput si gnal . Fi l tersmi ght need to besel ected to rej ect any unwanted
si gnal s generated by the mi xer.
More modern scal ar network anal ysers are based on spectrum anal ysers (wi th
one or more i nputs) wi th a tracki ng generator (or two) i ncl uded (Fi gure 12.2). Wi th
the rapi dl y decreasi ng costs of el ectroni c equi pment both the sources and recei ver
secti ons of these i nstruments are usual l y synthesi sed. A scal ar network anal yser of
thi s desi gn wi l l be si mi l ar i n compl exi ty to i ts vector cousi n, al though i t wi l l l ack
many of the usef ul f eatures (due to i t bei ng unabl e to measure the phase component
of any si gnal ). I t wi l l of ten have the advantage that i t can be used as a standal one
source or spectrum anal yser, i n some cases maki ng i t a more cost-eff ecti ve sol uti on.
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 265
Fi gure 12.2 Photogr aph of a hi gh-per for mance spectr um anal yser based scal ar
networ k anal yzer, whi ch uses a hi gh-per for mance exter nal source as
the tr acki ng gener ator
Fi gure 12.3 Networ k, spectr um, i mpedance anal yser combi ned wi th a test-set used
for maki ng a wi de r ange of RF and LF measurements
Due to i t usi ng a spectrum anal yser as the detector thi s type of scal ar network
anal yser wi l l usual l y have a very l arge dynami c range, and dependi ng on the qual i ty
of thei ncl uded spectrum anal yser, wi l l of ten haveagood l i neari ty characteri sti c. Wi th
the i ncl usi on of di gi tal f i l ters thi s type of scal ar network anal yser can have a speed
perf ormance si mi l ar to that obtai ned usi ng wi deband detectors, but wi th a l i neari ty
and sel ecti vi ty perf ormance si mi l ar to that of the vector network anal yser.
Ful l y i ntegrated anal ysers (Fi gure 12.3) are now avai l abl e combi ni ng vector net-
work, spectrum, i mpedance, gai n, phase, group del ay, di storti on, harmoni cs, spuri ous
266 Mi crowave measurements
and noi se measurements i n one i nstrument. When combi ned wi th a test set, these
i nstruments provi de ref l ecti on measurements, such as return l oss, VSWR, vol tage
ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent and S-parameters i n both real and i magi nary uni ts that can be
di spl ayed as magni tude and phase i f desi red. These i nstruments combi ne tremen-
dous dynami c range (>140 dB i s normal ) wi th good l i neari ty and f ul l vector or
scal ar error-correcti on creati ng the abi l i ty to perf orm accurate measurements very
qui ckl y. At present these, due thei r compl exi ty, usef ul i nstruments are l i mi ted to
radi o f requenci es (RFs).
12.4 Vector networ k analyser
The vector network anal yser consi sts of a di spl ay/processor, source, test set and
recei vers. Modern vector network anal ysers are usual l y encompassed i n one compact
encl osure (Fi gure 12.4). They are capabl e of measuri ng al l of the smal l si gnal scat-
teri ng parameters of a two-port devi ce connected to i t i n near real ti me. Because the
i nstrument empl oys a recei ver (of ten wi th an adj ustabl e bandwi dth) i t i s abl e to make
rel i abl e measurements over a much wi der ampl i tude range than wi th the wi de band
detector based scal ar network anal yser. The term ‘ vector’ al so demonstrates that the
anal yser i s abl e to measure the quanti ty i n terms of phase and magni tude. By usi ng
vector measurements we are abl e to f ul l y characteri se the anal yser and then appl y
correcti ons when an i tem i s measured. The maj or part of any errors i ntroduced by
the l oadi ng eff ects of the i tem bei ng measured, or the anal yser i tsel f , can be eff ec-
ti vel y removed by cal cul ati on thereby produci ng very accurateval ueswi th reasonabl e
speed.
Modern anal ysers are abl e to di spl ay the measurements i n a vari ety of f ormats
i ncl udi ng phase and magni tude, real and i magi nary, i mpedance co-ordi nates, etc.
Despi te thei r rel ati vel y hi gh-cost vector network anal ysers are empl oyed to make a
vari ety of measurements where accuracy and speed are i mportant.
Fi gure 12.4 Moder n vector networ k anal yser cover i ng the frequency r ange 10 MHz
to 67 GHz
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 267
12.5 Calibr ation of a scalar networ k analyser
12.5.1 Tr ansmi ssi on measurements
Because scal ar network anal ysers are unabl e to measure the phase component of any
si gnal the cal i brati on process i s much si mpl er and f aster than that necessary wi th the
vector network anal yser. Cal i brati on f or transmi ssi on measurements i s si mpl y a pro-
cess of establ i shi ng a ref erence l evel to whi ch the measured val ues wi l l be ref erred.
Thi si saccompl i shed by connecti ng thedetector to thesource, al l owi ng thei nstrument
to sweep through the range of f requenci es, and stori ng the val ues i n the i nstrument’ s
memory. The devi ce to be measured i s then connected between the source and the
detector and the i nstrument swept through the range of f requenci es agai n. The di f -
f erence between the f i rst set of measurements (stored i n memory) and the second set
wi l l be due to the devi ce bei ng tested pl us any errors wi thi n the measurement system.
Large potenti al errors wi th thi s type of measurement occur due to the mi smatch l oss
uncertai nti eswherethedetector i sconnected to thesource, and wherethedevi cebei ng
measured i s connected to the source and detector. These uncertai nti es can be reduced
by perf ormi ng measurements through wel l -matched attenuators or coupl ers, but i t i s
sti l l l i kel y that the mi smatch l oss uncertai nti es wi l l domi nate the uncertai nty budget.
I n addi ti on, where attenuators or coupl ers are used thei r val ue has to be chosen very
caref ul l y. Hi gh-val ueattenuatorsof ten havethebest match and provi dethebest i sol a-
ti on agai nst re-ref l ecti ons and mi smatch eff ects, but they al so al l ow l ess of the si gnal
to pass through, theref ore reduci ng the eff ecti ve dynami c range of the measurement.
I t i s usual l y not practi cal to i ncrease the source power as the hi gher power attenuators
requi red to i mprove the match at the i nserti on poi nt are of ten a poorer match than
thei r l ower power counterparts. Another al ternati ve i s to use a second detector and
a power spl i tter. The rati o of the power appeari ng at the output ports of the power
spl i tter i s recorded (i n the anal yser’ s memory) and the devi ce to be measured i s con-
nected between one output port and i ts detector. The measurements are perf ormed
agai n and the di ff erence between the f i rst and the second measurements wi l l be due
to the devi ce bei ng tested. Usi ng thi s conf i gurati on and by connecti ng an appropri ate
attenuator between the ref erence detector and the power spl i tter, and then, perhaps by
usi ng an ampl i f i er i ncreasi ng the si gnal generator’ s ampl i tude between the f i rst and
second measurement i t i s possi bl e to make measurements usi ng the anal yser over a
much wi der ampl i tude range than i s speci f i ed.
Spectrum anal yser based i nstruments wi l l enabl e a wi der vari ety of attenuators or
coupl ers to be used i n the matchi ng process as thi s type of anal yser has a much wi der
dynami c range whi ch copes wi th the addi ti onal l osses much better.
12.5.2 Refl ecti on measurements
Cal i brati ng pri or to maki ng ref l ecti on measurements f ol l ows a si mi l ar process of
setti ng a ref erence and perf ormi ng measurements rel ati ve to i t. The i nput port of the
bri dge i s connected to the generator and a short ci rcui t connected to the bri dge’ s test
port. The generator i s swept through the range of desi red f requenci es and the val ues
stored i n the scal ar network anal yser’ s memory.
268 Mi crowave measurements
Theshort ci rcui t i sthen repl aced wi th an open ci rcui t and thesourcei sswept agai n
through the range of desi red f requenci es and the val ues stored agai n i n the anal yser’ s
memory. The mean of these two sets of measurements i s used as a ref erence and al l
measured val ues of ref l ecti on ref erred to i t. I t i s i mportant that the open ci rcui t and
short ci rcui t are exactl y 180

apart throughout the f requency range or f urther errors
wi l l bepresent i n themeasurement. Becausean open ci rcui t wi l l al ways haveacapac-
i tance term associ ated wi th i t and a short ci rcui t eff ecti vel y shunts any capaci tance i t
i s not normal l y possi bl e to sati sf y thi s requi rement over the enti re f requency range.
The resul tant errors are normal l y i ncl uded as contri buti ons to the uncertai nty budget,
havi ng the most eff ect on the bri dge’ s source match esti mate. As wi th transmi ssi on
measurements, compromi ses are of ten made to ensure that the best qual i ty measure-
ment i s perf ormed wi thout compromi si ng speed or cost, etc. For i nstance, i t i s good
practi ce to i ncl ude a power spl i tter at the i nput to the bri dge and connect a detector
to the other output port of the power spl i tter. The scal ar network anal yser i s then set
to measure the rati o of the bri dge over the detector’ s output. The power spl i tter and
detector perf orm three f uncti ons:
(1) They measure and compensate f or any vari ati ons i n the generator’ s out-
put power whi ch may not have been compensated f or wi th the generator’ s
automati c l evel control .
(2) When the di recti onal bri dge output port i s l oaded wi th di ff erent i mpedance
devi ces connected to i t (such as the short and open ci rcui ts and devi ce
bei ng tested) i t may cause the generator’ s output ampl i tude to change. Thi s
phenomenon i s al most el i mi nated by thi s arrangement.
(3) The mi smatch l ooki ng i nto the di recti onal bri dge’ s test port i s a contri buti on
to the measurement uncertai nti es; i f i t can be i mproved the uncertai nti es wi l l
reduce. A typi cal mi crowave generator has a f ai rl y poor mi smatch, whereas
power spl i tters have a f ai rl y good mi smatch i n compari son. The mi smatch of
thegenerator or power spl i tter i s transmi tted through thebri dgeand wi l l have
an eff ect upon the resul tant measurement uncertai nti es. When used i n thi s
conf i gurati on the eff ecti ve output match of the power spl i tter i s at i ts best,
theref ore transf erri ng the best measurement condi ti ons through the bri dge.
Unf ortunatel y, as wi th transmi ssi on measurements, there i s a downsi de. Every power
spl i tter has l oss and i nserti ng more l oss i nto the measuri ng system wi l l reduce the
dynami c range thereby i ncreasi ng the noi se f l oor. Power spl i tters and detectors al so
cost money and each i tem wi l l haveamai ntenancecost associ ated wi th i t so i ncl udi ng
addi ti onal i tems i n the measurements wi l l i ncrease costs.
I nserti ng a good qual i ty attenuator between the di recti onal bri dge and the source
wi l l al so i mprovethe‘ eff ecti vesourcematch’ . To beeff ecti vetheattenuator wi l l need
to have at l east 20 dB transmi ssi on l oss so i t wi l l not be sui tabl e f or most wi deband
detector systems. Thi s method coul d be the most cost-eff ecti ve f or the spectrum
anal yser based system.
A reasonabl y hi gh val ue of attenuator wi l l perf orm exactl y the same f uncti on as
the power spl i tter above but at a f racti on of the cost.
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 269
12.6 Pr oblems associated with scalar networ k
analyser measur ements
The scal ar network anal yser measurement system consi sts of a mi crowave generator,
detector (or a bri dge and detector) and a scal ar network anal yser. The scal ar network
anal yser i svery si mi l ar to an osci l l oscopei n constructi on and operati on. I t hasan i nput
f or the x-scal e and several i nputs f or the detectors whi ch di spl ay on the y-axi s. The
ti me base or x-axi s i s usual l y deri ved f rom the sweep output of the si gnal generator.
Modern scal ar network anal ysersal so haveadi gi tal connecti on to thesi gnal generator
so that thedi spl ay can beannotated wi th thestart and stop f requenci es, enabl i ng easi er
control of the i nstruments. I n addi ti on, the di gi tal connecti on i s of ten used to connect
to pri nters, pl otters and di sk dri ves to provi de a permanent record of the test resul ts.
I t can al so be used to connect a computer so that the enti re measurement process,
presentati on and archi vi ng of resul ts can be automated. The bi ggest probl em wi th
any measurement system empl oyi ng di ode type detectors i s that they have di ff erent
responses dependi ng on the appl i ed power l evel . At l ow powers (l ess than −30 dBm)
they typi cal l y have a response proporti onal to the square of the appl i ed power. As
the power l evel i ncreases thei r response becomes cl oser to a l i near response. The
desi gners of the earl y scal ar network anal ysers tri ed to compensate f or thi s eff ect
by havi ng acti ve f eedback l oops i n the condi ti oni ng ampl i f i ers i n the anal yser; more
modern i nstruments compensate f or these eff ects di gi tal l y. Another probl em i s the
l i mi ted dynami c range when compared to network anal yser wi th a tuned f ront end.
The di ode detector of ten has a very wi de f requency response (10 MHz to 26.5 GHz
i s common and 10–50 MHz i s becomi ng more popul ar) whi ch resul ts i n i ts abi l i ty
to detect and add many very smal l si gnal s across i ts operati ng spectrum. Where
each of these si gnal s mi ght have a very smal l ampl i tude when they are al l combi ned
they eff ecti vel y produce a noi se f l oor of around −70 dBm. At thi s l evel the random
component i n the measurements i s usual l y too l arge f or sensi bl e measurements to be
perf ormed so scal ar network anal yser measurements are of ten l i mi ted to −60 dBm.
At the hi gher powers the detectors mi ght suff er f rom bei ng over l oaded so most di ode
detectors are l i mi ted to a maxi mum i nput power of about +16 dBm.
12.7 Calibr ation of a vector networ k analyser
The vector network anal yser as the name suggests al so has the capabi l i ty to measure
the rel ati ve phase of the si gnal s. The measurement system empl oys several recei vers
(usual l y three or f our) to make the measurements as f ast as possi bl e wi thout the
need f or extensi ve swi tchi ng of the si gnal s. On modern i nstruments the ‘ resol uti on
bandwi dth’ i s swi tchabl e al l owi ng the user to make compromi ses between accuracy
and speed. A processknown as‘ accur acy enhancement ’ i susual l y empl oyed to reduce
the errors i n measurement due to the network anal yser. Expressed si mpl y, accuracy
enhancement i s the process whereby the network anal yser i s characteri sed usi ng
known standards so the errors wi thi n the measurement are removed mathemati cal l y.
Each devi ce, whi ch i s used f or thi s characteri sati on, i s manuf actured to be excel l ent
270 Mi crowave measurements
f or onl y one parameter or purpose (e.g. a short shoul d have 100 per cent ref l ecti on
or a l oad shoul d have 100 per cent absorpti on) so i t i s a l ot easi er to manuf acture
these ‘ si mpl e’ devi ces than the perf ect coupl ers whi ch mi ght otherwi se be requi red.
A potenti al conf usi on i n terms of ten occurs, the term ‘ cal i br ati on’ when appl i ed to
vector network anal ysers i s usual l y i ntended to descri be the ‘ accur acy enhancement ’
process. The f ol l owi ng paragraphs are taken f rom the Agi l ent Technol ogi es 8722ES
operati ng manual [ 2] and the Hewl ett-Packard HP8753A operati ng manual [ 3] and
descri be i n some detai l the process of ‘ accur acy enhancement ’ .
12.8 Accur acy enhancement
12.8.1 What causes measurement er ror s?
Network anal ysi s measurement errors can be separated i nto systemati c, random and
dri f t errors. Correctabl e systemati c errors are the repeatabl e errors that the system
can measure. These are errors due to mi smatch and l eakage i n the test setup, i sol ati on
between the ref erence and test si gnal paths, and system f requency response. The
system cannot measure and correct f or the non-repeatabl e random and dri f t errors.
Theseerrorsaff ect both ref l ecti on and transmi ssi on measurements. Random errorsare
measurement vari ati ons due to noi se and connector repeatabi l i ty. Dri f t errors i ncl ude
f requency dri f t, temperaturedri f t, and other physi cal changesi n thetest setup between
cal i brati on and measurement. The resul ti ng measurement i s the vector sum of the test
devi ce response pl us al l error terms. The preci se eff ect of each error term depends
on i ts magni tude and phase rel ati onshi p to the actual test devi ce response. I n most
hi gh-f requency measurements the systemati c errors are the most si gni f i cant source of
measurement uncertai nty. Si nceeach of theseerrorscan becharacteri sed, thei r eff ects
can be eff ecti vel y removed to obtai n a corrected val ue f or the test devi ce response.
For the purpose of vector accuracy enhancement, these uncertai nti es are quanti f i ed
as di recti vi ty, source match, l oad match, i sol ati on (crosstal k) and f requency response
(tracki ng). The descri pti on of each of these systemati c errors f ol l ows. Random and
dri f t errors cannot be preci sel y quanti f i ed, so they must be treated as produci ng a
cumul ati ve uncertai nty i n the measured data.
12.8.2 Di recti vi ty
Normal l y a devi ce that can separate the reverse f rom the f orward travel l i ng
waves (a di recti onal bri dge or coupl er) i s used to detect the si gnal ref l ected f rom
the test devi ce. I deal l y the coupl er woul d compl etel y separate the i nci dent and
ref l ected si gnal s, and onl y the ref l ected si gnal woul d appear at the coupl ed output
(Fi gure 12.5).
However, an actual coupl er i s not perf ect. A smal l amount of the i nci dent si gnal
appears at thecoupl ed output dueto l eakageas wel l as ref l ecti on f rom thetermi nati on
i n the coupl ed arm (Fi gure 12.6). Al so, ref l ecti ons f rom the coupl er output connector
appear at the coupl ed output, addi ng uncertai nty to the si gnal ref l ected f rom the
devi ce.
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 271
Coupled
output
Main
coupler
output
Reflected
Input
Incident
Fi gure 12.5 Di agr ammati c representati on of an i deal di recti onal coupl er or di rec-
ti onal br i dge
Coupled
output
Main
coupler
output
Reflected
Input
Incident
Fi gure 12.6 Di agr ammati c representati on of an actual di recti onal coupl er or
di recti onal br i dge showi ng the var i ous er ror paths
The f i gure of meri t f or how wel l a coupl er separates f orward and reverse waves i s
di recti vi ty. The greater the di recti vi ty of the devi ce, the better the si gnal separati on.
System di recti vi ty i s the vector sum of al l l eakage si gnal s appeari ng at the anal yser
recei ver i nput. Theerror contri buted by di recti vi ty i si ndependent of thecharacteri sti cs
of the test devi ce and i t usual l y produces the maj or ambi gui ty i n measurements of
l ow ref l ecti on devi ces.
12.8.3 Source match
Sourcematch i sdef i ned asthevector sum of si gnal sappeari ng at theanal yser recei ver
i nput due to the i mpedance mi smatch at the test devi ce l ooki ng back i nto the source,
as wel l as to adapter and cabl e mi smatches and l osses (Fi gure 12.7). I n a ref l ecti on
measurement, the source match error si gnal i s caused by some of the ref l ected si gnal
f rom the test devi ce bei ng ref l ected f rom the source back towards the test devi ce and
re-ref l ected f rom the test devi ce.
I n a transmi ssi on measurement, the source match error si gnal i s caused by
ref l ecti on f rom the test devi ce that i s re-ref l ected f rom the source.
272 Mi crowave measurements
Coupled
output
Main
coupler
output
Re-reflected
Reflected
Incident
Reflected
from the
source
Input
DUT
Fi gure 12.7 Di agr ammati c representati on of the consti tuent par ts i n the for mati on
of source match
Reflected
Incident
Reflected
from
load
match
Input
DUT
Transmitted
Port 1 Port 2
Fi gure 12.8 Di agr ammati c representati on of the consti tuent par ts i n the for mati on
of l oad match
The error contri buted by source match i s dependent on the rel ati onshi p between
the actual i nput i mpedance of the test devi ce and the equi val ent match of the source.
I t i s a f actor i n both transmi ssi on and ref l ecti on measurements. Source match i s a
parti cul ar probl em i n measurements where there i s a l arge i mpedance mi smatch at
the measurement pl ane (e.g. ref l ecti on devi ces such as f i l ters wi th stop bands).
12.8.4 Load match
Load match error resul ts f rom an i mperf ect match at the output of the test devi ce. I t
i s caused by i mpedance mi smatches between the test devi ce output port and port 2 of
the measurement system. Some of the transmi tted si gnal i s ref l ected f rom port 2 back
to the test devi ce. A porti on of thi s wave may be re-ref l ected to port 2, or part may be
transmi tted through the devi ce i n the reverse di recti on to appear at port 1. I f the test
devi ce has l ow i nserti on l oss (e.g. a f i l ter pass band), the si gnal ref l ected f rom port 2
and re-ref l ected f rom the source causes a si gni f i cant error because the test devi ce
does not attenuate the si gnal si gni f i cantl y on each ref l ecti on (Fi gure 12.8). The error
contri buted by l oad match i s dependent on the rel ati onshi p between the actual output
i mpedance of the test devi ce and the eff ecti ve match of the return port (port 2). I t i s a
f actor i n al l transmi ssi on measurements and i n ref l ecti on measurements of two-port
devi ces.
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 273
The i nteracti on between l oad match and source match i s l ess si gni f i cant when the
test devi ce i nserti on l oss i s greater than about 6 dB. However, source match and l oad
match sti l l i nteract wi th the i nput and output matches of the DUT, whi ch contri butes
to transmi ssi on measurement errors (these errors are l argest f or devi ces wi th hi ghl y
ref l ecti ve ports).
12.8.5 I sol ati on (crosstal k)
Leakageof energy between anal yser si gnal pathscontri butesto error i n atransmi ssi on
measurement, much l i ke di recti vi ty does i n a ref l ecti on measurement. I sol ati on i s the
vector sum of si gnal s appeari ng at the anal yser sampl ers due to crosstal k between the
ref erence and test si gnal paths. Thi s i ncl udes si gnal l eakage wi thi n the test set and i n
both theRF and I F secti ons of therecei ver. Theerror contri buted by i sol ati on depends
on the characteri sti cs of the test devi ce. I sol ati on i s a f actor i n hi gh-l oss transmi ssi on
measurements. However, anal yser system i sol ati on i s more than suff i ci ent f or most
measurements, and correcti on f or i t may be unnecessary. For measuri ng devi ces wi th
hi gh dynami c range, accuracy enhancement can provi de i mprovements i n i sol ati on
that are l i mi ted onl y by the noi se f l oor. General l y, the i sol ati on f al l s bel ow the noi se
f l oor, theref ore, when perf ormi ng an i sol ati on cal i brati on the perf ormer shoul d use a
noi se reducti on f uncti on such as averagi ng or reduci ng the I F bandwi dth.
12.8.6 Frequency response (tr acki ng)
Thi s i s the vector sum of al l test setup vari ati ons i n whi ch magni tude and phase
change as a f uncti on of f requency. Thi s i ncl udes vari ati ons contri buted by si gnal
π separati on devi ces, test cabl es, adapters, and vari ati ons between the ref erence
and test si gnal paths. Thi s error i s a f actor i n both transmi ssi on and ref l ecti on
measurements.
12.9 Char acter ising micr owave systematic er r or s
12.9.1 One-por t er ror model
I n a measurement of the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent (magni tude and phase) of a test devi ce,
the measured data di ff ers f rom the actual , no matter how caref ul l y the measurement
i s made. Di recti vi ty, source match and ref l ecti on si gnal path f requency response
(tracki ng) are the maj or sources of error (Fi gure 12.9).
To characteri setheerrors, theref l ecti on coeff i ci ent i smeasured by f i rst separati ng
the i nci dent si gnal (I ) f rom the ref l ected si gnal (R), then taki ng the rati o of the two
val ues. I deal l y, (R) consi sts onl y of the si gnal ref l ected by the test devi ce (S
11A
, f or
S
11
actual ) (Fi gure 12.10).
However, al l of the i nci dent si gnal does not al ways reach the unknown. Some of
(I ) may appear at the measurement system i nput due to l eakage through the test set or
through a si gnal separati on devi ce. Al so, some of (I ) may be ref l ected by i mperf ect
adapters between a si gnal separati on devi ce and the measurement pl ane. The vector
274 Mi crowave measurements
Measurement
errors
Directivity
Frequency
tracking
Source match
S
11M
S
11A
Measured
data
Unknown
Fi gure 12.9 Sources of er ror i n refl ecti on measurement
S
11A
S
11m
=
Unknown
R
I

Incident
power (I)
Reflected
power (R)
Fi gure 12.10 Refl ecti on coeffi ci ent model
Effective
directivity
I
R
S
11A
E
DF
Unknown
Fi gure 12.11 Effecti ve di recti vi ty (E
DF
) model
sum of the l eakage and the mi scel l aneous ref l ecti ons i s the eff ecti ve di recti vi ty, E
DF
(Fi gure 12.11). Understandabl y, the measurement i s di storted when the di recti vi ty
si gnal combi nes wi th the actual ref l ected si gnal f rom the unknown, S
11A.
Si nce the measurement system test port i s never exactl y the characteri sti c
i mpedance (50 ), some of the ref l ected si gnal bounces off the test port, or other
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 275
Source match
I
R
S
11A
E
DF
E
SF
Unknown
Fi gure 12.12 Source match (E
SF
) model
I
E
RF
frequency tracking
S
11A
S
11M
E
SF
E
DF
Fi gure 12.13 Refl ecti on tr acki ng (E
RF
) model
i mpedance transi ti ons f urther down the l i ne, and back to the unknown, addi ng to the
ori gi nal i nci dent si gnal (I ). Thi s eff ect causes the magni tude and phase of the i nci dent
si gnal to vary as a f uncti on of S
11A
and f requency. Level l i ng the source to produce a
constant i nci dent si gnal (I ) reduces thi s error, but si nce the source cannot be exactl y
l evel l ed at the test devi ce i nput, l evel l i ng cannot el i mi nate al l power vari ati ons. Thi s
re-ref l ecti on eff ect and theresul tant i nci dent power vari ati on arecaused by thesource
match error, E
SF
(Fi gure 12.12).
Frequency response (tracki ng) error i s caused by vari ati ons i n magni tude and
phase f l atness versus f requency between the test and ref erence si gnal paths. These
are mai nl y due to coupl er rol l off , i mperf ectl y matched sampl ers, and di ff erences i n
l ength and l oss between the i nci dent and test si gnal paths. The vector sum of these
vari ati ons i s the ref l ecti on si gnal path tracki ng error, E
RF
(Fi gure 12.13).
These three errors are mathemati cal l y rel ated to the actual data, S
11A
, and
measured data, S
11M
, by the f ol l owi ng equati on:
S
11M
= E
DF
+
(S
11A
E
RF
)
(1 −E
SF
S
11A
)
(12.1)
276 Mi crowave measurements
50 Ω S
11A
= 0
S
11M
= 0 E
DF
+
(0) (E
RF
)
1–E
SF
(0)
Fi gure 12.14 ‘ Per fect l oad’ ter mi nati on model
I f the val ue of these three ‘ E’ errors and the measured test devi ce response were
known f or each f requency, thi s equati on coul d be sol ved f or S
11A
to obtai n the actual
test devi ce response. Because each of these errors changes wi th f requency, thei r
val ues must be known at each test f requency. These val ues are f ound by measuri ng
the system at the measurement pl ane usi ng three i ndependent standards whose S
11
i s
known at al l f requenci es.
The f i rst standard appl i ed i s a ‘ perf ect l oad’ , whi ch assumes S
11
= 0 and essen-
ti al l y measures di recti vi ty (Fi gure 12.14). ‘ Perf ect l oad’ i mpl i es a ref l ecti on-l ess
termi nati on at themeasurement pl ane. Al l i nci dent energy i sabsorbed. Wi th S
11A
= 0
the equati on can be sol ved f or E
DF
, the di recti vi ty term. I n practi ce, of course, the
‘ perf ect l oad’ i sdi ff i cul t to achi eve, al though very good broadband l oadsareavai l abl e
i n the compati bl e cal i brati on ki ts.
Si nce the measured val ue f or di recti vi ty i s the vector sum of the actual di recti vi ty
pl us the actual ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of the ‘ perf ect’ l oad, any ref l ecti on f rom the
termi nati on representsan error (Fi gures12.15 and 12.16). System eff ecti vedi recti vi ty
becomes the actual ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of the near ‘ perf ect l oad’ .
I n general , any termi nati on havi ng areturn l oss val uegreater than theuncorrected
system di recti vi ty reduces ref l ecti on measurement uncertai nty.
Next, a short ci rcui t termi nati on whose response i s known to a very hi gh degree i s
used to establ i sh another condi ti on (Fi gures 12.17 and 12.18. The open ci rcui t gi ves
the thi rd i ndependent condi ti on (Fi gures 12.19 and 12.20). I n order to accuratel y
model the phase vari ati on wi th f requency due to f ri ngi ng capaci tance f rom the open
connector, a speci al l y desi gned shi el ded open ci rcui t i s used f or thi s step (the open
ci rcui t capaci tance i s di ff erent f or each connector type).
Now the val ues f or E
DF
, di recti vi ty, E
LF
, source match, and E
RF
, ref l ecti on
f requency response, are computed and stored.
Thi s compl etes the cal i brati on procedure f or one-port devi ces.
12.10 One-por t device measur ement
Theunknown one-port devi cei smeasured to obtai n val uesf or themeasured response,
S
11M
, at each f requency.
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 277
Actual
directivity
before
correction
(D
A
)
(–D
M
)
Effective
directivity
after
correction
(D
A
–D
M
= –Γ
L
)
Γ of load

L
)
Measured
directivity
before
correction
(D
M
)
Fi gure 12.15 Vector di agr am showi ng how effecti ve di recti vi ty (E
DF
) i s resol ved
Fi gure 12.16 Networ k anal yser di spl ay wi th a sl i di ng l oad on por t 1 (S
11
) and a
l owband l oad connected to por t 2 (S
22
)
Thi si stheone-port error model equati on sol ved f or S
11A
(Fi gure12.21). Si ncethe
three errors and S
11M
are now known f or each test f requency, S
11A
can be computed
usi ng the f ol l owi ng equati on:
S
11A
=
(S
11M
−E
DF
)
E
SF
(S
11M
−E
DF
) +E
RF
(12.2)
278 Mi crowave measurements
S
11A
= 1∠180°
S
11M
= E
DF
+
(−1) (E
RF
)
1–E
SF
(−1)
Fi gure 12.17 Shor t ci rcui t ter mi nati on model
Fi gure 12.18 Networ k anal yser di spl ay wi th shor t ci rcui ts connected to both por ts
(S
11
and S
22
)
S
11A
= 1∠
fc
S
11M
= E
DF
+
(1∠
fc
) (E
RF
)
1–E
SF
(1∠
fc
)
Fi gure 12.19 Open ci rcui t ter mi nati on model
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 279
Fi gure 12.20 Networ k anal yser di spl ay wi th open ci rcui ts connected to both por ts
(S
11
and S
22
)
S
11A
S
11A
=?
S
11M
= E
DF
+
(S
11A
) (E
RF
)
1–E
SF
S
11A
Fi gure 12.21 Fl ow di agr am representi ng the i ndi vi dual consti tuents of an S
11
refl ecti on measurement
For ref l ecti on measurements on two-port devi ces, the same techni que can be
appl i ed, but thetest devi ceoutput port must betermi nated i n thesystem characteri sti c
i mpedance. Thi s termi nati on shoul d have as l ow a ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent as the l oad
used to determi ne di recti vi ty. The addi ti onal ref l ecti on error caused by an i mproper
termi nati on at thetest devi ce’ soutput port i snot usual l y i ncorporated i nto theone-port
error model .
12.11 Two-por t er r or model
The error model f or measurement of the transmi ssi on coeff i ci ents (magni tude and
phase) of a two-port devi ce i s deri ved i n a si mi l ar manner. The potenti al sources of
280 Mi crowave measurements
Measurement errors
Tracking
Source
match
Unknown
Isolation
Directivity
Load
match
Measured
value
S
21M
S
21A
Fi gure 12.22 Maj or sources of er ror i n tr ansmi ssi on measurements of a two-por t
devi ce
Forward
S
12M
S
12A
E
TR
S
21A
S
21M
S
21M
S
21A
=
E
TF
E
TF
(T) (I) Reverse
(T) (I)
S
12M
S
12A
=
E
TF
Fi gure 12.23 Consti tuent par ts of the tr ansmi ssi on coeffi ci ent model
error are f requency response (tracki ng), source match, l oad match and i sol ati on as
shown i n Fi gure 12.22. On a two-port network anal yser these errors are eff ecti vel y
removed usi ng the f ul l two-port error model .
The transmi ssi on coeff i ci ent i s measured by taki ng the rati o of the i nci dent si gnal
(I ) and the transmi tted si gnal (T) (Fi gure 12.23). I deal l y, (I ) consi sts onl y of power
del i vered by the source and (T) consi sts onl y of power emergi ng at the test devi ce
output.
As i n the ref l ecti on model , source match can cause the i nci dent si gnal to vary
as a f uncti on of test devi ce S
11A
. Al so, si nce the test setup transmi ssi on return port
i s never exactl y the characteri sti c i mpedance, some of the transmi tted si gnal s are
ref l ected f rom the test set port 2, and f rom other mi smatches between the test devi ce
output and the recei ver i nput, to return to the test devi ce. A porti on of thi s si gnal
may be re-ref l ected at port 2, thus aff ecti ng S
21M
, or part may be transmi tted through
the devi ce i n the reverse di recti on to appear at port 1, thus aff ecti ng S
11M
. Thi s error
term, whi ch causes the magni tude and phase of the transmi tted si gnal to vary as a
f uncti on of S
22A
, i s cal l ed l oad match, E
LF
(Fi gure 12.24).
The measured val ue, S
21M
, consi sts of si gnal components that vary as a f uncti on
of the rel ati onshi p between E
SF
and S
11A
as wel l as E
LF
and S
22A
, so the i nput and
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 281
S
21
E
RF
S
12
E
SF
S
11
S
22
E
LF
(T)S
21M
Load
match
(I)
Source
match
Port
1
Port
2
Fi gure 12.24 Load match er ror model
output ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents of thetest devi cemust bemeasured and stored f or usei n
the S
21A
error-correcti on computati on. Thus, the test setup i s cal i brated as descri bed
f or ref l ecti on to establ i sh the di recti vi ty, E
DF
, source match, E
SF
, and ref l ecti on
f requency response, E
RF
, terms f or ref l ecti on measurements on both ports. Now that
a cal i brated port i s avai l abl e f or ref l ecti on measurements, the thru i s connected and
l oad match, E
LF
, i s determi ned by measuri ng the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of the thru
connecti on. Transmi ssi on si gnal path f requency response i s then measured wi th the
thru connected. The data are corrected f or source and l oad match eff ects, then stored
as transmi ssi on f requency response, E
TF
.
Note: I t i s very i mportant that the exact el ectri cal l ength of the thru be known. Most cal i brati on
ki ts assume a zero l ength thru. For some connecti on types such as Type-N, thi s i mpl i es one
mal e and one f emal e port. I f the test system requi res a non-zero l ength thru, f or exampl e, one
wi th two mal e test ports, the exact el ectri cal del ay of the thru adapter must be used to modi f y
the bui l t-i n cal i brati on ki t def i ni ti on of the thru.
I sol ati on, E
XF
, representsthepart of thei nci dent si gnal that appearsat therecei ver
wi thout actual l y passi ng through the test devi ce (Fi gures 12.25 and 12.26). I sol ati on
i s measured wi th the test set i n the transmi ssi on conf i gurati on and wi th termi nati ons
i nstal l ed at the poi nts where the test devi ce wi l l be connected. Si nce i sol ati on can
be l ower than the noi se f l oor, i t i s best to i ncrease averagi ng by at l east a f actor of 4
duri ng the i sol ati on porti on of the cal i brati on.
Note: I f thel eakage(i sol ati on) f al l s bel ow thenoi sef l oor, i t i s best to i ncreaseaveragi ng bef ore
cal i brati on. I f i t i s not possi bl e to i ncrease the averagi ng i t wi l l be better to omi t the i sol ati on
measurement.
Thustherearetwo setsof error terms, f orward and reverse, wi th each set consi sti ng
of si x error terms, as f ol l ows:
• Di recti vi ty, E
DF
(f orward) and E
DR
(reverse)
• I sol ati on, E
XF
and E
XR
• Source match, E
SF
and E
SR
282 Mi crowave measurements
(I)
Port
1
Port
2
Isolation E
XF
E
FT
S
21M
Fi gure 12.25 I sol ati on er ror model
Fi gure 12.26 Typi cal networ k anal yser di spl ay dur i ng the i sol ati on measurement
• Load match, E
LF
and E
LR
• Transmi ssi on tracki ng, E
TF
and E
TR
• Ref l ecti on tracki ng, E
RF
and E
RR
Network anal ysers equi pped wi th S-parameter test sets can measure both the f orward
and reversecharacteri sti csof thetest devi cewi thout theperf ormer havi ng to manual l y
remove and physi cal l y reverse the devi ce.
A f ul l two-port error model i s i l l ustrated i n Fi gure 12.28. Thi s i l l ustrati on depi cts
how the anal yser eff ecti vel y removes both the f orward and reverse error terms f or
transmi ssi on and ref l ecti on measurements.
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 283
Fi gure 12.27 Typi cal networ k anal yser di spl ay dur i ng the ‘ through’ measurement
Forward
Reverse
RF IN
1
E
DF
E
SF
S
11A
S
22A
S
12A
S
21A
S
11A
E
LR
E
TR
E
XR
S
12M
S
22A
S
12A
Port 1 Port 2
RF IN
1
E
RR
E
SR
E
DR
S
22M
S
21A
E
TF
S
21M
E
LF
E
XF
E
RF
S
11M
Fi gure 12.28 Ful l two-por t er ror model
The equati ons f or al l f our S-parameters of a two-port devi ce are shown i n
Fi gure 12.29. Note that the mathemati cs f or thi s comprehensi ve two-port error model
use al l f orward and reverse error terms and measured val ues. Thus, to perf orm f ul l
error-correcti on f or any one parameter, al l f our S-parameters must be measured.
284 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 12.29 Mathemati cal representati on of the ful l two-por t er ror model
al gor i thms
12.12 T RL calibr ation
12.12.1 TRL ter mi nol ogy
Noti ce that the l etters TRL, LRL, LRM etc. are of ten i nterchanged, dependi ng on the
standards used. For exampl e ‘ LRL’ i ndi cates that two l i nes and a ref l ect standard are
used and LRM i ndi cates that a ref l ecti on and match standards are used. Al l of these
ref er to the same basi c method.
TRL

cal i brati on i samodi f i ed f orm of TRL cal i brati on. I t i sadapted f or arecei ver
wi th three sampl ers i nstead of f our sampl ers. The TRL

cal i brati on i s not as accurate
astheTRL cal i brati on becausei t cannot i sol atethesourcematch f rom thel oad match,
so i t assumes that l oad match and source match are equal .
12.12.1.1 How T RL

/L RL

calibr ation wor ks
The TRL/LRL cal i brati on used i n the network anal yser rel i es on the characteri sti c
i mpedance of si mpl e transmi ssi on l i nes rather than on a set of di screte i mpedance
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 285
R
A
Error
adapter
Error
adapter
B
(S
A
)
8 Error terms
Fi gure 12.30 Functi onal bl ock di agr am for a two-por t er ror cor rected networ k
anal yser measurement system empl oyi ng onl y three recei ver s
standards. Si nce transmi ssi on l i nes are rel ati vel y easy to f abri cate (e.g. i n mi crostri p
or co-axi al ), the i mpedance of these l i nes can be determi ned f rom the physi cal
di mensi ons and substrate’ s di el ectri c constant.
For the anal yser TRL

two-port cal i brati on, a total of ten measurements are made
to quanti f y ei ght unknowns (not i ncl udi ng the two i sol ati on error terms). Assume
the two transmi ssi on l eakage terms, E
XF
and E
XR
are measured usi ng the conven-
ti onal techni que. The ei ght error terms are represented by the error adapters shown
i n Fi gure 12.30. Al though thi s error model i s sl i ghtl y di ff erent f rom the tradi ti onal
Ful l two-port 12-term model , the conventi onal error terms may be deri ved f rom i t.
For exampl e, the f orward ref l ecti on tracki ng (E
RF
) i s represented by the product of
ε
10
and ε
01
. Al so noti ce that the f orward source match (E
SF
) and reverse l oad match
(E
LR
) are both represented by ε
11
whi l e both the reverse source match (E
SR
) and
f orward l oad match (E
LF
) are represented by ε
22
. I n order to sol ve f or these ei ght
unknown TRL error terms, ei ght l i nearl y i ndependent equati ons are requi red.
Thef i rst step i n theTRL

two-port cal i brati on process i s thesameas thetransmi s-
si on step f or a f ul l two-port cal i brati on. For the thru step, the test ports are connected
together di rectl y (zero l ength thru) or wi th ashort l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne(non-zero
l ength thru) and the transmi ssi on f requency response and port match are measured i n
both di recti ons by measuri ng al l f our S-parameters.
For the ref l ect step, i denti cal hi gh-ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent standards (typi cal l y open
or short ci rcui ts) are connected to each test port and measured (S
11
and S
22
).
For the l i ne step, a short l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne (di ff erent i n l ength f rom the
thru) i s i nserted between port 1 and port 2 and the f requency response and port match
are measured i n both di recti ons by measuri ng al l f our S-parameters.
286 Mi crowave measurements
I n total , ten measurementsaremade, resul ti ng i n ten i ndependent equati ons. How-
ever, the TRL error model has onl y ei ght error terms to sol ve f or. The characteri sti c
i mpedance of the l i ne standard becomes the measurement ref erence and, theref ore,
has to be assumed i deal (or known) and def i ned preci sel y.
At thi s poi nt the f orward and reverse di recti vi ty (E
DF
and E
DR
), transmi ssi on
tracki ng (E
TF
and E
TR
) and ref l ecti on tracki ng (E
RF
and E
RR
) terms may be deri ved
f rom the TRL error terms. Thi s l eaves the i sol ati on (E
XF
and E
XR
), source match
(E
SF
and E
SR
) and l oad match (E
LF
and E
LR
) terms to di scuss.
12.12.1.2 I solation
Two addi ti onal measurements are requi red to sol ve f or the i sol ati on terms (E
XF
and
E
XR
). I sol ati on i s characteri sed i n the same manner as the f ul l two-port cal i brati on.
Forward and reverse i sol ati on are measured as the l eakage (or crosstal k) f rom port 1
to port 2 wi th each port termi nated. The i sol ati on part of the cal i brati on i s general l y
onl y necessary when measuri ng hi gh-l oss devi ces (greater than 70 dB).
12.12.1.3 Sour ce match and load match
A TRL cal i brati on assumes a perf ectl y bal anced test set archi tecture as shown by the
term whi ch represents both the f orward source match (E
SF
) and reverse l oad match
(E
LR
) and by the (ε
22
) term whi ch represents both the reverse source match (E
SR
) and
f orward l oad match (E
LF
). However, i n any swi tchi ng test set, the source and l oad
match terms are not equal because the transf er swi tch presents a di ff erent termi nati ng
i mpedance as i t i s changed between port 1 and port 2.
I n network anal ysers based on a three-sampl er recei ver archi tecture, i t i s not
possi bl e to di ff erenti ate the source match f rom the l oad match terms. The termi nati ng
i mpedance of the swi tch i s assumed to be the same i n ei ther di recti on. Theref ore, the
test port mi smatch cannot be f ul l y corrected. An assumpti on i s made, such that
Forward source match (E
SF
) = reverse l oad match (E
LR
) = ε
11
Reverse source match (E
SR
) = f orward l oad match (E
LF
) = ε
22
For a f i xture, TRL

can el i mi nate the eff ects of the f i xture’ s l oss and l ength, but
does not compl etel y remove the eff ects due to the mi smatch of the f i xture.
Note: Because the techni que rel i es on the characteri sti c i mpedance of transmi ssi on l i nes, the
mathemati cal l y equi val ent method (f or l i ne-ref l ect-match) may be substi tuted f or TRL. Si nce
a wel l matched termi nati on i s, i n essence, an i nf i ni tel y l ong transmi ssi on l i ne, i t i s wel l sui ted
f or l ow-f requency cal i brati ons. Achi evi ng a l ong l i ne standard f or l ow f requenci es i s of ten
physi cal l y i mpossi bl e.
Most of the l atest network anal ysers are equi pped wi th f our recei ver test-sets. I n
thi s conf i gurati on they are abl e to i mpl ement the f ul l TRL al gori thm.
12.12.2 Tr ue TRL/LRL
I mpl ementati on of TRL cal i brati on wi th a network anal yser whi ch empl oys f our
recei vers requi res a total of f ourteen measurements to quanti f y ten unknowns as
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 287
opposed to onl y a total of twel ve measurements f or TRL

(both i ncl ude the two
i sol ati on error terms).
Because of the f our-sampl er/recei ver archi tecture, addi ti onal correcti on of the
source match and l oad match terms i s achi eved by measuri ng the rati o of the two
‘ ref erence’ recei vers duri ng the thru and l i ne steps. These measurements characteri se
the i mpedance of the swi tch and associ ated hardware i n both the f orward and reverse
measurement conf i gurati ons. They are then used to modi f y the correspondi ng source
and l oad match terms (f or both f orward and reverse).
The f our recei ver conf i gurati on wi th TRL cal i brati on establ i shes a hi gher per-
f ormance cal i brati on method over TRL

, because al l si gni f i cant error terms are
systemati cal l y reduced. Wi th TRL

, the source and l oad match terms are essen-
ti al l y that of the raw, ‘ uncorrected’ perf ormance of the hardware where as wi th TRL
the source and l oad match terms are reduced i n l i ne wi th the qual i ty of cal i brati on ki t
components used.
12.12.3 The TRL cal i br ati on procedure
When bui l di ng a set of standards the requi rements f or each of the standard types
speci f i ed i n Tabl e 12.1 must be sati sf i ed.
Tabl e 12.1 TRL cal i br ati on procedure: requi rements for each of the standard types
Standard types Requi rements
Thru No l oss
I mpedance (Z
0
) need not be known
S
21
= S
12
= 1∠0

S
11
= S
22
= 0
Thru (non-zero l ength) Z
0
of the thru must be the same as the l i ne. Attenuati on of the
thru need not be known. I f the thru i s used to set the ref erence
pl ane, the i nserti on phase or el ectri cal l ength must be wel l
known and speci f i ed
Ref l ect Ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent magni tude i s opti mal l y 1.0, but need
not be known. Phase of must be known and speci f i ed to be
wi thi n ±1/4 wavel ength or 90

. must be i denti cal on both
ports. I f the ref l ect i s used to set the ref erence pl ane, the phase
response must be wel l known and speci f i ed.
Li ne/match (l i ne) Z
0
of the l i ne establ i shes the i mpedance of the measurement
(i .e. S
11
= S
22
= 0). I nserti on phase of the l i ne must be
di ff erent f rom the thru. Di ff erence between thru and l i ne must
be >20

and <160

. Attenuati on need not be known. I nserti on
shoul d be known
Li ne/match (match) Z
0
of the match establ i shes the ref erence i mpedance of the
measurement. must be i denti cal on both ports
288 Mi crowave measurements
When cal i brati ng a network anal yser, the actual cal i brati on standards must have
known physi cal characteri sti cs. For the ref l ect standard, these characteri sti cs i ncl ude
the off set i n el ectri cal del ay (seconds) and the l oss ( per second of del ay). The
characteri sti c i mpedance, Z
0
, i s not used i n the cal cul ati ons i n that i t i s determi ned by
the l i ne standard. The ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent magni tude shoul d opti mal l y be 1.0, but
need not be known si nce the same ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent magni tude must be appl i ed
to both ports.
The thru standard may be a zero ss-l ength or known l ength of transmi ssi on l i ne.
The val ue of l ength must be converted to el ectri cal del ay, j ust l i ke that done f or the
ref l ect standard. The l oss term must al so be speci f i ed.
The l i ne standard must meet speci f i c f requency-rel ated cri teri a, i n conj uncti on
wi th the l ength used by the thru standard. I n parti cul ar, the i nserti on phase of the
l i ne must not be the same as the thru. The opti mal l i ne l ength i s
1
4
wavel ength (90

)
rel ati ve to a zero l ength thru at the f requency of i nterest, and between 20

and 160

of phase di ff erence over the f requency range of i nterest. (Note: these phase val ues
can be ±N × 180

, where N i s an i nteger.) I f two l i nes are used the di ff erence i n
el ectri cal l ength of the two l i nes shoul d meet these opti mal condi ti ons. Measurement
uncertai nty wi l l i ncrease si gni f i cantl y when the i nserti on phase nears zero or i s an
i nteger mul ti pl e of 180

, and thi s condi ti on i s not recommended.
For a transmi ssi on medi um that exhi bi ts l i near phase over the f requency range of
i nterest, the f ol l owi ng expressi on can be used to determi ne a sui tabl e l i ne l ength of
1
4
wavel ength at the f requency (whi ch equal s the sum of the start f requency and stop
f requency di vi ded by 2):
El ectri cal l ength (cm) = (Li ne −Zero l ength thru)
El ectri cal l ength (cm) =
(15,000 ×VF)
f
1
(MHz) +f
2
(MHz)
(12.3)
where f
1
= 1000 MHz, f
2
= 2000 MHz and VF = Vel oci ty Factor = 1.
Thus the l ength to i ni ti al l y check i s 5 cm. Next, use the f ol l owi ng to veri f y the
i nserti on phase at f
1
and f
2
(1000 and 2000 MHz):
Phase (degrees) =
(360 ×f ×l )
v
(12.4)
where f i s the f requency (MHz), l i s the l ength of l i ne (cm) and v = vel oci ty =speed
of l i ght × vel oci ty f actor, whi ch can be reduced to the f ol l owi ng:
Phase (degrees) approxi matel y =
0.012 ×f (MHz) ×l (cm)
VF
(12.5)
So f or an ai rl i ne (vel oci ty f actor i s approxi matel y 1) at 1000 MHz, the i nserti on phase
i s 60

f or a 5 cm l i ne; i t i s 120

at 2000 MHz. Thi s l i ne woul d be sui tabl e as a l i ne
standard.
Where the standard i s f abri cated i n other medi a (mi crostri p f or i nstance) the
vel oci ty f actor i s si gni f i cant. For exampl e, i f the di el ectri c constant f or a substrate
i s 10, and the correspondi ng ‘ eff ecti ve’ di el ectri c constant f or mi crostri p i s 6.5, then
the ‘ eff ecti ve’ vel oci ty f actor equal s 0.39 (1 +

6.5).
Cal i br ati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 289
Usi ng the above a potenti al probl em usi ng TRL becomes evi dent. The l engths of
ai rl i ne requi red at l ow f requenci es become so l ong that they are di ff i cul t to f abri cate.
12.13 Data-based calibr ations
Tradi ti onal l y the cal i brati on standards used i n any network anal yser cal i brati on rou-
ti nehavebeen def i ned i n termsof theway i n whi ch thei r parametersvary i n rel ati on to
the measurement f requency; f or i nstance, the open ci rcui t woul d be def i ned i n terms
of capaci tance. Three or f our f requency terms woul d be empl oyed, f , f
2
, f
3
and
someti mes f
4
. Open ci rcui ts woul d be def i ned i n a si mi l ar manner, i n terms of i nduc-
tance. As correcti on al gori thms progressed some standards were def i ned i n terms of
both capaci tance and i nductance. Loads were usual l y consi dered as perf ect. These
def i ni ti ons are usual l y excel l ent provi di ng that i t i s possi bl e to def i ne the standards
usi ng smooth curves.
As processors and parti cul arl y memory have become cheaper another method of
def i ni ng the cal i brati on standards has become avai l abl e, the data-based cal i brati on.
Each standard i s measured across thef requency rangeof i nterest usi ng thebest equi p-
ment and techni ques avai l abl e. These measured val ues are entered i nto the network
anal yser’ s database and used i n the correcti on al gori thms. At f requenci es where data
are not avai l abl e the network anal yser uses i nterpol ati on, thus i f measurements are
made at more f requenci es on the standards, the resul ti ng network anal yser measure-
ments wi l l become more accurate. El ectroni c cal i brati on uni ts, where the standards
are i n one encl osure and a swi tch matri x empl oyed to appl y them to the network
anal yser, of ten use a data-based cal i brati on routi ne. The accuracy avai l abl e f rom
the data-based cal i brati on empl oyi ng the el ectroni c cal i brati on uni ts approaches the
best avai l abl e f rom TRL cal i brati ons, but wi thout needi ng the same l evel of ski l l ed
operator.
Refer ences
1 J.M. Hawki ns (ed.): The Oxford Reference Di cti onar y. (Oxf ord Uni versi ty Press,
Oxf ord, 1987, repri nted 1989)
2 8719ET/20ET/22ET, 8719ES/20ES/22ES Network Anal ysers User’ s Gui de,
Agi l ent Technol ogi es, I nc. 2000
3 HP8753A Network Anal yser Operati ng and Programmi ng Ref erence–08753-
90015, Hewl ett-Packard Company, 1986. Now Agi l ent Technol ogi es, I nc.
Chapter 13
Ver ification of automatic networ k analyser s
I an I nstone
13.1 I ntr oduction
Network anal ysers are compl ex i nstruments that can combi ne many di ff erent i nstru-
mentswi thi n onemeasurement system. Wi th thi si n mi nd i t i seasy to makeapparentl y
si mi l ar measurements wi th a vari ety of di ff erent i nstrument setti ngs. Each setti ng
may enhance one parti cul ar aspect of the measurement, but thi s i s of ten traded off i n
another area. For exampl e, to i mprove repeatabi l i ty we mi ght i ncrease the averagi ng
or decreasethebandwi dth or useacombi nati on of both. Theresul ti ng i mprovement i n
repeatabi l i ty wi l l usual l y beat theexpenseof theconsi derabl y i ncreased measurement
ti me.
Thi s chapter di scusses di ff erent types of veri f i cati on whi ch may be appl i ed to
network anal yser measurements to enabl e the user to assess or conf i rm the most
appropri atechoi ceof setti ngson thenetwork anal yser f or thei r parti cul ar measurement
scenari o.
13.2 Definition of ver ification
As wi th cal i brati on, i t i s i mportant to understand the i nterpretati on of the word
‘ veri f i cati on’ . The Oxford Reference Di cti onar y (1989) def i nes the word ‘ veri f y’
as ‘ to establ i sh the truth or correctness of by exami nati on or demonstrati on; (of an
event etc.) to bear out, to f ul f i l (a predi cti on or promi se)’ . Thi s di cti onary def i ni ti on
exactl y descri bes the process of veri f i cati on as appl i ed to automati c network anal -
ysers; the qual i ty of measurements whi ch the anal yser i s capabl e of maki ng i s
veri f i ed by compari ng them wi th val ues obtai ned f rom another source, whereas
cal i brati on characteri sesthenetwork anal yser pri or to ‘ corrected’ measurementsbei ng
perf ormed.
292 Mi crowave measurements
13.3 Types of ver ification
There are several di ff erent methods of veri f i cati on so the method chosen needs
to address the parti cul ar requi rements of the user. I n al l cases the method chosen
or desi gned shoul d provi de the user wi th at l east acceptabl e conf i dence that
the measurements bei ng made wi th the network anal yser meet the user’ s mi ni -
mum qual i ty requi rements. Veri f i cati on l i mi ts are set usi ng a combi nati on of the
measurement uncertai nti es and the acceptabl e product qual i ty. Uncertai nti es shoul d
be assessed usi ng an accepted method such as that descri bed i n EA-10/12, Gui de-
l i nes on the Eval uati on of Vector Networ k Anal yser s, avai l abl e f ree f rom http://www.
euromet.org/docs/cal gui des/i ndex.html
13.3.1 Ver i fi cati on of er ror ter ms
Asdescri bed i n theprevi ouschapter, thecorrected network anal yser’ sdi spl ay i smade
up of the f ol l owi ng el ements:
(1) parameters of the devi ce under test (DUT),
(2) errors contri buted by the measurement system,
(3) correcti ons appl i ed to the measurements and
(4) resi dual errors present af ter correcti on.
Veri f i cati on of the network anal yser’ s resi dual errors af ter correcti on i nvol ves mea-
suri ng and quanti f yi ng the resi dual errors present af ter the error correcti on has been
appl i ed. Thi s method i s perhaps one of the most di ff i cul t to perf orm, i s the most
ti me consumi ng, and requi res the hi ghest ski l l l evel s, but wi l l enabl e the user to
determi ne exactl y whi ch components may requi re attenti on wi thout any addi ti onal
measurements havi ng to be perf ormed. Typi cal l y, thi s type of veri f i cati on provi des
the greatest i nsi ght i nto the characteri sti cs of the network anal yser and cal i brati on
ki t used.
13.3.2 Ver i fi cati on of measurements
Thi s veri f i cati on scheme i nvol ves cal i brati ng the network anal yser (usual l y as part
of the normal measurement process) and then measuri ng a known artef act(s). Appro-
pri ate acceptance l i mi ts must be set when usi ng thi s method as i t i s of ten possi bl e f or
one parameter showi ng poor perf ormance to be masked by other parameters where
perf ormance exceeds mi ni mum expectati ons. Whi l st thi s method provi des the best
assessment of al l the contri butors combi ni ng i n the uncertai nty budget, the danger
i s that one component i n the cal i brati on ki t or network anal yser whi ch i s begi nni ng
to deteri orate i s masked by other parameters that are sti l l exceedi ng expectati ons.
Thi s method, however, i s one of the easi est to i mpl ement, easi est to understand and
qui ckest to perf orm so warrants consi derati on on these poi nts al one.
On a producti on l i ne thi s method mi ght be i mpl emented by peri odi cal l y taki ng
a ‘ sampl e’ DUT and re-testi ng i t on a di ff erent network anal yser or measurement
system. I f the measurements f rom both systems are compared and the resul ts f ound
Ver i fi cati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 293
to f al l wi thi n the user’ s acceptabl e qual i ty l i mi ts i t can be assumed that both systems
are maki ng acceptabl e measurements.
Thi s method i s of ten used by network anal yser manuf acturers and thei r servi ce
agents when mai ntai ni ng customer’ s equi pment at the customer’ s si te.
13.4 Calibr ation scheme
I t shoul d be possi bl e to perf orm veri f i cati on of the network anal yser i rrespecti ve
of the cal i brati on scheme used. The correcti on coeff i ci ents empl oyed as a resul t of
the cal i brati on may aff ect the acceptance l i mi ts used f or the veri f i cati on but shoul d
havel i ttl eor no i nf l uenceon themethod of veri f i cati on. I deal l y thecal i brati on scheme
empl oyed wi l l be i denti cal to that used f or measurements, and mi ght even be exactl y
the same cal i brati on. As the veri f i cati on veri f i es the sati sf actory operati on of the
network anal yser, test port l eads, adapters and cal i brati on ki t, i t i s essenti al to ensure
that al l of these i tems are used i n the cal i brati on and veri f i cati on process.
13.5 Er r or ter m ver ification
For a f ul l two-port measurement seven domi nant error terms that coul d be checked
are as f ol l ows:
(1) eff ecti ve di recti vi ty,
(2) eff ecti ve source match,
(3) eff ecti ve l oad match,
(4) eff ecti ve i sol ati on,
(5) eff ecti ve tracki ng,
(6) eff ecti ve l i neari ty and
(7) repeatabi l i ty.
The term ‘ eff ecti ve’ as used i n the l i st above ref ers to the parameter af ter error
correcti on has been appl i ed. These terms are of ten ref erred to as the resi dual errors,
whi ch are al so contri butors to the uncertai nty of measurement. Methods f or checki ng
most of these terms are shown i n EA-10/12.
13.5.1 Effecti ve di recti vi ty
Di recti vi ty ref ers to the abi l i ty of a di recti onal devi ce, such as a coupl er or di recti onal
bri dge, to separate the f orward and reverse si gnal s. Where the bri dge or coupl er i s
embedded i n a network anal yser the most conveni ent way to measure thi s parameter
i s to f i rst ref l ect al l of the si gnal usi ng a short or open ci rcui t (the mean between the
short and open ci rcui t i s consi dered the most accurate i n thi s si mpl i sti c case) and set
as a ref erence. The short or open ci rcui t i s then repl aced wi th a f i xed termi nati on
of the correct characteri sti c i mpedance. Where the f i xed termi nati on has a good
match (negl i gi bl evol tageref l ecti on coeff i ci ent) thenetwork anal yser’ sdi spl ay wi l l be
294 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 13.1 Typi cal networ k anal yser di spl ay of the vol tage refl ecti on coeffi ci ent
of a fi xed broadband l oad
predomi nantl y composed of the eff ecti ve di recti vi ty. Si nce the perf ect termi nati on
rarel y exi sts, we need some method of separati ng the network anal yser’ s own errors
f rom those generated by the f i xed termi nati on. These errors tend to i ncrease as the
measurement f requency i ncreases. Two methods of ‘ si gnal separati on’ are di scussed
bel ow (Fi gure 13.1).
13.5.1.1 Sliding load method
A sl i di ng l oad can beused to separatethedi recti vi ty f rom thetermi nati ng l oad. Where
possi bl e the network anal yser shoul d be set to di spl ay the measurements i n ‘ l i near
mode’ . Af ter the ref erence has been recorded the sl i di ng l oad i s connected i n pl ace
of the open or short ci rcui ts. I f the l oad el ement i s posi ti oned f urthest away f rom the
i nput connector the network anal yser wi l l di spl ay a curve representi ng the match of
the sl i di ng l oad’ s l oad el ement wi th ri ppl e superi mposed upon the measurement. The
maj ori ty of ri ppl ei sproduced by thedi recti vi ty ei ther addi ng ‘ i n phase’ or ‘ anti -phase’
wi th the l oad el ement measurement. There wi l l al so be a smal l error produced i n thi s
measurement contri buted by the eff ects of i mperf ect source match and an i mperf ect
sl i di ng l oad el ement; however, thi s error i s of ten so smal l that i t i s negl ected. The
di recti vi ty may be assessed by measuri ng the hei ght of the ri ppl es: di recti vi ty wi l l
be one-hal f the ri ppl e ampl i tude. Someti mes the transi ti ons i n match of the sl i di ng
l oad make the measurement of the superi mposed ri ppl e di ff i cul t or i mpossi bl e. I n
these cases i t wi l l be necessary to make a conti nuous waves (CW) measurement.
The network anal yser’ s marker i s pl aced at the f requency of i nterest. The sl i di ng
l oad i s adj usted so that a maxi mum val ue i s observed usi ng the marker and the val ue
noted. The sl i di ng l oad i s now adj usted so that a mi ni mum val ue i s observed usi ng
Ver i fi cati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 295
the marker and the val ue noted. The di recti vi ty i s one-hal f of the di ff erence between
the two marker val ues.
The maj or probl em i n usi ng a sl i di ng l oad i s that measurements on sl i di ng l oads
are di ff i cul t to perf orm and traceabi l i ty f or these measurements may not be easy to
obtai n.
13.5.1.2 Offset load or air line method
Thi smethod worksi n avery si mi l ar way to thesl i di ng l oad method. Af ter theref erence
has been recorded the ai rl i ne and f i xed termi nati on are connected i n pl ace of the open
or short ci rcui ts. The network anal yser wi l l di spl ay a curve representi ng the match
of the f i xed termi nati on wi th ri ppl e (f rom the di recti vi ty) superi mposed upon the
measurement. Hal f of the ampl i tude of the ri ppl e i s the di recti vi ty. Thi s method has
the same probl em as the sl i di ng l oad method regardi ng the eff ects of source match.
Provi di ng the f i xed termi nati on has a smal l ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent thi s probl em wi l l
be kept to a mi ni mum (Fi gures 13.2 and 13.3).
Wherethef i xed termi nati on showsarapi d transi ti on between two val uesof ref l ec-
ti on coeff i ci ent i t may not bepossi bl eto makean accuratemeasurement of di recti vi ty.
Si nce thi s method shoul d be i ndependent of the f i xed termi nati on used, i t wi l l be
perf ectl y val i d to sel ect another f i xed termi nati on wi th a di ff erent ref l ecti on coeff i -
ci ent prof i l e to provi de more rel i abl e di recti vi ty measurements at these more di ff i cul t
f requenci es.
The cal i brati on devi ces used to characteri se the eff ecti ve di recti vi ty term are the
l ow-band l oad (at l ower f requenci es), and the sl i di ng l oad or short ai rl i ne(s) at hi gh
f requenci es except i n broadband l oad cal i brati ons where the broadband l oad i s used
Fi gure 13.2 Ri ppl e super i mposed on the fi xed l oad response caused by the i nter ac-
ti on of di recti vi ty and the broadband l oad
296 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 13.3 Usi ng another broadband l oad wi th a di fferent profi l e can make the
r i ppl es easi er to deter mi ne
excl usi vel y to def i ne the di recti vi ty term. The types of measurement most aff ected
by di recti vi ty errors are l ow-ref l ecti on measurements; hi gh-ref l ecti on measurements
wi l l of ten appear as normal .
13.5.2 Effecti ve source match
Thi s term ref ers to the i mpedance of the di recti onal bri dge or coupl er and associ ated
cabl es and adapters as they are presented to the DUT. Methods of measurement
are very si mi l ar to those used to measure eff ecti ve di recti vi ty. However, si nce we
need to measure source match we must f eed a reasonabl e ampl i tude si gnal back i nto
the di recti onal bri dge or coupl er. Thi s task i s perf ormed best usi ng ei ther a short
or open ci rcui t. The short or open ci rcui t i s usual l y connected to the di recti onal
bri dge or coupl er vi a an ai rl i ne, whi ch provi des some phase shi f t enabl i ng the source
match to be shown as ri ppl e superi mposed on the ref l ecti on characteri sti cs of the
short or open ci rcui t. One probl em i n tryi ng to present these data i s that the l oss
of the ai rl i ne used i s of ten a maj or part of the di spl ayed measurement. Thi s can
make i t di ff i cul t to determi ne the ri ppl e ampl i tude when the source match i s f ai rl y
smal l . Shorter ai rl i nes wi l l reduce the l oss and wi l l al so reduce the quanti ty of ri ppl es
observed so a sui tabl e compromi se must be achi eved. Note i n the f ol l owi ng pl ots
that there are some ri ppl es of very short peri od whi ch can be i gnored as they are
probabl y generated by other eff ects wi thi n the measurement system (Fi gures 13.4
and 13.5).
As wi th di recti vi ty, the peak to peak hei ght of the ri ppl e i s twi ce the source match.
Note al so that thi s measured source match al so contai ns the di recti vi ty, whi ch at any
Ver i fi cati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 297
Fi gure 13.4 Ri ppl ecaused by thei nter acti on of thesourcematch and an open ci rcui t
Fi gure 13.5 Ri ppl e caused by the i nter acti on of the source match and a shor t ci rcui t
gi ven f requency may ei ther add to or subtract f rom the source match. Si nce we have
no easy way of separati ng thesourcematch and di recti vi ty, weusual l y consi der di rec-
ti vi ty as one of the sources of uncertai nty when maki ng source match measurements.
Di recti vi ty i s usual l y much smal l er than source match so thi s assumpti on causes f ew
probl ems.
Ti me-domai n gati ng (expl ai ned bel ow) can be used to eff ecti vel y separate these
i nteracti ng terms. Unf ortunatel y, i t has not been possi bl e to provi de traceabi l i ty f or
298 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 13.6 Ri ppl e caused by the i nter acti on of the source match and shor t and
open ci rcui ts
any measurements i n the ti me-domai n so thi s f uncti on i s best l ef t to the devel -
opment l aboratori es where i t provi des usef ul i mprovements i n test devel opment
ti mes.
One neat tri ck that can be empl oyed to provi de rel i abl e and easy to read source
match measurementsi sto ei ther storeor pl ot thedi spl ay wi th ashort ci rcui t connected,
then connect theopen ci rcui t. Assumi ng theshort and open ci rcui tsareapproxi matel y
180

apart i n ref l ecti on phase, the resul tant di spl ay wi l l be one of two traces where
the ‘ peaks and troughs’ occur at approxi matel y the same f requenci es (l ooki ng si mi l ar
to the envel ope on an Ampl i tude Modul ated si gnal ).
The peaks and troughs can now be read at the same f requency, produci ng a more
accurate val ue of source match at a parti cul ar f requency (Fi gure 13.6).
I t i s al so possi bl e to use a sl i di ng short ci rcui t to determi ne source match at any
parti cul ar f requency, usi ng a si mi l ar techni que as descri bed f or the sl i di ng l oad i n the
measurement of di recti vi ty. Unf ortunatel y, sl i di ng short ci rcui ts f i tted wi th co-axi al
connectors are now getti ng harder to obtai n. Thi s techni que i s sti l l usef ul where
rectangul ar wavegui dei s empl oyed as thetransmi ssi on medi um becausesl i di ng short
ci rcui ts i n rectangul ar wavegui de are sti l l suppl i ed by several manuf acturers.
The cal i brati on i tems used to characteri se the eff ecti ve source match term are the
short and open ci rcui ts. A poor connecti on of ei ther of these devi ces wi l l aff ect the
eff ecti ve source match. Further, open ci rcui ts usual l y have a centre pi n supported
wi th a del i cate pi ece of di el ectri c; i f thi s di el ectri c f ractures and the centre pi n i s
mi spl aced the eff ect on the source match wi l l be massi ve. The measurements most
aff ected by source match errors are hi gh-ref l ecti on measurements and transmi ssi on
measurements of hi ghl y ref l ecti ve devi ces. Poor cabl es can cause both the di recti vi ty
Ver i fi cati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 299
and source match terms to vary as the cabl e i s f l exed. The eff ect of thi s vari ati on i s
that there wi l l be errors i n the measured val ues .
13.5.3 Effecti ve l oad match
Eff ecti ve l oad match i s the eff ecti ve i mpedance of the l oad presented to the DUT. For
a f ul l two-port measurement the l oad woul d be represented by the ‘ recei vi ng si gnal
port’ . As there appear to be no ‘ cl assi cal ’ methods f or measuri ng l oad match i t i s usu-
al l y assumed that i t hasasi mi l ar val ueto thesourcematch. Ref er to Networ k Anal yser
Uncer tai nty Computati ons for Smal l Si gnal Model Extr acti ons by Jens Vi dkj ær [ 1]
f or more detai l ed i nf ormati on on thi s subj ect. The measurements most aff ected by
eff ecti ve l oad match are al l transmi ssi on and ref l ecti on magni tude measurements of
l ow i nserti on l oss two-port devi ces.
13.5.4 Effecti ve i sol ati on
I sol ati on i s a measure of how much si gnal passes f rom one channel to the other when
both channel s are termi nated i n thei r characteri sti c i mpedance. Al though the error
correcti on routi nes are desi gned to compensate f or some degree of poor i sol ati on i t i s
good practi ce to mai ntai n as i deal a val ue as possi bl e. The si mpl est way to measure
i sol ati on i sto connect thetwo test port cabl estogether and set atransmi ssi on ref erence
i n each di recti on on the screen. Then connect reasonabl y wel l -matched termi nati ons
to the DUT ends of the test port cabl es and repeat the transmi ssi on measurement.
The screen di spl ay wi l l be very noi sy and shoul d consi st of a combi nati on of the
network anal yser noi se f l oor and the network anal yser’ s i sol ati on. Poor i sol ati on may
becaused by l ooseconnectorswi thi n thetest set or poor or worn screeni ng throughout
the measurement system. I n parti cul ar, l ook at the test port extensi on cabl es as these
are of ten subj ected to pl enty of f l exi ng and pl enty of wear and tear at the connector.
Whi l st connectors i n poor condi ti on wi l l be obvi ous to the experi enced eye, there wi l l
be f ew vi si bl e si gns of any deteri orati ng screeni ng maki ng regul ar testi ng desi rabl e.
Wherei sol ati on i s f ound to beaconstant val ueat any parti cul ar f requency correcti ons
are appl i ed. Wi th modern network anal ysers havi ng very good i sol ati on, of ten i n the
same area as the i nstrument’ s noi se f l oor, there i s of ten a danger that the val ues
due to the noi se f l oor become entered i nto the i sol ati on correcti ons causi ng f urther
errors rather than correcti ng them. Poor i sol ati on woul d aff ect both ref l ecti on and
transmi ssi on measurements where the test channel si gnal i s at a very l ow l evel , that
i s, ref l ecti on measurements and al so transmi ssi on measurements where the i nserti on
l oss of the DUT i s l arge (i .e. greater than a 50 dB attenuator).
13.5.5 Tr ansmi ssi on and refl ecti on tr acki ng
Thi s correctabl e error i ncl udes the eff ects of the i nserti on l oss of the si gnal separati on
devi ces, detectors (or sampl ers), cabl es, si gnal paths and any other i tems i n the si gnal
paths. Resi dual errors af ter correcti on may be anal ysed by connecti ng the test port
cabl estogether and exami ni ng thetransmi ssi on trace. Any devi ati on f rom 0 dB may be
300 Mi crowave measurements
dueto tracki ng. Al so, theremay bean ampl i tude-dependent tracki ng error; thi swoul d
be checked i n the same way, but i n addi ti on the source power woul d be vari ed and
the trace devi ati on f rom the 0 dB l evel noted.
The cal i brati on devi ces used to characteri se transmi ssi on tracki ng are the trans-
mi ssi on measurements of the ‘ thru’ connecti on. Large vari ati ons i n the tracki ng
terms mi ght i ndi cate a probl em i n the ref erence or test si gnal path i n the test set
or poor connecti ons duri ng the cal i brati on process. Al l transmi ssi on measurements
are aff ected by transmi ssi on tracki ng errors.
The cal i brati on devi ces used to characteri se ref l ecti on tracki ng are the short and
open ci rcui ts. As wi th transmi ssi on tracki ng l arge vari ati ons i n the tracki ng term
mi ght i ndi cate a probl em i n the ref erence or test si gnal path i n the test set or poor
connecti ons duri ng the cal i brati on process. Al l ref l ecti on measurements are aff ected
by transmi ssi on tracki ng errors.
13.5.6 Effecti ve l i near i ty
Devi ati on f rom l i neari ty may be checked by measuri ng a previ ousl y cal i brated step-
attenuator. Provi di ng the step-attenuator has been cal i brated wi th a suff i ci entl y l ow
measurement uncertai nty, and the step-attenuator has a good match i n each di rec-
ti on, i t can be assumed that any devi ati ons noted are due to the network anal yser’ s
devi ati on f rom i deal l i neari ty. Eff ecti ve l i neari ty i s a si gni f i cant contri butor i n the
uncertai nty budget and needs to be assessed wi th the si gnal travel l i ng i n ei ther
di recti on.
Li neari ty i s not a term characteri sed usi ng the cal i brati on ki t. Some network anal -
ysershavecorrecti onsf or l i neari ty whi ch may beupdated when arouti nemai ntenance
check i s perf ormed. Al l measurements are aff ected by l i neari ty.
13.5.6.1 Time-domain and de-embedding
Many of the hi gher f requency network anal ysers are capabl e of perf ormi ng f ast
Fouri er transf orms (FFTs). Where i mpl emented thi s process al l ows measurements
of components wi thi n compl ex networks to be di spl ayed usi ng a process known as
‘ ti me-domai n gati ng’ . The component under test or eval uati on i s mathemati cal l y
de-embedded f rom i ts surroundi ng network and i ts response di spl ayed on the screen
of thenetwork anal yser. Thi sf uncti on can beempl oyed to provi deval uesof di recti vi ty
and source match provi di ng a sui tabl e ref erence (usual l y an ai rl i ne i n same charac-
teri sti c i mpedance as the coupl er or di recti onal bri dge) i s avai l abl e. Unf ortunatel y,
traceabi l i ty of measurement has not been devel oped f or thi s type of ti me-domai n
f uncti on, so these measurement methods are best l ef t f or routi ne mai ntenance and
di agnosti c tasksrather than thetask of ensuri ng traceabi l i ty of measurement. Thecon-
cept of ti me-domai n gati ng ref ers to mathemati cal l y removi ng a porti on of the
ti me-domai n response, and then vi ewi ng the resul t i n the f requency domai n. The
i ntent i s to remove the eff ects of unwanted ref l ecti ons, say f rom connectors and
transi ti ons l eavi ng j ust the response of the devi ce bei ng measured. An experi enced
operator wi l l be abl e to perf orm measurements of di recti vi ty, source match and l oad
match much f aster usi ng ti me-domai n gati ng rather than usi ng any of the al ternati ve
methods descri bed above.
Ver i fi cati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 301
13.6 Ver ification of measur ements
Thi s method of veri f i cati on i s perhaps easi er to understand and provi des a much
easi er vi sual i sati on of the general heal th of the network anal yser, cal i brati on ki t and
test port cabl es. Themethod i nvol vescal i brati ng thenetwork anal yser then measuri ng
an artef act or artef acts. The measurements are then compared ei ther wi th measure-
ments perf ormed earl i er, or i f i t i s desi red to obtai n traceabi l i ty thi s way they woul d
be compared wi th measurements perf ormed on the same artef acts at a l aboratory
operati ng at a hi gher echel on i n the traceabi l i ty chai n. For thi s method to be eff ecti ve
the artef acts used f or the veri f i cati on need to be stabl e wi th both ti me and tempera-
ture. For these reasons ‘ si mpl e’ devi ces such as f i xed attenuators, f i xed termi nati ons
and certai n types of coupl er are of ten chosen. Someti mes an artef act si mi l ar to that
whi ch i t i s desi red to measure i s chosen so that i f an error occurs wi thi n the measuri ng
system i ts eff ect can be seen and assessed i mmedi atel y.
13.6.1 Customi sed ver i fi cati on exampl e
To i mprove throughput on one of the producti on l i nes i t was deci ded to use an el ec-
troni c cal i brati on modul e wi th the network anal yser testi ng i nput i mpedance. I t was
al so desi red to cal i brate or check the e-cal modul e on si te as the onl y al ternati ve was
to have i t sent overseas to i ts manuf acturer whi ch woul d cause unacceptabl e down-
ti me. The speci f i cati on of the e-cal modul e i s excel l ent so strai ghtf orward testi ng of
i t coul d not be perf ormed to the desi red l evel . I t was deci ded that an artef act whi ch
was representati ve of the manuf actured product coul d be used to access the ‘ general
heal th’ of the compl ete measuri ng system. The artef act chosen was a programmabl e
attenuator wi th a short ci rcui t connected to one port (Fi gure 13.7). Thi s provi des a
range of mi smatch that can be adj usted usi ng sof tware so mai ntai ni ng the l evel of
automati on.
I t was not consi dered necessary to have al l steps of the attenuator measured as
thi s woul d provi de too much i nf ormati on, much of whi ch may never be l ooked at,
hence, the f ol l owi ng were chosen:
(1) hi ghest mi smatch,
(2) approxi mate upper speci f i cati on of DUT,
(3) approxi mate centre of speci f i cati on of DUT,
(4) approxi mate l ower speci f i cati on of DUT and
(5) l owest mi smatch.
Fi gure 13.7 Ar tefact chosen for the compar i son, an Agi l ent 84904K progr ammabl e
step-attenuator wi th a type N adapter and shor t ci rcui t fi tted
302 Mi crowave measurements
8719ES and 8510C iPIMMS measurement comparison
using ET54021 18 June 2004
0.070
0.075
0.080
0.085
0.090
0.095
2
.
3
6

G
H
z
2
.
3
8

G
H
z
2
.
4
0

G
H
z
2
.
4
2

G
H
z
2
.
4
4

G
H
z
2
.
4
6

G
H
z
2
.
4
8

G
H
z
2
.
5
0

G
H
z
2
.
5
2

G
H
z
2
.
5
4

G
H
z
Measurement frequency
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

r
e
f
l
e
c
t
i
o
n

c
o
e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
t
8719ES iPIMMS
Fi gure 13.8 Pl ot produced from the resul ts of a customi sed ver i fi cati on exampl e
showi ng al l of the uncer tai nty bar s over l appi ng
Thi s l i st provi des pl enty of measurements i n the range where i t i s essenti al f or the
network anal yser to provi de the most accurate measurements possi bl e, and some
suppl ementary measurements (hi ghest and l owest mi smatch) whi ch coul d be used
to provi de some rudi mentary di agnosi s shoul d the need ari se. The attenuator was
cal i brated usi ng the best and most accurate and traceabl e equi pment possi bl e. The
attenuator was then transf erred to theproducti on l i newherei t was measured usi ng the
network anal yser and el ectroni c-cal i brati on system. A graphi cal representati on of the
two sets of resul ts obtai ned i s shown i n Fi gure 13.8. The process i s f ul l y automated
so i t can be used each ti me the network anal yser i s re-cal i brated. Si nce accurate
measurements can take a l ong ti me to obtai n there were onl y 51 poi nts measured by
the ‘ accurate’ network anal yser. Thi s i s adequate i n thi s case because the attenuator
i s a l i near resi sti ve devi ce so there i s a hi gh probabi l i ty that l i near i nterpol ati on can
be used between measurement poi nts, i f necessary. The producti on l i ne network
anal yser, however, i s normal l y measuri ng acti ve devi ces so measurements are made
at consi derabl y more f requenci es, al bei t wi th sl i ghtl y greater uncertai nti es i n pl aces.
I n order to make thi s quanti ty of measurements wi thi n the very short ti mes demanded
by producti on processes they must be made f aster, wi th the trade-off bei ng sl i ghtl y
i ncreased measurement uncertai nti es.
Note i n Fi gure 13.8 that the ref erence measurements are perf ormed at consi d-
erabl y f ewer f requenci es. Thi s i s qui te normal as ‘ qual i ty measurements’ can be
expensi ve to perf orm. Suff i ci ent measurements have been perf ormed showi ng that
l i near i nterpol ati on between measured val ues i s val i d.
13.6.2 Manufacturer suppl i ed ver i fi cati on exampl e
Many manuf acturers suppl y veri f i cati on procedures wi th thei r network anal ysers.
The user wi l l normal l y need to buy a veri f i cati on ki t whi ch i s of ten suppl i ed wi th a
di sk contai ni ng measurements made on the component parts of the ki t. Veri f i cati on
Ver i fi cati on of automati c networ k anal yser s 303
ki ts and associ ated procedures are usual l y desi gned to provi de a qui ck ‘ heal th check’
on the network anal yser. Testi ng that the network anal yser (and cal i brati on ki t) meet
thei r speci f i cati on wi l l of ten i nvol ve adj usti ng the setti ngs on the network anal yser
resul ti ng i n the measurements taki ng f ar l onger. The process begi ns wi th the oper-
ator perf ormi ng an appropri ate cal i brati on (error correcti on). Test devi ces f rom the
veri f i cati on ki t are then measured and the resul ts compared wi th measurements that
were made usi ng a ref erence measurement system (Fi gures 13.9 and 13.10). I f the
compari son reveal s that the resul ts f al l wi thi n prescri bed l i mi ts the network anal yser
(and appropri ate cal i brati on ki t) are sai d to be veri f i ed. Thi s type of veri f i cati on i s
i ntended as a routi ne ‘ heal th check’ and i s used by some manuf acturers as a rou-
ti ne check f or equi pment i nstal l ed at a customer’ s l ocati on. To thi s end the sof tware
requi red to automate thi s process and theref ore i mprove consi stency i s of ten i ncl uded
wi thi n the operati ng f i rmware of the network anal yser.
Fi gure 13.9 Pr i nted output from a typi cal ver i fi cati on progr am. A sheet si mi l ar to
thi s i s produced for both phase and magni tude for each S-par ameter
of each devi ce tested
304 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 13.10 Another exampl e from the same ver i fi cati on routi ne, thi s ti me
di spl ayi ng a tr ansmi ssi on par ameter
The maj or probl em wi th these types of veri f i cati on (manuf acturer suppl i ed and
customi sed) i s that al l of the ‘ errors’ and measurements are l umped together, the
measured val ues contai n both and there i s no easy way to separate them. Degraded
i tems can be off set by i tems sti l l i n thei r pri me. Thi s makes i t very di ff i cul t to i denti f y
any one devi ce i n the cal i brati on ki t or network anal yser whi ch may be starti ng to
dri f t i nto aprobl em state, but at l east has theadvantageof al l owi ng theuser to qui ckl y
esti mate i f thei r system i s i n a sui tabl e state f or measurements.
Presentati on of the resul ts can be di ff i cul t i n certai n ci rcumstances, parti cul arl y
transmi ssi on phase where the phase vector of ten rotates through i ts f ul l 360

and the
test l i mi t can be l ess than 1

.
Refer ences
Vi dkj ær, J.: Networ k Anal yser Uncer tai nty Computati ons for Smal l Si gnal Model
Extr acti ons, Techni cal Uni versi ty of Denmark, R549, Feb 1994
Chapter 14
Balanced device char acter isation
Ber nd A. Schi ncke
14.1 I ntr oduction
For decades hi gh f requency ci rcui ts were devel oped usi ng unbal anced
(non-symmetri cal ) structures. Typi cal l i ne systems, representi ng thi s ki nd of struc-
ture, arecoaxi al or copl anar l i nesystems. Each unbal anced system consi stsof asi gnal
l i ne and a ground. The measurabl e si gnal i s ref erenced to the ground.
Bal anced (or symmetri cal ) structures are not used that of ten. A typi cal bal -
anced structure i s a paral l el l i ne system (Lecher l i ne), a Low Vol tage Di ff erenti al
Si gnal Li ne (LVDS-l i ne) or bal anced ampl i f i ers and f i l ters. Typi cal l y such a structure
consi sts of two l i nes (si mpl y sai d, a ‘ pl us’ and a ‘ mi nus’ ) and a si gnal can be mea-
sured between these two l i nes. I n practi ce, these structures create some addi ti onal
phenomena compared to unbal anced systems whi ch must be anal ysed i n detai l .
I n an unbal anced system onl y the non-symmetri cal TEM mode i s present and i t
can be compared to the so-cal l ed common mode, whi ch we wi l l di scuss l ater. I n a
coaxi al system thei nner conductor i sthesi gnal l i neand theouter conductor represents
the ground. I n addi ti on thi s ground f uncti ons as a shi el d. Unbal anced l i ne systems are
normal l y connected to unbal anced ci rcui ts. Under the condi ti on of power matchi ng
the measured vol tage U
1
agai nst ground i s U
01
/2.
Wecan concl udethat such an unbal anced system off ersvery hi gh noi sei mmuni ty,
i t generatesl essradi ati on, thei ntegrati on densi ty i shi gh and thel ossesareacceptabl e.
I f such a l i ne i s connected to, f or exampl e, a non-shi el ded ci rcui t, a si gnal gener-
ated by an i nterf erer (l i ke ground noi se or general el ectromagneti c i nterf erence) can
be i nduced on the si gnal and wi l l be present on the si gnal at the l oad. A f undamen-
tal di sadvantage of an unbal anced structure i s i ts suscepti bi l i ty agai nst an i nterf erer
(Fi gure 14.1).
By usi ng a bal anced system (two-l i ne-system), i n an i deal case onl y one si gnal
between the two l i nes can be measured. Here, the di ff erenti al TEM mode i s the onl y
306 Mi crowave measurements
Fi gure 14.1 Unbal anced system
Fi gure 14.2 Bal anced system
onewhi ch i spresent. Anal ogousto thebal anced l i nesystem theci rcui tsareperf ormed
as bal anced structures, too. A di sadvantage by usi ng bal anced structures i s that more
components are needed compared wi th unbal anced structures. Under the condi ti on
of power matchi ng a vol tage U
2
can be measured between the two l i nes whi ch can
be expressed by U
02
/2.
An i mportant advantage i s that the ori gi nal si gnal i s (theoreti cal l y) not i nf l uenced
by el ectromagneti c radi ati on. A bal anced system can be perf ormed by usi ng a trans-
f ormer to transf orm the si gnal wi th 0

phase shi f t to the ‘ upper’ l i ne and by usi ng a
BALUN (BALanced–UNbal anced) to transf orm the si gnal wi th 180

phase shi f t to
the ‘ l ower’ l i ne. I f an i nterf erer occurs, the si gnal s on both l i nes are i nterf ered i n the
same way. Usi ng the same transf ormer/BALUN structure at the output of the ci rcui t
the 0

phase shi f ted, i nterf ered si gnal wi l l be superi mposed on the 180

phase shi f ted
si gnal and the i nterf erence wi l l be shortened (Fi gure 14.2).
I f aground i spresent, agai n under thecondi ti on of power matchi ng, thesi gnal that
can be measured between each si gnal l i ne (upper and l ower) and the ground i s U
02
/4.
Between the two l i nes U
2
= U
02
/2. The si gnal s have the same ampl i tude, but they
are 180

phase shi f ted. Thi s means that the needed vol tage ampl i tudes to generate a
desi red power arehal f of theneeded ampl i tudesworki ng wi th an unbal anced structure.
The advantage i s that components wi th a l ower breakdown vol tage can be used.
For narrow band appl i cati ons especi al l y i n the hi gher GHz range (e.g. l ow noi se
converter (LNC)) the band-pass f i l teri ng off ers suff i ci ent i nterf erence suppressi on.
Such a system wi l l i n the f uture al so serve as an unbal anced system.
14.1.1 Physi cal background of di fferenti al str uctures
An essenti al probl em when worki ng wi th di ff erenti al structures i s that we cannot
regard a di ff erenti al structure as a pure ‘ two-l i ne-system’ . Every bal anced system
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 307
Fi gure 14.3 Three-l i ne-system
must be regarded together wi th a ground. When, f or exampl e, a twi sted pai r l i ne i s
used i n an i nstrument, the i nstrument wal l i s normal l y grounded. A mul ti l ayer board
needsground l ayersi n order not to i nf l uenceeach other. Becauseof theground (‘ thi rd
l i ne’ ) i n practi cesuch adi ff erenti al structuremust beregarded asa‘ three-l i ne-system’
(Fi gure 14.3).
I n a three-l i ne-system two di ff erent TEM modes of propagati on are possi bl e and
must be anal ysed. On the ri ght-hand si de the (wanted) di ff erenti al energy propagates
through the devi ce under test (DUT), on the l ef t-hand si de the common mode energy.
Especi al l y el ectromagneti c radi ati on and ground noi se are typi cal common mode
si gnal s. On a board the two modes are quasi -TEM modes wi th di ff erent f i el d di stri -
buti onsi n theai r and i n thedi el ectri c materi al . Thi scan resul t i n di ff erent propagati on
vel oci ti es and the characteri sti c i mpedances of the two modes are typi cal l y di ff erent.
To perf orm an exact measurement and di mensi onal desi gn i n the RF, an
S-parameter descri pti on i s needed taki ng both modes i nto account.
14.1.1.1 I deal device
An i deal bal anced devi ce i s characteri sed by i deal symmetry of , f or exampl e, the
two l i nes. Thi s means i n detai l the same el ectri cal l ength, same attenuati on, same
di el ectri c, etc. I n thi s case onl y the di ff erenti al mode si gnal i s transmi tted and the
common mode si gnal i s suppressed. Thi s i s val i d f or pure di ff erenti al structures
(bal anced i nput/bal anced output) and f or bal anced to si ngl e-ended structures (e.g.
bal anced i nput/si ngl e-ended output) (Fi gure 14.4).
14.1.1.2 Real device
Caused by asymmetri es such an i deal bal anced structure i s normal l y not gi ven. Very
of ten i t i s possi bl e to measure a common mode at the output of a DUT even though
the devi ce i s powered by a pure di ff erenti al mode si gnal . I n thi s case a common mode
si gnal i sgenerated f rom thedi ff erenti al modesi gnal . Such acommon modesi gnal can
be descri bed as an el ectromagneti c i nterf erer. Thi s procedure i s cal l ed ‘ Di ff erenti al
Mode to Common Mode Conversi on’ .
I f thedevi cei spowered onl y by acommon modesi gnal , i t i spossi bl eto measurea
di ff erenti al mode si gnal at the output. Here, f rom an el ectromagneti c i nterf erer at the
i nput, adi ff erenti al modesi gnal at theoutput i sgenerated whi ch wi l l besuperi mposed
the ori gi nal di ff erenti al si gnal . Caused by thi s ‘ Common Mode to Di ff erenti al Mode
Conversi on’ the structure becomes suscepti bl e to an EMI (Fi gure 14.5).
308 Mi crowave measurements
Gain = 1
Differential-mode signal
Common-mode signal
(EMI or ground noise)
Differential-mode signal
Common-mode signal
(EMI or ground noise)
Balanced to
single ended
Fully balanced
Gain = 1
Fi gure 14.4 I deal devi ce
+
Generates EMI
++
Susceptible to EMI
Differential to
common mode
conversion
Common-mode to
differential conversion
Fi gure 14.5 Real devi ce, tr ansmi ssi on char acter i sti c
These f acts are val i d f or the transmi ssi on characteri sti c of the DUT as wel l as f or
the ref l ecti on characteri sti c of the DUT.
We can concl ude that real devi ces are normal l y non-i deal devi ces. Non-i deal
devi ces convert di ff erenti al mode energy i nto common mode energy and common
mode energy i nto di ff erenti al mode energy. Thi s conversi on can be measured at the
i nput of aDUT (converted, ref l ected energy) and at theoutput (converted, transmi tted
energy).
The compl ete descri pti on of a non-i deal devi ce i s shown i n the si gnal -f l ow
di agram i n Fi gure 14.6.
Usi ng thi s model thebal anced devi cei s descri bed by two separatesystems, apure
common mode system and a pure di ff erenti al mode system.
The pure common mode S-parameters are the connecti on between the common
mode sti mul us si gnal s and the measured common mode responses. The pure di f -
f erenti al mode S-parameters are descri bed by the connecti on between di ff erenti al
mode sti mul us si gnal s and measured di ff erenti al responses. The conversi on param-
eters, caused by the i nteracti on between the two systems, are al so shown i n thi s
model .
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 309
Common
mode
Common
mode
Ground Ground
Differential
mode
Differential
mode
Fi gure 14.6 Si gnal -fl ow di agr am
14.2 Char acter isation of balanced str uctur es
The typi cal parameters to be tested are
(1) perf ormance i n the pure di ff erenti al mode,
(2) perf ormance i n the pure common mode,
(3) conversi on f rom di ff erenti al mode to common mode (i n both di recti ons) and
(4) conversi on f rom common mode to di ff erenti al mode (i n both di recti ons).
To be abl e to do al l these measurements the unbal anced two-port model must be
extended to a bal anced two-port model . Such a bal anced two-port model has by
def i ni ti on f our unbal anced physi cal ports.
To measure the pure di ff erenti al mode and the pure common mode behavi our as
wel l as the conversi on parameters we must be abl e to generate di ff erenti al mode and
common mode si gnal s and to measure the desi red responses. These measurements
must be done i n both di recti ons. The connecti on between the sti mul us si gnal s and
the measured responses are descri bed by the so-cal l ed Mi xed Mode S-parameters
Matri x.




b
DD,1
b
DD,2
b
CC,1
b
CC,2




=




S
DD,11
S
DD,12
S
DC,11
S
DC,12
S
DD,21
S
DD,22
S
DC,21
S
DC,22
S
CD,11
S
CD,12
S
CC,11
S
CC,12
S
CD,21
S
CD,22
S
CC,21
S
CC,22




·




a
DD,1
a
DD,2
a
CC,1
a
CC,2




(14.1)
The di ff erenti al mode sti mul us si gnal s are l abel l ed wi th a
DD
at port one and at port
two and the common mode sti mul us si gnal s wi th a
CC
. The di ff erenti al mode and the
common mode response si gnal s are descri bed by b
DD
and b
CC
(Fi gure 14.7).
310 Mi crowave measurements
P
o
r
t
-
p
a
i
r
_
1
Symmetrical
two-port
Common ports
Differential ports
a
CC,1
b
CC,1
b
DD,1
a
DD,1
a
CC,2
b
CC,2
a
DD,2
b
DD,2
P
o
r
t
-
p
a
i
r
_
2
Fi gure 14.7 Bal anced two-por t
The S-parameters shown wi th the i ndi ces ‘ DD’ and ‘ CC’ are cal l ed sel f -
parameters. These parameters are comparabl e to the unbal anced S-parameters,
becauseby thesetheref l ecti on quanti ty and thetransmi ssi on quanti ty f or thecommon
mode and f or the di ff erenti al mode operati on are descri bed.
The S-parameters shown wi th the i ndi ces ‘ CD’ and ‘ DC’ are the conversi on
parameters. These parameters descri be the ref l ecti on behavi our and the transmi ssi on
behavi our of the DUT under the condi ti on that mode conversi on happens. I f pos-
si bl e, the conversi on parameters must be as l ow as possi bl e. I deal l y the common
mode system i s compl etel y separated f rom the di ff erenti al mode system. Then the
conversi on parameters are zero. The conversi on parameters of di ff erenti al structures
become very l ow, whenever the l i nes are symmetri c. Thi s means that each l i ne off ers
the same attenuati on, same el ectri cal l ength, etc.
14.2.1 Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on usi ng networ k anal ysi s
Network anal ysers are i n general not devel oped to characteri se bal anced devi ces
because they are unbal anced and normal l y onl y have two ports. They are work-
i ng wi th CW (conti nuous wave) si gnal s and do not generate common mode si gnal s
and di ff erenti al mode si gnal s. I n addi ti on, the hardware structure i s not desi gned to
measure the common mode and the di ff erenti al mode response and characteri se the
common mode and the di ff erenti al mode behavi our of the DUT. I n addi ti on f or bal -
anced devi ces, bal anced cal i brati on standards and a normal i sed ref erence i mpedance
(Z
0
) are not avai l abl e.
14.2.2 Char acter i sati on usi ng physi cal tr ansfor mer s
By usi ng physi cal transf ormers i t i s possi bl e to transf orm a si ngl e-ended si gnal i nto
a bal anced common mode si gnal and usi ng a BALUN i t i s possi bl e to generate a
bal anced di ff erenti al mode si gnal . Normal l y l i ne i mpedances of 50 agai nst ground
are used. I n thi s case a common mode i mpedance of 25 and a di ff erenti al mode
i mpedance of 100 are generated (Fi gure 14.8).
By usi ng a f our-port network anal yser i t i s possi bl e to connect one transf ormer at
port 1 and one BALUN at port 3 to f eed the bal anced i nput of the bal anced DUT wi th
a common mode si gnal and a di ff erenti al mode si gnal . Usi ng both, the di ff erenti al
mode and the common mode response can al so be measured. At port 2 of the DUT
the second transf ormer and the second BALUN can be connected to measure the
transmi tted common mode and di ff erenti al mode si gnal (Fi gure 14.9).
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 311
unsym.
50Ω
2
5

1
0
0

50Ω
unsym.
50Ω
50Ω
V
I

(
Z
I
)
V
I

(
Z
I
)
Balanced common mode signal Balanced differential mode signal
V
2

(
Z
2
)
V
2

(
Z
2
)
V
2

(
Z
2
)
U
unsym.
U
unsym.
V
2

(
Z
2
)
V
I

(
Z
I
)
V
I

(
Z
I
)
Fi gure 14.8 Physi cal tr ansfor mer and BALUN
DUT
balanced
Fi gure 14.9 BALUN setup
Usi ng such a setup the conversi on parameters can be measured as wel l , because i t
i s possi bl e to generate a di ff erenti al mode sti mul us si gnal at port 1 and to measure the
di ff erenti al modeand thecommon moderesponseat port 1 (ref l ecti on characteri sti cs)
and at port 2 (transmi ssi on characteri sti cs). These measurements can be done bi -
di recti onal l y.
Thi ssi mpl etest setup needsf our physi cal portsand addi ti onal external equi pment.
Caused by thi s external equi pment some di sadvantages are known whi ch make i t
i mpossi bl e to use thi s conf i gurati on i n the range of super hi gh f requenci es (SHF
range) and partl y i n the VHF range (very hi gh f requenci es).
An i mportant di sadvantage i s that the cal i brati on pl ane i s di ff erent f rom the
measurement pl ane because of the unavai l abi l i ty of bal anced cal i brati on standards.
A cal i brati on can be perf ormed at the si ngl e-ended ports on the basi s of coaxi al
cal i brati on tool s. The measurement resul ts af ter such a cal i brati on are resul ts of the
DUT i ncl udi ng the characteri sti cs of the used transf ormers and BALUNs. Especi al l y,
the poor RF perf ormance of a normal BALUN degrades the measurement accuracy.
I n addi ti on the RF perf ormance i s responsi bl e f or the l i mi ted f requency range.
These probl ems can be compensated by usi ng the so-cal l ed Vi rtual I deal
Transf ormers.
312 Mi crowave measurements
16 measured
unbalanced
S-parameters
Description of
virtual ideal
transformers
Calculated
mixed mode
S-parameters
Fi gure 14.10 Modal decomposi ti on method, pr i nci pl e
(14.2)
a
1
a
2
a
3
a
4
b
1
= .
S
11
S
12
S
13
S
14
S
21
S
22
S
23
S
24
S
31
S
32
S
33
S
34
S
41
S
42
S
43
S
44
b
4
b
3
b
2
Test fixture
Port
1
Port
2
Port
3
Port
4
a
b
a
b
DUT
Fi gure 14.11 Unbal anced measurement
14.2.3 Modal decomposi ti on method
The pri nci pl e i s to measure 16 unbal anced S-parameters and to cal cul ate wi th the
hel p of (vi rtual ) i deal transf ormers, the Mi xed Mode S-parameters. The whol e theory
and procedure are gi ven by Bockel man and Ei senstadt [ 1] (Fi gure 14.10).
Fi rst, measure the 16 unbal anced S-parameters of the bal anced two-port model
usi ng a f our-port anal yser (Fi gure 14.11).
As S-parameters can be converted i nto al l other parameters i t i s possi bl e to con-
vert the S-parameters i nto Z-parameters whi ch connect – accordi ng to Ohm’ s l aw –
vol tages wi th currents (Fi gure 14.12).
[V ] = [Z] · [I ] (14.3)
Thenext step i sto expresstheunbal anced measured currentsand vol tagesby bal anced
currents and vol tages. Thi s connecti on can be shown f or two coupl ed l i nes (14.5)
usi ng the Ki rschoff l aws. The pri nci pl e i s shown onl y f or the bal anced port 1. For the
bal anced port 2 i t can be demonstrated i n the same way.
The current at the physi cal port 1 can be expressed by the sum of the di ff erenti al
mode current at the bal anced port 1 and hal f of the common mode current at the
bal anced port 1. Respecti vel y the current at the physi cal port 4 can be expressed
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 313
Port 4
Port 1 Port 3
Port 2
V
1
V
2
V
3
V
4
I
1
I
2
I
3
I
4
DUT
V
1
V
2
V
3
V
4
I
4
= .
Z
11
Z
12
Z
13
Z
14
Z
21
Z
22
Z
23
Z
24
Z
31
Z
32
Z
33
Z
34
Z
41
Z
42
Z
43
Z
44
I
1
I
2
I
3
(14.4)
Fi gure 14.12 Conver si on S-par ameter s →Z-par ameter s
by the sum of the negati ve di ff erenti al mode current and hal f of the common mode
current (14.5).
Por t 1:
I
1
= I
di ff .1
+
1
2
I
com.1
I
4
= I
di ff .1
+
1
2
I
com.1
(14.5)
I
di ff .1
=
1
2
(I
1
−I
4
)
I
com.1
= I
1
+I
4
(14.6)
Usi ng thi s connecti on the di ff erenti al mode and the common mode currents at the
bal anced (or l ogi cal ) port 1 and the bal anced (or l ogi cal ) port 2 can be expressed by
the measured (unbal anced) currents (Fi gure 14.13).
The vol tage at the physi cal port 1 can be expressed by the sum of the di ff erenti al
mode vol tage at the bal anced port 1 and the vol tage U
4
at the unbal anced port 4.
Respecti vel y, twi cethecommon modevol tageat thebal anced port 1 can beexpressed
by the sum of U
1
and U
4
(Fi gure 14.14).
Por t 1:
U
1
= U
di ff .1
+U
4
2.U
com.1
= U
1
+U
4
(14.7)
U
di ff .1
= U
1
−U
4
U
com.1
=
1
2
(U
1
+U
4
)
(14.8)
314 Mi crowave measurements
I
diff 1
−I
diff 2
I
diff 2
½ I
com1
U
1
U
4
1
I
4
I
1
P_1 P_4
½ I
com2
−I
diff 1
U
3
U
2
P_2 P_3
2
I
2
I
3
Fi gure 14.13 Nodal →modal , cur rents at por t 1
U
com1
U
diff 1
U
1
U
4
1
I
4
I
1
P_1 P_4
U
3
U
2
P_2 P_3
2
I
2
I
3
U
com2
U
diff 2
Fi gure 14.14 Nodal →modal , vol tages at por t 1
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 315
To gi ve a total descri pti on accordi ng to the (14.5) and (14.7) the f ol l owi ng matri xes
can be used:




I
1
I
2
I
3
I
4




=












1
1
2
0 0
0 0 −1
1
2
0 0 1
1
2
−1
1
2
0 0












·






I
di ff .1
I
com.1
I
di ff .2
I
com.2






(14.9)
I = Q · I
m
(14.10)




U
1
U
2
U
3
U
4




=












1
2
1 0 0
0 0 −
1
2
1
0 0
1
2
1

1
2
1 0 0












·






U
di ff .1
U
com.1
U
di ff .2
U
com.2






(14.11)
U = P · U
m
(14.12)
At thi s poi nt the cal cul ati on can be done usi ng the f ol l owi ng procedure. As the
mi xed mode vol tages and currents are di rectl y connected to the measured unbal anced
vol tages and currents i t i s possi bl e to show the measured quanti ti es by the mi xed
mode quanti ti es vi rtual l y l i nked to ‘ i deal transf ormers’ (Q, P-matri x).
The quoti ent U
m
/I
m
i s equal to the mi xed mode i mpedances Z
m
. The l ast step
i s to convert the mi xed mode i mpedance matri x i nto the mi xed mode S-parameters
matri x.
V = [P] · V
m
I = [Q] · I
m
V = [Z] · I
V = [Z] · [Q] · I
m
[P] · V
m
= [Z] · [Q] · I
m
V
m
= [P
−1
] · [Z] · [Q] · I
m
Z
m
= [P
−1
] · [Z] · [Q] →S
m
Cal cul ati on 1: cal cul ati on of S
m
usi ng Z-parameter.
316 Mi crowave measurements
Another possi bi l i ty to expl ai n the cal cul ati on of the mi xed mode S-parameters i s
to proceed di rectl y usi ng the wave quanti ti es. Then the di ff erenti al /common currents
and vol tages must be expressed accordi ng to (14.6) and (14.8)






I
di ff .1
I
di ff .2
I
com.1
I
com.2






=









1
2
0 0 −
1
2
0 −
1
2
1
2
0
1 0 0 1
0 1 1 0









·






I
1
I
2
I
3
I
4






(14.13)
I
m
= M
i
· I (14.14)






U
di ff .1
U
di ff .2
U
com.1
U
com.2






=










1 0 0 −1
0 −1 1 0
1
2
0 0
1
2
0
1
2
1
2
0










·






U
1
U
2
U
3
U
4






(14.15)
U
m
= M
u
· U (14.16)
Wave quanti ti es are normal i sed to the root square of the i mpedance. By unbal anced
system the ref erence i mpedance i s normal l y 50 .
i
i
= I
i

Z
0
; u
i
=
U
i

Z
0
(14.17)
Because of the di ff erenti al mode i mpedance normal l y bei ng twi ce the ref erence
i mpedance and the common mode i mpedance normal l y bei ng hal f of the ref erence
i mpedance accordi ng to Bockel man and Ei senstadt [ 1] the normal i sati on shown i n
the f ol l owi ng equati on i s common (Fi gure 14.15).
For m 2 (Bockel mann a.o.)
i
di ff .i
= I
di ff .i
·

2Z
0
; u
di ff .i
=
U
di ff .i

2Z
0
→Z
di ff
= 2Z
0
i
com.i
= I
com.i
·

Z
0
2
; u
com.i
=
U
com.i

Z
0
/2
→Z
com
=
Z
0
2
(14.18)
The cal cul ati on of the mi xed mode S-parameters i s based on the rati o between the
measured wave quanti ti es. Usi ng a normal i sati on accordi ng to (14.17), the measured
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 317
P_1 P_4
P_2 P_3
a
d1
a
c1
b
d1
b
c1
a
d2
a
c2
b
d2
b
c2
P_1
P_2
Fi gure 14.15 Bal anced two-por t descr i pti on
mi xed mode response can be shown by mi xed mode S-parameters mul ti pl i ed wi th a
mi xed mode sti mul us si gnal :
b
m
= S
m
· a
m
u
i
= a
i
+b
i
; i
i
= a
i
−b
i
b
i
=
1
2
(u
i
−i
i
)
a
i
=
1
2
(u
i
+i
i
)
Usi ng the M
i
and the M
u
matri x, i t i s possi bl e to cal cul ate the mi xed mode wave
quanti ti es f rom the si ngl e-ended wave quanti ti es and the measured (unbal anced)
S-parameters. The rati o between the mi xed mode sti mul us and response wave
quanti ti es descri bes the mi xed mode S-parameters.
Usi ng the normal i sati on accordi ng to (14.18) i t can be shown that
M
u
= M
i
b
m
=
1
2
(u
m
−i
m
) =
1
2
M (u −i ) =
1
2
M · b =
1
2
M · S · a
a
m
=
1
2
(u
m
+i
m
) =
1
2
M (u +i ) =
1
2
M · a
M · S · a = S
m
· M · a
318 Mi crowave measurements
Port 3 Port 1 Port 4 Port 2 Port 3 Port 1 Port 4 Port 2
Physical ports
Logical ports
Port 3 Port 1 Port 4 Port 2
Port 1 Port 2
DUT
Fi gure 14.16 Por t confi gur ati on
S
mode res.;mode stim.;port res.;port stim
.
Fi gure 14.17 Nami ng conventi on
S
m
= M · S · M
−1
S = M
−1
· S
m
· M
Cal cul ati on 2: cal cul ati on usi ng f orm 2.
I mportant f or al l cal cul ati ons i s that the port numberi ng must be known because
two si ngl e-ended physi cal ports are combi ned to a l ogi cal (bal anced) port 1 and the
other two si ngl e-ended physi cal ports are combi ned to a l ogi cal (bal anced) port 2
(Fi gure 14.16).
Especi al l y, the cal cul ati ons whi ch are based on f orm 2 are ref erred to di ff erenti al
mode i mpedance whi ch i s twi ce the si ngl e-ended i mpedance and a common mode
i mpedance whi ch i s hal f of the si ngl e-ended i mpedance.
14.2.4 Mi xed-mode-S-par ameter -matr i x
The resul ti ng S-parameters matri x, cal l ed mi xed mode S-parameters matri x, contai ns
S-parameters descri bi ng the ref l ecti on and the transmi ssi on characteri sti cs of a DUT
usi ng di ff erenti al and common mode sti mul us si gnal s and measuri ng di ff erenti al and
common mode responses.
The nami ng conventi on i s rel ated to the nami ng conventi on of the S-parameters.
Thef i rst l etter showstheTEM modeof themeasured si gnal (response) and thesecond
l etter the TEM mode of the sti mul us si gnal (Fi gure 14.17).
The f i rst number names the l ogi cal port where the response i s measured and the
second number names the l ogi cal port where the generator i s worki ng.
The mi xed mode S-parameters matri x descri bes i n the upper l ef t quadrant (or
‘ DD-quadrant’ ) the f undamental perf ormance of the DUT i n pure di ff erenti al mode
operati on and the l ower ri ght quadrant (or ‘ CC-quadrant’ ) i n pure common mode
operati on. Each of the f our S-parameters represents ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents at l ogi cal
port 1 and port 2 and thef orward/reversetransmi ssi on coeff i ci entsbetween thel ogi cal
ports (Fi gure 14.18).
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 319
S
dd11
S
dd12
S
dc11
S
dc12
S
dd21
S
dd22
S
dc21
S
dc22
S
cd11
S
cd12
S
cc11
S
cc12
S
cd21
S
cd22
S
cc21
S
cc22
Fi gure 14.18 Pure di fferenti al and pure common modes
S
dd11
S
dd12
S
dc11
S
dc12
S
dd21
S
dd22
S
dc21
S
dc22
S
cd11
S
cd12
S
cc11
S
cc12
S
cd21
S
cd22
S
cc21
S
cc22
Fi gure 14.19 Mode conver si on par ameter
The upper ri ght and the l ower l ef t quadrant provi de the i nf ormati on about the
conversi on parameter. I n the upper ri ght quadrant (or ‘ DC-quadrant’ ) the conversi on
of a common mode sti mul us si gnal to a di ff erenti al mode response i s descri bed.
A conversi on of a di ff erenti al mode sti mul us si gnal to a common mode response
i s descri bed i n the l ower l ef t quadrant (or CD-quadrant). I t i s obvi ous that these
ref l ecti on and transmi ssi on parameters are equal to zero i n the case of i deal symmetry
(Fi gure 14.19).
As the DC-quadrant shows the part of di ff erenti al mode energy generated f rom a
common mode sti mul us si gnal , thi s quadrant descri bes di rectl y the suscepti bi l i ty to
an EMI .
However, the CD-quadrant descri bes the amount of produced common mode
energy f rom a di ff erenti al mode sti mul us si gnal . Theref ore the i nf ormati on of thi s
quadrant i s rel ated to the generati on of EMI .
14.2.5 Char acter i sati on of si ngl e-ended to bal anced devi ces
Such a typi cal three-port devi ce i s a surf ace acousti c wave (SAW)-f i l ter. The mi xed
mode S-parameters of a three-port devi ce can al so be cal cul ated f rom the unbal anced
measured S-parameters usi ng the same theory (Fi gure 14.20).
320 Mi crowave measurements
Port 1
(unbalanced)
Port 2
(balanced)
Differential-mode
common-mode
Single-ended
DUT
Fi gure 14.20 Three-por t devi ce
S
ss11
S
sd12
S
sc12
S
ds21
S
dd22
S
dc22
S
cs21
S
cd22
S
cc22
Fi gure 14.21 Ni ne-par ameter mi xed mode matr i x
The di ff erence to a f ul l y bal anced DUT i s the si ngl e-ended i nput and the bal anced
output. A structure contai ni ng a bal anced i nput and a si ngl e-ended output i s al so
possi bl e.
Heretheresul ti ng mi xed modeS-parametersmatri x i sani neS-parametersmatri x.
At the si ngl e-ended port onl y the normal ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent can be measured
(l abel l ed wi th S
ss
). The mode conversi on parameters i n the transmi ssi on paths
descri be the mode conversi on f rom the si ngl e-ended si gnal i nto a common mode
si gnal and i nto a di ff erenti al mode si gnal i n the f orward and i n the reverse di recti on.
At the l ogi cal port 2 the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents i n the pure common mode and the
pure di ff erenti al mode operati on can be measured, as wel l as the mode conversi on
parameters of the ref l ected energy at port 2 (Fi gure 14.21).
14.2.6 Typi cal measurements
The measurement parameters di rectl y gi ve some i nf ormati on about the di ff erenti al
and common mode i nserti on l oss and the di ff erenti al and common mode return l oss.
By usi ng external hardware or network anal ysers provi di ng more than f our ports i t
i s al so possi bl e to make Near End Crosstal k (NEXT) and Far End Crosstal k (FEXT)
measurements.
Other very popul ar qual i ty parameters are the ampl i tude i mbal ance and the phase
i mbal ancebecausethi si nf ormati on i sdi rectl y rel ated to thesymmetry of thestructure
and theref ore to the mode conversi on characteri sti c of the DUT.
The i mbal ance parameters can be cal cul ated usi ng (14.19). Usi ng the unbal -
anced MAG-i nf ormati on i t i s possi bl e to show the ampl i tude i mbal ance and usi ng
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 321
Logical port 2 Logical port 1
Port a
Port b
Port c
Fi gure 14.22 I mbal ance and CMRR measurement
the unbal anced phase measurements i t i s possi bl e to show the phase i mbal ance
(Fi gure 14.22).
I MB =
S
ba
S
ca
(14.19)
Thecommon moderej ecti on rati o (CMRR) i stherel ati on between theS
ds21
parameter
and the S
cs21
parameter and provi des i nf ormati on about the rej ected common mode
energy .
CMRR =
S
ds21
S
cs21
(14.20)
Modern network anal ysers wi th powerf ul Math-f uncti ons are abl e to cal cul ate these
resul ts i mmedi atel y and show the resul ts i n an addi ti onal trace.
14.3 M easur ement examples
14.3.1 Exampl e 1: Di fferenti al through connecti on
Thi s si mpl e exampl e shows the i nf l uence of the symmetry on the conversi on
parameters, and thus on the pure di ff erenti al and pure common mode parameters.
Two coaxi al l i nes connected at physi cal port 1 and physi cal port 2 of the anal yser
are combi ned to a l ogi cal port 1. The other two coaxi al l i nes are connected at physi cal
port 2 and physi cal port 4 of the anal yser and combi ned to a l ogi cal port 2. The two
l ogi cal ports are di rectl y connected (through connecti on). To avoi d measurement
errors caused by di ff erent l engths or di ff erent attenuati ons of the coaxi al l i nes, a
coaxi al f ul l f our-port cal i brati on i s recommended (Fi gure 14.23).
The di agrams i n Fi gure 14.24 show al l the 16 mi xed mode S-parameters. The
traces 1, 2, 5 and 6 show the resul ts under pure di ff erenti al mode operati on. We see
that the DUT i s wel l matched at both ports and that the di ff erenti al mode energy does
transmi t the DUT wi th negl i gi bl e l osses.
The traces 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13 and 14 di spl ay the conversi on parameters. I t i s
evi dent that the mode conversi on f rom di ff erenti al mode energy to common mode
energy and the conversi on f rom common mode energy to di ff erenti al mode energy
are very l ow.
322 Mi crowave measurements
Port 1 Port 3 Port 4 Port 2
Logical port 1 Logical port 2
SMA
Reference planes
Fi gure 14.23 Test setup, exampl e 1
The pure common mode behavi our of the DUT i s shown i n the traces 11, 12, 15
and 16. To show the i nf l uence of the symmetry on the structure of a bal anced devi ce,
we wi l l change the symmetry i n two di ff erent ways.
(1) Change of the el ectri cal l ength of one part (l i ne) of the bal anced devi ce by
i mpl ementi ng an addi ti onal smal l pi ece of l i ne between ports 2 and 3.
(2) Creati on of two di ff erent attenuati ons, by i mpl ementi ng a 3 dB attenuator
between ports 2 and 3 and by i mpl ementi ng a 6 dB attenuator between ports
1 and 4. I t i s essenti al to use two di ff erent attenuators because, otherwi se, the
el ectri cal l ength wi l l be changed si gni f i cantl y.
Fi rst, change of the el ectri cal l ength between the ports (Fi gure 14.25).
As we are usi ng a very smal l pi ece of l i ne, the i nf l uence i n the l ower f requency
range i s l ower to the mode conversi on than i n the hi gher f requency range. Thi s
happens due to the rel ati on between the di mensi on of the addi ti onal l i ne and the wave
l ength (Fi gure 14.26).
As expected, the mode conversi on, especi al l y i n the hi gher f requency range,
becomes hi gher. Thi s i s shown i n the l ower two di agrams. For compari son wi th the
i deal resul ts, these are traced. Another poi nt of i nterest i s that the converted energy
(di ff erenti al to common mode) wi l l no l onger be transmi tted as di ff erenti al mode
energy. I n the hi gher f requency range the transmi tted di ff erenti al mode energy seems
to be attenuated.
The next exerci se i s to use di ff erent attenuati ons i n the two parts of the bal anced
devi ce (Fi gure 14.27).
Because of the attenuator bei ng a broadband worki ng devi ce, the i nf l uence of the
symmetry change i n thi s way wi l l be the same duri ng the whol e f requency range.
Compared wi th the i deal (traced) resul ts the mode conversi on becomes hi gher
duri ng the whol e f requency range. The transmi tted di ff erenti al mode energy i s once
agai n attenuated, because a part of the di ff erenti al mode energy i s converted i nto
common mode energy. I n other words, an EMI i s produced f rom the di ff erenti al
mode energy at the i nput (Fi gure 14.28).
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 323

5

2

1

0
.
5
0
.
5
1
2
5
0
0
.
2
0
.
5
11
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
T
r
c
1
S
d
d
1
1
S
m
i
t
h
R
e
f

1

U
C
1
a
S
d
d
1
1

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
2
0
T
r
c
2
S
d
d
1
2
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

3
0
T
r
c
3
S
d
d
1
1
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

4
0
T
r
c
4
S
d
d
1
2
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

S
d
d
1
2

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
S
d
d
1
1

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
S
d
d
1
2
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
T
r
c
5
S
d
d
2
1
S
m
i
t
h
R
e
f

1

U
5
0
S
d
d
2
1

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
6
0
T
r
c
6
S
d
d
2
2
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

7
0
T
r
c
7
S
d
d
2
1
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

8
0
T
r
c
8
S
d
d
2
2
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

S
d
d
2
2

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
S
d
d
2
1

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
S
d
d
2
2
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z

5

2

1

0
.
5
0
.
5
1
2
5
0
0
.
2
0
.
5
11
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
T
r
c
9
S
d
d
1
1
S
m
i
t
h
R
e
f

1

U
9
0
S
d
d
1
1

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
1
0
0
T
r
c
1
0
S
d
d
1
2
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

1
1
0
T
r
c
1
1
S
d
d
1
1
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

1
2
0
T
r
c
1
2
S
d
d
1
2
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

S
d
d
1
2

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
S
d
d
1
1

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
S
d
d
1
2
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
T
r
c
1
3
S
d
d
2
1
S
m
i
t
h
R
e
f

1

U
9
0
S
d
d
2
1

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
1
0
0
T
r
c
1
4
S
d
d
2
2
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

1
1
0
T
r
c
1
5
S
d
d
2
1
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

1
2
0
T
r
c
1
5
S
d
d
2
2
d
B

M
a
g
1
0

d
B
/
R
e
f

S
d
d
2
2

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
S
d
d
2
1

7
0

5
0

3
0

1
0

0
S
d
d
2
2
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z
C
h
1
S
t
a
r
t
P
w
r
0

d
B
r
r
S
t
o
p
8

G
H
z

5

2

1

0
.
5
0
.
5
1
2
5
0
0
.
2
0
.
5
11

5

2

1

0
.
5
0
.
5
1
2
5
0
0
.
2
0
.
5
11
F
i
g
u
r
e
1
4
.
2
4
M
e
a
s
u
r
e
m
e
n
t
o
f
m
i
x
e
d
m
o
d
e
S
-
p
a
r
a
m
e
t
e
r
s
a
c
c
.
t
o
e
x
a
m
p
l
e
1
324 Mi crowave measurements
Port 1 Port 4 Port 2
Logical port 1 Logical port 2
SMA
Add. line
Port 3
Fi gure 14.25 Change of el ectr i cal l ength
0.5
0.5
0 0.2 0.5 1 2 1
1
Ch1 Start 300 kHz Pwr 0 dBm Stop 8 GHz
T
rc1
S
dd11
Smith Ref 1 U Cal
S
dd11
5
Ch1 Start 300 kHz Pwr 0 dBm Stop 8 GHz
T
rc5
Mem14[Trc5]
S
dd21
S
dd21
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
S
dd21
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
10
0
7
Ch1 Start 300 kHz Pwr 0 dBm Stop 8 GHz
T
rc7
Mem15[Trc7]
S
dc21
S
dc21
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
Cal
S
dc21
13
Ch1 Start 300 kHz Pwr 0 dBm Stop 8 GHz
T
rc13
Mem16[Trc13]
S
cd21
S
cd21
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
S
cd21
−5
−2
−1
−0.5
0.5
1
2
5
5
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
10
0
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
10
0
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
10
0
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
10
0
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
10
0
Cal
Cal
Fi gure 14.26 Mode conver si on wi th addi ti onal l i ne
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 325
Port 1 Port 4 Port 2
Logical port 1 Logical port 2
SMA
Attenuators
3-dB
6-dB
Port 3
Fi gure 14.27 Change of the attenuati on
0.5
0.5
0 0.2 0.5 11
1
Ch1 Start 300 kHz Pwr 0 dBm Stop 8 GHz
T
rc1
S
dd11
Smith Ref 1 U Cal
S
dd11
5
Ch1 Start 300 kHz Pwr 0 dBm Stop 8 GHz
T
rc5
Mem14[Trc5]
S
dd21
S
dd21
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
Cal
S
dd21
7
Ch1 Start 300 kHz Pwr 0 dBm Stop 8 GHz
T
rc7
Mem15[Trc7]
S
dc21
S
dc21
dB Mag10 dB / Ref 0 dB
dB Mag10 dB / Ref 0 dB
Cal
S
dc21
13
Ch1 Start 300 kHz Pwr 0 dBm Stop 8 GHz
T
rc13
Mem16[Trc13]
S
cd21
S
cd21
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
dB Mag10 dB / Ref 0 dB
Cal
S
cd21
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
10
0
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
10
0
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
10
0
−5
−2
−1
−0.5
0.5
1
2
5
2 5
Fi gure 14.28 Mode conver si on by di fferent attenuati on
326 Mi crowave measurements
S
sd12
S
ds21
S
sd12
S
dS21
S
CS21
S
CS21
1
Ch1 Center 1.85 GHz Pwr 0 dBm Span 195 MHz
T
rc1
dB Mag 5 dB / Ref 0 dB dB Mag 5 dB / Ref 0 dB
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
10
0
2
T
rc3
dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
T
rc5 dB Mag 10 dB / Ref 0 dB
Ch1 Center 1.85 GHz Pwr 0 dBm Span 195 MHz
−40
−35
−30
−25
−20
−15
−10
−5
0
T
rc2
Fi gure 14.29 Tr ansmi ssi on behavi our of the SAW-fi l ter
14.3.2 Exampl e 2: SAW-fi l ter measurement
A SAW-f i l ter i satypi cal three-port devi cewi th onesi ngl e-ended i nput and abal anced
output.
When measuri ng a SAW-f i l ter i t i s of i mportance that most of the si ngl e-ended
i nput energy i s converted i nto di ff erenti al mode energy. I t i s not i ntended to recei ve
common mode energy. Thi s type of energy must be rej ected because otherwi se an
i nterf erer i s produced f rom the si ngl e-ended si gnal (Fi gure 14.29).
To cal cul ate the CMRR we can use (14.20) and usi ng the User Def i ned Math
Edi tor the resul t can be shown di rectl y (Fi gure 14.30).
14.4 (De)Embedding for balanced device char acter isation
By worki ng wi th si ngl e-ended 50 systems, the di ff erenti al mode i mpedance i s
100 and the common mode i mpedance i s 25 . These i mpedance val ues are not the
normal i sed ref erence val ues. A SAW-f i l ter, f or exampl e, provi des di ff erenti al output
i mpedancesdi ff erent f rom100 (e.g. 150–240 or other), but thecal cul ati on routi ne
works wi th 25 and 100 .
By worki ng wi th such a real devi ce a mi smatchi ng happens.
Thi s mi smatchi ng can be reduced by usi ng physi cal matchi ng networks. Di s-
advantages of physi cal matchi ng networks are the poor reproduci bi l i ty, thei r bei ng
normal l y restri cted to l ower f requenci es and the possi bi l i ty to onl y use them i n the
narrow band. Another di sadvantage i s that usi ng physi cal networks the user cannot
operate as f l exi bl y as possi bl e.
Bal anced devi ce char acter i sati on 327
−15.0
−7.5
0.0
7.5
15.0
22.5
30.0
37.5
45.0
15.0
3 of 3 (Max)
Ch1 Center1.85 GHz Pwr 0 dBm Span 195 MHz
CMRR
S
cs21
S
cs21
dB Mag 7.5 dB / Ref 15 dB Math
Fi gure 14.30 CMRR of a SAW-fi l ter
R
C
R
C
− R
L
− R
L
Matching network
parallel L
Impedance
transformer
100
to 150Ω
P
1
P
2
Physical ports P
3
Fi gure 14.31 Vi r tual matchi ng
The use of vi rtual (theoreti cal l y) matchi ng networks provi des a hi gh range of
f l exi bi l i ty wi th no f requency restri cti on. Usi ng thesevi rtual networksboth embeddi ng
and de-embeddi ng are possi bl e.
328 Mi crowave measurements
To provi de the i mpedance transf ormati on f rom 100 to 150 a vi rtual transf ormer
must be embedded. I n general , ‘ Embeddi ng’ i s used to i mpl ement vi rtual addi ti onal
components and ci rcui ts and to show the S-parameters wi th the i nf l uence of these
vi rtual networks.
The de-embeddi ng f uncti onal i ty can be used to remove vi rtual l y an i nf l uence
caused by the hardware, f or exampl e, the characteri sti cs of a test f i xture when i t i s
possi bl e to gi ve a compl ete S-parameters descri pti on of the f i xture.
When, f or exampl e, aDUT wi th 150 output i mpedancei spl aced i n atest f i xture
wi th an RC-characteri sti c the structure can be matched usi ng a vi rtual network shown
i n Fi gure 14.31.
Vi rtual embeddi ng and de-embeddi ng are possi bl e f or si ngl e-ended and f or bal -
anced structures at al l used physi cal and l ogi cal ports. I t i s possi bl e to use predef i ned
structures and vary the parameters of the gi ven l umped el ements or to i mport the
S-parameters to descri be the networks.
Fur ther Reading
1 Bockel man, D. E., and Ei senstadt, W. R.: ‘ Combi ned di ff erenti al and com-
mon mode scatteri ng parameters: theory and si mul ati on’ , I EEE Tr ansacti ons on
Mi crowave Theor y and Techni ques, 1995;43(70): 1530–9
2 Si mon, J.: Measur i ng bal anced components wi th vector networ k anal yzer ZVB,
Rohde and Schwar z Appl i cati on Note 1EZ53, September 2004
3 Heuermann H.: 7.10.2003, Grundl agen der Hoch- und Höchstf requenztechni k,
Umdr uckver si on 1.1, Fachhochschul e Aachen (scri pt f rom studi es at uni versi ty)
4 Concepts i n Bal anced Devi ce Measurements, Mul ti por t and Bal anced Devi ce
Measurement Appl i cati on Note AN1373-2, Agi l ent Technol ogi es
5 Marti us S.: January 2002, Nodal e und Modal e Streumatri zen (Drei l ei teranordnun-
gen), Lehrstuhl f ür Höchstf requenztechni k Uni versi tät Erl angen-Nürnberg (scri pt
f rom studi es at uni versi ty)
Chapter 15
RF power measur ement
James Mi al l
15.1 I ntr oduction
Thi s i s a bri ef i ntroducti on to gui ded-wave power measurements i n the approxi mate
range of a f ew MHz to several hundreds of GHz, some devi ces that can be used to
measure RF power and the techni ques f or cal i brati ng these devi ces.
15.2 T heor y
15.2.1 Basi c theor y
The i nstantaneous i nci dent power due to an el ectromagneti c f i el d can be wri tten
as [ 1]
P =
1
2

E
t
×

H
t
dS
where

E
t
and

H
t
are the el ectri c and magneti c f i el ds at a ti me t , and S i s the surf ace
over whi ch the power i s bei ng measured. I n terms of vol tage (V ) and current (I ) i n a
transmi ssi on l i ne, power can be wri tten as
P
i nstantaneous
= V (t ) ×I (t )
P
average
= V
RMS
×I
RMS
×cos(φ)
where φ i s the phase angl e between the vol tage and current wavef orms. I n many
si tuati ons V (t ) and I (t ) are si nusoi ds and i n thi s case the i nstantaneous power wi l l
vary at twi ce the f requency of the si nusoi d. However, these are not parti cul arl y
usef ul def i ni ti onsat RFand mi crowavef requenci esbecausethei nstantaneousvol tage,
current and f i el d di stri buti ons are not easi l y measured. At RFs and above power
becomes the onl y conveni ent measure of si gnal strength.
330 Mi crowave measurements
I n practi ce RF and mi crowave power i s usual l y measured usi ng substi tuti on
techni ques based on i ts heati ng eff ect, or by recti f i cati on.
The uni t of power i s Watt (W), where
1 W = 1kg m
2
s
−3
Power rati os are of ten more conveni entl y expressed i n deci bel s where gi ven
Power
bel
= l og
10
(Power Rati o)
and
1 deci bel =
1
10
bel
the power rati o i n deci bel s i s theref ore
Power
dB
= 10 ×l og
10

Power
1
Power
2

A power i n dBm i s def i ned as the rati o wi th respect to 1 mW, that i s
Power
dBm
= l og
10

Power
1 mW

That i s, 0 dBm corresponds to 1 mW, 20 dBm to 100 mW and −50 dBm to 10 nW.
Of ten ‘ power’ ref ers to CW power, that i s, the average power produced by a
constant si nusoi d wavef orm at a si ngl e f requency. I t shoul d be assumed that these
notes are deal i ng wi th thi s case unl ess otherwi se speci f i ed. Di scussi on of non-CW
power occurs i n secti on 15.9.
I n general , i n power measurements, a source of power wi l l be connected vi a a
transmi ssi on l i ne to a l oad (Fi gure 15.1). Both the source and the l oad wi l l ref l ect
some of the i nci dent el ectromagneti c f i el d and theref ore the power del i vered i nto the
l oad wi l l be dependent on the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ents of both devi ces.
I f we def i ne, at the connecti on to the l oad, the f orward vol tage wave (a),
ref l ected vol tage wave (b), ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of the l oad , i nci dent power (P
i
),
ref l ected power (P
r
) and the power del i vered to the l oad (P
d
) then we can wri te the
Generator
10.05 mW
a b
P
i
P
r
P
d
Γ
Fi gure 15.1 I nci dent, refl ected and del i vered power fromsource to l oad i n a gener al
power measurement si tuati on
RF power measurement 331
f ol l owi ng rel ati ons:
P
i
=
|a|
2
Z
0
P
r
=
|b|
2
Z
0
|| =
|b|
|a|
||
2
=
|b|
2
|a|
2
P
r
= P
i
||
2
P
d
= P
i
−P
r
P
d
= P
i
−P
i
||
2
P
d
= P
i
(1 −||
2
)
The power del i vered to the l oad i s never greater than the i nci dent power.
Unti l now thi s treatment has i gnored the power source. Any generator can be
thought of as an i deal i sed source wi th avai l abl e power P
a
and an i nternal i mpedance
Z
0
(cf . the DC case) (Fi gure 15.2). The power di ssi pated i nto a l oad wi th i mpedance
Z i s P
Z
. The Z
0
-avai l abl e power, P
Z
o
, i s the power avai l abl e to a l oad wi th i mpedance
Z
0
. The maxi mum power that can be di ssi pated i n a l oad occurs when the l oad has
the compl ex conj ugate i mpedance of the source i nternal i mpedance.
P
d
= P
a
(1 −|
G
|
2
)(1 −|
L
|
2
)
|1 −
G

L
|
2
P
Z
o
= P
a
(1 −|
G
|
2
)
P
Z
o
= P
d
|1 −
G

L
|
2
1 −|
L
|
2
As expected i f
L
= 0 the power del i vered to the l oad i s the Z
0
-avai l abl e power,
P
Z
o
. I n general we can measure P
i
or P
d
wi th a power sensor but of ten we wi sh
to know P
Z
o
, the power avai l abl e to a perf ectl y matched l oad, whi ch can be f ound,
f or exampl e, by usi ng (15.1). A more comprehensi ve descri pti on of the rel ati on-
shi p between powers i n di ff erent poi nts i n mi crowave ci rcui ts can be f ound i n
Ref erence 22.
P
Z
0
= P
i
|1 −
G

L
|
2
(15.1)
No power sensor i s a perf ect i ndi cator of the del i vered power. There wi l l al ways
be l osses wi thi n the sensor and systemati c errors wi thi n the measurement process
that wi l l mean that the measured power i s not the same as the power del i vered
(Fi gure 15.2).
332 Mi crowave measurements
Γ
G
Γ
L
Generator
10.05 mW
P
a
P
z
o
Fi gure 15.2 Effect of gener ator match
The Eff ecti ve Eff i ci ency (η
e
) of a power sensor can be def i ned as the rati o of the
measured power to the RF absorbed power
η
e
=
P
meas
P
d
and the cal i brati on f actor (K) as the rati o of the measured power to the RF i nci dent
power
K =
P
meas
P
i
(15.2)
so the two def i ni ti ons are rel ated by
K = η
e
(1 −|
L
|
2
)
I n apower sensor cal i brati on certi f i cate, K woul d usual l y bequoted f or each f requency
(ei ther rel ati ve to absol ute power or of ten rel ati ve to the f i gure at 50 MHz).
15.2.2 Mi smatch uncer tai nty
By combi ni ng equati ons (15.1) and (15.2) we can wri te
P
Z
o
=
P
meas
K
|1 −
G

L
|
2
and i f our power meter suppl i es a readi ng P
rdg
, corrected f or the sensor cal i brati on
f actor, as i s of ten the case, then
P
Z
o
= P
rdg
|1 −
G

L
|
2
thi s has a maxi mum and mi ni mum gi ven by
P
Z
o
= P
rdg
(1 ±|
G
||
L
|)
2
f or smal l thi s can be expanded as
P
Z
o
≈ P
rdg
(1 ±2|
G
||
L
|)
P
Z
o
≈ P
rdg
±P
rdg
2|
G
||
L
|
or i n other words the approxi mate mi smatch [ 3] uncertai nty when maki ng a power
measurement where onl y the magni tudes of the source and l oad ref l ecti on coef -
f i ci ents are known i s 200|
G
||
L
|%. The mi smatch uncertai nty has a U -shaped
di stri buti on [ 4] .
RF power measurement 333
15.3 Power sensor s
There are a great vari ety of di ff erent techni ques f or measuri ng RF and mi crowave
power. Al l the di ff erent sensor types have advantages and di sadvantages. Several
of the more common sensor types have been covered i n earl i er chapters and these
wi l l onl y be menti oned bri ef l y al ong wi th a short i ntroducti on to some more unusual
sensor types.
15.3.1 Ther mocoupl es and other ther moel ectr i c sensor s
• Coaxi al and wavegui de sensors easi l y avai l abl e on the market:
− Coaxi al : DC to 50 GHz
− Wavegui de: 8–110 GHz (l i mi ted suppl y outsi de these f requenci es)
• Power range: 1 µW to 100 mW (50 dB range)
• Advantages (+) and di sadvantages (−):
+ Good l ong-term stabi l i ty
+ Reasonabl y l i near
+ General l y l ower VRC than thermi stor mounts
+ Easi l y i ntegrated i nto automati c systems
− Of ten requi re a ref erence source
− Onl y measure average power
15.3.2 Di ode sensor s
• Coaxi al sensors easi l y avai l abl e i n range: 0.1 MHz to 50 GHz
• Power range: 1 nW to 100 mW (90 dB)
• Advantages (+) and di sadvantages (−):
+ Good l ong-term stabi l i ty
+ Reasonabl y l i near at l ow l evel s
+ General l y l ower VRC than thermi stor mounts
+ Easi l y i ntegrated i nto automati c systems
+ Fast response al l owi ng envel ope power to be tracked
+ Hi gh dynami c range
− Requi re a ref erence source
− Poor l i neari ty at hi gher l evel s
− Can be i naccurate f or modul ated and di storted si gnal s
15.3.3 Ther mi stor s and other bol ometer s
• Coaxi al and Wavegui de mounts avai l abl e on the market:
− Coaxi al : 1 MHz to 18 GHz
− Wavegui de: 2.6–200 GHz
• Operate wi th DC substi tuti on (cl osed-l oop operati on)
• Advantages (+) and Di sadvantages (−):
+ Very good l ong-term stabi l i ty
+ Fundamental l y very l i near
334 Mi crowave measurements
− Power range: 10 µW to 10 mW (30 dB range)
− Hi gh VRC at hi gh f requenci es (especi al l y wavegui de)
− Ol der technol ogy
− Sl ow response ti me
− Onl y measure average power
− Poor dynami c range
Fundamental l y, i f therequi rement i sf or af ast, hi gh dynami c rangesensor then adi ode
sensor shoul d be used. For sl i ghtl y hi gher accuracy over a smal l er power range then
a thermocoupl e sensor shoul d be used. Thermi stor sensors are general l y onl y used
i n si tuati ons where very hi gh l i neari ty and stabi l i ty are needed, such as a cal i brati on
l aboratory.
15.3.4 Cal or i meter s
Cal ori meters measure the heat produced by i nci dent mi crowave radi ati on. They are
typi cal l y constructed f rom a thermal l y i nsul ati ng secti on of wavegui de, a l oad and a
temperature sensor such as a thermopi l e. They are i n most cases the most accurate
sensors avai l abl e and so are used i n nati onal standards and some other cal i brati on
l aboratori es. Thei r mai n di sadvantage i s thei r extremel y l ong ti me constant (of ten
20+ mi nutes) so they are not sui tabl e f or use i n many measurement si tuati ons.
15.3.4.1 Twin load calor imeter s
Twi n l oad cal ori meters [ 5] consi st of two i denti cal l oads at the end of thermal l y
i nsul ati ng RF l i ne secti ons wi thi n a thermal l y i nsul ati ng contai ner (see Fi gure 15.3).
The temperature di ff erence between the two l oads i s measured wi th temperature
sensors. RF power can be appl i ed to one si de of the cal ori meter and DC power to the
other. When the temperature di ff erence between the two si des i s zero the RF and DC
powers can be consi dered equi val ent.
15.3.4.2 M icr ocalor imeter s
Mi crocal ori meters [ 6] are used to cal i brate thermi stor type sensors. These sensors
operate i n a bri dge ci rcui t such that the power di ssi pated i n the sensor shoul d be
constant whether or not RF power i s appl i ed. The mi crocal ori meter measures the
smal l temperature change caused by the extra l osses i n the i nput l i ne of the sensor i n
the RF case. A mi crocal ori meter consi sts of a thi n-wal l ed l i ne secti on connected to
the thermi stor sensor bei ng cal i brated (see Fi gure 15.4). A thermopi l e measures the
temperature di ff erence between the thermi stor and a dummy sensor or temperature
ref erence. By measuri ng the temperature change due to the RF l oss i n the sensor and
the i nput l i ne, the eff i ci ency of the sensor can be cal cul ated.
15.3.4.3 Flow calor imeter s
Fl ow cal ori meters [ 7] are sui tabl e f or hi gher power measurements than the other
cal ori meters menti oned so f ar. They contai n a quartz tube carryi ng f l owi ng water
RF power measurement 335
Copper blocks
50Ω loads
Resistance
thermometer
Thin wall lines
Fi gure 15.3 A coaxi al twi n dr y-l oad cal or i meter
Fi gure 15.4 Wavegui de cal or i meter s for WG27 and WG16
336 Mi crowave measurements
whi ch i s posi ti oned at an angl e across a wavegui de. The power i nto the wavegui de
can be cal cul ated by measuri ng the temperature ri se of the water and the f l ow rate.
The RF heati ng i s compared to DC heati ng by means of heati ng wi res wi thi n the
quartz tube that provi de an i denti cal temperature di stri buti on.
15.3.5 Force and fi el d based sensor s
There are several unusual types of power sensor such as the torque vane [ 8] and
el ectron beam sensors [ 9] that have exi sted previ ousl y but are not f ound i n a commer-
ci al l y avai l abl e f orm today. Wi th i mproved f abri cati on techni ques and component
qual i ty some of these desi gns may f orm the basi s of f uture generati ons of power
sensors.
I n thetorquevanesensor aconductor vanei shung i n awavegui de. I n thepresence
of el ectromagneti c f i el ds a torque wi l l be produced on the vane and i f thi s torque can
be measured then the power l evel can be determi ned. A commerci al versi on of thi s
typeof sensor hasbeen produced i n thepast. Theel ectron beam power sensor operates
by measuri ng the f i el d strength i n a cavi ty of known geometry necessary to j ust stop a
beam of el ectrons of known energy. From thi s the RF power can be cal cul ated. Other
novel power sensors i ncl ude atomi c f ountai n based power sensors, whi ch have been
the subj ect of recent research [ 10,11] and Hal l Eff ect sensors [ 12] whi ch measure
the vol tage across the f aces of a pi ece of semi conductor i n the presence of an RF
magneti c f i el d.
15.3.5.1 M EM S
MEMS i s an abbrevi ati on of Mi cro El ectro-Mechani cal Systems and typi cal l y ref ers
to a movi ng system f abri cated on a si l i con waf er wi th measurements made usi ng
el ectri cal methods. MEMS i nterest has greatl y i ncreased over recent years as the
cost of waf er producti on, a spi n-off f rom the semi conductor i ndustry, has decreased.
MEMS-based power sensors off er the possi bi l i ty of easi l y measuri ng the very smal l
f orces produced by the strength of el ectromagneti c f i el d associ ated wi th a power
l evel i n the mW range or l ower. Some recent MEMS power sensor desi gns [ 13,14]
have been based on vari ati ons on the theme of capaci ti vel y measuri ng the def l ec-
ti on of a thi n bri dge caused by power passi ng al ong a copl anar wavegui de structure
beneath i t.
15.3.6 Acousti c meter
Thi s type of quasi -opti c sensor [ 15] i s desi gned f or use f rom mm wave up to opti -
cal f requenci es. Pul se-modul ated i nci dent power i s absorbed i n a thi n metal f i l m
supported by a myl ar substrate wi thi n a cl osed cel l . Thi s generates a sound wave
wi thi n the gas of the cel l at the modul ati on f requency, whi ch i s pi cked up by a
mi crophone. A DC current pul se of opposi te phase i s then appl i ed unti l there i s no
mi crophone response, at whi ch poi nt the mi crowave and DC power can be sai d to be
equal .
RF power measurement 337
Generator
Standard power meter
Unknown power meter
Ref
Ref
0.965 mW
0.000 mW
Fi gure 15.5 A ‘ si mpl e’ power measurement made by exchangi ng power sensor s
15.4 Power measur ements and calibr ation
15.4.1 Di rect power measurement
I n a di rect power measurement such as the one shown i n Fi gure 15.5 the cal i brati on
f actor of thedevi ceunder test (CF
DUT
) i n termsof thecal i brati on f actor of thestandard
sensor i s gi ven by
CF
DUT
= CF
std
|1 −
Src

Std
|
2
|1 −
Src

DUT
|
2
P
DUT
P
Std
(15.3)
where P
x
i s the power measured by devi ce x,
x
i s the ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent of devi ce
x and Src ref ers to the generator or source.
15.4.2 Uncer tai nty budgets
Tabl e 15.1 i s an exampl e uncertai nty budget f or a power measurement made by
connecti ng a cal i brated power sensor (such as a thermocoupl e) on to a badl y matched
source, wherenei ther ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent i s known. Thenumbers aref or i l l ustrati on
onl y but are typi cal of real uncertai nti es i n certai n si tuati ons. There are several ways
to i mprove thi s measurement and l ower the uncertai nti es such as:
(1) Measuri ng the compl ex vol tage ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent (VRC) of the source
and l oad and perf ormi ng a f ul l mi smatch correcti on.
(2) Eval uati ng the connector repeatabi l i ty by doi ng several repeat connecti ons
usi ng torque spanners.
338 Mi crowave measurements
Tabl e 15.1 Uncer tai nty budget for basi c power measurement wi thout mi smatch
cor recti on
Source of uncertai nty Di vi sor Uncertai nty Standard
contri buti on uncertai nty
Cal i brati on f actor 2 1.0 0.500
Dri f t i n cal i brati on f actor

3 0.2 0.116
Ref erence source (i ncl udi ng mi smatch) 2 0.7 0.350
Mi smatch

2 1.2 0.857
VRC magni tude of sensor: 0.03
VRC magni tude of source: 0.20
Power meter 2 0.2 0.100
Repeatabi l i ty 1 0.1 0.100
Combi ned standard uncertai nty 1.07
Expanded uncertai nty (k = 2) 2.14
(3) Ref erenci ng the power sensor to a better characteri sed (wi th known output
port match, f or exampl e) 50 MHz ref erence source than the one on the power
meter.
15.5 Calibr ation and tr ansfer standar ds
Cal i brati on of a power sensor i nvol ves compari ng i t agai nst another power sensor
of known cal i brati on f actor. Rather than j ust connecti ng the two sensors i n turn to a
source thi s i s general l y done usi ng a transf er standard. Usual l y thi s woul d take the
f orm of a power spl i tter (or coupl er) wi th a power sensor permanentl y attached to
one arm of the spl i tter. The use of a transf er standard has many advantages: i t al l ows
therati o of thei nstantaneouspowersto betaken; thetransf er standard can bemeasured
agai nst the standard, whi ch may be a sl ow devi ce, and then the devi ce under test can
be measured more rapi dl y agai nst the transf er standard; the f ul l S-parameters of the
coupl er (or spl i tter) do not need to be known; and the repeatabi l i ty of the transf er
standard can be eval uated over ti me.
15.5.1 Rati o measurements
Many power meters have an i nternal ref erence source wi th an RF connector on the
f ront panel f or cal i brati ng or checki ng the operati on of the power sensor. These
sources produce a known power l evel (general l y 1 mW) at a si ngl e f requency (gen-
eral l y 50 MHz or DC). The sensor shoul d be ref erenced to thi s known power l evel
when i t i s f i rst turned on and peri odi cal l y af ter that. Of ten when cal i brati ng thi s
type of sensor a cal i brati on of the response of the sensor at the cal i brati on f re-
quency compared to the ref erence f requency i s requi red, such as the f ol l owi ng
RF power measurement 339
def i ni ti on:
Cal Factor = Ref erence Cal Factor ×
I nci dent Power at 50 MHz
I nci dent Power at Cal Freq
When cal i brati ng thi s type of sensor on a spl i tter based transf er standard agai nst a
cal i brated standard sensor the cal i brati on f actor of the DUT (CF
DUT
) i s gi ven by
CF
DUT
= CF
Std
R
Std50
R
StdRF
R
DUTRF
R
DUT50
M
StdRF
M
Std50
M
DUT50
M
DUTRF
where CF
Std
i s the cal i brati on f actor of the standard sensor, R
Std50
i s the rati o of
the power i ndi cated on the standard sensor to the power i ndi cated on the transf er
standard at 50 MHz, M
DUTRF
i s themi smatch f actor f or theDUT at theRF cal i brati on
f requency.
M
DUTRF
= |1 −S
DUT
|
2
where S, the equi val ent output port match (here at port 2 of the spl i tter), i s gi ven by
S = S
22
−S
21
S
32
/S
31
. Theother def i ni ti onsf ol l ow thesamel ogi c. Notethesi mi l ari ty
of thi s equati on to (5.3).
15.6 Power splitter s
Coupl ers and spl i tters can both be used to make the power rati o measurements
necessary to cal i brate a power sensor (Fi gure 15.6) [ 11] .
Two resi stor power spl i tters (not to be conf used wi th three resi stor power
di vi ders) are wel l -matched devi ces that are extremel y usef ul f or coaxi al cal i brati ons
Generator
Reference power
meter
Ref
Ref
1.000 mW
1.005 mW
Fi gure 15.6 Cal i br ati on usi ng a power spl i tter
340 Mi crowave measurements
Two resistor
power
splitter
50Ω
resistors
Fi gure 15.7 A two resi stor spl i tter
(Fi gure 15.7 and Tabl e 15.2). When used i n a l evel i ng l oop the vol tage at the centre
of the T i s hel d constant and a devi ce on the other arm of the spl i tter sees an i deal
source wi th a 50 characteri sti c i mpedance.
15.6.1 Typi cal power spl i tter proper ti es
• Wi de f requency range of operati on
• 7 mm DC to 18 GHz
• 3.5 mm DC to 26.5 or 33 GHz
• 2.4 mm DC to 50 GHz
• Reasonabl y good output match
• Good l ong-term stabi l i ty
• Li mi ted power capabi l i ty (6 dB l oss: Max. i nput ≈ 0.5 W)
15.6.2 Measurement of spl i tter output match
Knowl edge of the spl i tter output port source match i s necessary i n order to perf orm
a f ul l mi smatch correcti on: there are several ways to measure thi s. The easi est i s
probabl y to measuretheS-parametersof areasonabl y hi gh val ueattenuator and attach
thi s on to one arm of the spl i tter. The match of the attenuator and spl i tter together wi l l
beapproxi matel y that of theattenuator on i tsown. Thi smethod hasthedi sadvantageof
si gni f i cantl y reduci ng the output power whi ch i s of ten a parti cul ar probl em at hi gher
RF power measurement 341
Tabl e 15.2 Exampl e uncer tai nty budget for measurement of the cal i br ati on factor
of a power sensor wr t 50 MHz usi ng a power spl i tter based tr ansfer
standard
Source of uncertai nty Di vi sor Uncertai nty contri buti on Standard uncertai nty
Cal i brati on f actor 2 0.60 0.300
Dri f t i n cal i brati on f actor

3 0.20 0.116
Rati o 1

3 0.10 0.058
Rati o 2

3 0.10 0.058
Rati o 3

3 0.10 0.058
Rati o 4

3 0.10 0.058
Dri f t i n transf er standard

3 0.20 0.116
Mi smatch Std at 50 MHz 1 0.04 0.029
Mi smatch DUT at 50 MHz 1 0.08 0.057
Mi smatch Std at 18 GHz 1 0.15 0.150
Mi smatch DUT at 18 GHz 1 0.20 0.200
Repeatabi l i ty of standard 1 0.10 0.100
Repeatabi l i ty of DUT 1 0.10 0.100
Combi ned standard uncertai nty 0.50
Expanded uncertai nty (k = 2) 1.00
f requenci es where broadband, hi gher power sources are not so readi l y avai l abl e.
Another method i s to measure al l the S-parameters of the spl i tter wi th a l oad (or other
known i mpedance) attached to the other ports i n turn. The equi val ent output port
match can then be cal cul ated f rom these val ues [ 16] . A thi rd method, known as the
‘ di rect method’ [ 17,18] , i nvol ves perf ormi ng a one-port cal i brati on on one arm of the
spl i tter usi ng a network anal yser connected to the other two ports (Fi gure 15.8).
15.6.3 The di rect method of measur i ng spl i tter output
I f f or a setup si mi l ar to Fi gure 15.8, the uncal i brated S-parameter data (S
11,raw
and
S
21,raw
) f rom the ANA i s extracted, f or any i tem connected to the spl i tter port, and
the rati o x taken of the two S-parameters
x =
S
11,raw
S
21,raw
then f ol l owi ng the procedure bel ow, the spl i tter output match can be cal cul ated.
Three devi ces of known VRC such as Short (
SC
), Open (
OC
) and Load (
L
)
can be connected to the spl i tter port i n turn. The three rati os f or the Load, Open and
Short can be def i ned as bei ng A, B and C, respecti vel y, and the three one-port error
terms def i ned as Di recti vi ty E
DF
, Source Match E
SF
and Ref l ecti on Tracki ng E
RF
.
342 Mi crowave measurements
VNA
L
O S
Γ
L
Γ
OC
Γ
SC
Fi gure 15.8 Measurement of spl i tter output match usi ng the di rect method
The equati ons rel ati ng al l these can be wri tten i n matri x f orm as


1 A
L

L
1 B
OC

OC
1 C
SC

SC




E
DF
E
SF
E


=


A
B
C


where E =E
RF
−E
DF
E
SF
.
These can be sol ved by f i ndi ng the i nverse of the square matri x (or by any other
matri x equati on sol vi ng techni que). Wri ti ng the sol uti ons out i n f ul l gi ves
E
SF
=
A(
SC

OC
) +B(
L

SC
) +C(
OC

L
)
A
L
(
SC

OC
) +B
OC
(
L

SC
) +C
SC
(
OC

L
)
E
DF
=
A(C −B)
OC

SC
+B(A −C)
L

SC
+C(B −A)
OC

L
A
L
(
SC

OC
) +B
OC
(
L

SC
) +C
SC
(
OC

L
)
E =
A(B
OC
−C
SC
) +B(C
SC
−A
L
) +C(A
L
−B
OC
)
A
L
(
SC

OC
) +B
OC
(
L

SC
) +C
SC
(
OC

L
)
RF power measurement 343
Once E
SF
, E
RF
and E
DF
are cal cul ated the val ues can be checked agai nst a ref er-
ence devi ce of known VRC by perf ormi ng a ‘ normal ’ one-port VRC measurement
usi ng (15.4).
S
11
=
x −E
DF
E
RF
+E
SF
(x −E
DF
)
=
x −E
DF
E +E
SF
x
(15.4)
where x i s, as above, the rati o of the two uncal i brated S-parameters f or the known
devi ce. E
SF
, the spl i tter output match, has now been establ i shed.
15.7 Coupler s and r eflectometer s
Cal i brati on of wavegui de sensors and hi gher power cal i brati ons i n coaxi al l i ne are
of ten done usi ng coupl ers. I f the DUT and coupl er S-parameters are al ready known
then a cal i brati on can occur i n a manner si mi l ar to usi ng a power spl i tter. I f the
coupl er or DUT S-parameters are not known then two coupl ers and power sen-
sors can be combi ned (Fi gure 15.9) to f orm a basi c ref l ectometer that gi ves an
i ndi cati on of the f orward and reverse powers and hence the DUT VRC. The di rec-
ti vi ty of the coupl ers wi l l l i mi t the accuracy of any cal i brati ons made usi ng thi s
method.
Cal i brati ons at hi gher power l evel s than those at whi ch cal i brated standards exi st
can be perf ormed usi ng mul ti pl e, wel l -matched, hi gh coupl i ng f actor coupl ers wi th
power sensors on the si dearm and by varyi ng the power l evel at each stage of the
cal i brati on process over the l i near range of the si dearm power sensors.
15.7.1 Refl ectometer s
I f the transf er i nstrument i s a Ref l ectometer such as a VNA, si x-port or mul ti -
state ref l ectometer, the DUT ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent can be determi ned at the same
P
refl
P
refl
P
inc
P
d
Standard sensor
Unknown sensor
Fi gure 15.9 Cal i br ati on of a wavegui de power sensor usi ng two coupl er s
344 Mi crowave measurements
P
ref
P
inc
Sliding
short
Standard
sensor
Impedance
standards
DUT
Fi gure 15.10 Mul ti state refl ectometer
ti me as taki ng the necessary power rati os to cal i brate the devi ce al l owi ng mi smatch
correcti ons to be made.
The mul ti state ref i ectometer [ 19] (Fi gure 15.10) consi sts of two coupl ers wi th
power sensors to measure the f orward and reverse powers and a sl i di ng short ci rcui t
whi ch al ters the ‘ state’ of the system. By measuri ng the power rati o between the
f orward and reverse coupl er arms i n several states f or several known i mpedances the
system properti es (such as coupl er di recti vi ty) can be f ound.
For each state k the rati o of the powers on the f orward and reverse arms of the
coupl ers i s gi ven by
P
ref
P
i nc
=

d
k
+e
k
c
k
+1

2
where c
k
, d
k
and e
k
are state-dependent compl ex constants and i s the ref l ecti on
coeff i ci ent of any devi ce attached to the output port.
At NPL mul ti state ref l ectometers usi ng three states and f our known i mpedances
are used f or wavegui de cal i brati ons between 8.2 and 110 GHz.
15.8 Pulsed power
The topi c of non-CW power measurements i s extremel y l arge and cannot be covered
adequatel y i n the space avai l abl e here. The notes here present a bri ef i ntroducti on.
I n aCW si gnal , such astheonei l l ustrated i n Fi gure15.11 thei nstantaneouspower
wi l l cycl e at twi ce the f requency of the vol tage or current. The power reported by a
sensor wi th much l onger ti me constant than the RF f requency wi l l remai n constant
at the average power.
I n a case such as the one shown i n Fi gure 15.12 a sl owl y varyi ng si gnal i s then
modul ated onto a much hi gher RF f requency. Here, there are three obvi ous def i ni -
ti ons of power: the i nstantaneous power, the average power and the envel ope power
RF power measurement 345
1
0.5
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
V(t )
I(t )
P
Instant

P
Average
−0.5
−1
t 1.023×10
3
Fi gure 15.11 Vol tage, cur rent and i nstantaneous and aver age power
1
0.8
0.6
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
3.425×10
−11
1.023×10
3
PEP
P
Instant

P
Average
P
Envelope

0.4
0.2
t
Fi gure 15.12 Modul ated RF – i nstantaneous, aver age and envel ope power
averaged over each RF cycl e. A sl ow-response power sensor wi l l sti l l measure the
average power but a f aster di ode-based power sensor may be abl e to f ol l ow the enve-
l ope and provi de detai l s about the power–ti me templ ate. A sensor wi th a very f ast
response, such as an osci l l oscope, may be abl e to trace the RF f requency, and the
envel ope can then be extracted by vari ous methods provi di ng even greater detai l s of
the pul se shape.
346 Mi crowave measurements
Peak envelope power
Overshoot
Pulse average power
Pulse width
4dB
−6dB
−30dB
−1dB
1dB
−70dB
Risetime Falltime
Power off
noise floor
Average power
Fi gure 15.13 GSM pul se speci fi cati ons
Perhaps the si mpl est pul sed measurement i nvol ves measuri ng the average power
of a repeti ti ve pul sed si gnal and mul ti pl yi ng by the duty cycl e to arri ve at a ‘ pul se’
power. However pul ses are never exactl y square, or of constant power and so thi s
method tel l s us rel ati vel y l i ttl e about the pul se.
TheGSM Pul sespeci f i cati on f or envel opepower shown i n Fi gure15.13 i s typi cal
of the usual pul sed measurements that are requi red – peak envel ope power, pul se
average power, average power and pul se ri seti me and f al l ti me. The cal i brati on f actor
of a di ode power sensor capabl e of perf ormi ng measurements on f ast pul ses wi l l not,
i n general , be the same as i ts CW cal i brati on f actor. These sensors do not measure
true RMS power and f actors such as sensor i mpul se response ti me, recovery ti me or
nonl i neari ty wi l l l ead to errors.
15.9 Conclusion
These notes have bri ef l y covered the techni ques and i nstruments needed to make
a vari ety of common power measurements and power sensor cal i brati ons. A more
detai l ed gui de to power measurements across a wi de range of topi cs i s the book by
Al an Fantom [ 20] and thi s i s recommended as a good starti ng poi nt f or those who
wi sh to l earn more about thi s area.
15.10 Acknowledgements
The author woul d l i ke to thank Geoff Orf ord and Al an Wal l ace who both previ ousl y
worked i n the Power Measurement area at NPL and RSRE and contri buted greatl y to
previ ous versi ons of these notes and vi ewf oi l s.
RF power measurement 347
Refer ences
1 Ramo, S., Whi nnery, J. F., and van Duzer, T.: Fi el ds and Waves i n Communi cati on
El ectroni cs (Wi l ey, New York, 1965).
2 Kerns, D. M., and Beatty, R. W.: Basi c theor y of wavegui de j uncti ons
and i ntroductor y mi crowave networ k anal ysi s (Pergamon Press, London,
1967)
3 Warner, F. L.: Mi crowave Attenuati on Measurements, (Peter Peregri nus, London,
1977)
4 ‘ The expressi on of uncertai nty and conf i dence measurements’ , Uni ted Ki ngdom,
Accredi tati on Servi ce (UKAS) document M3003, London 1997
5 Fantom, A.: ‘ I mproved coaxi al cal ori metri c RF power meter f or use a pri mary
standard’ , Proc. I nst. El ectr. Eng., 1979;126(9):849–54
6 Macpherson, A. C. and Kerns, D. M.: ‘ A mi crowave mi crocal ori meter’ , Revi ew
of Sci enti fi c I nstr uments, 1955; 26(1):27–33
7 Abbott, N. P., Reeves, C. J., and Orf ord, G. R.: ‘ A new wavegui de f l ow cal ori me-
ter f or l evel s of 1–20 w’ , I EEE Tr ans. I nstr um. Meas. I nst. El ectr. Eng., 1974;
I M -23(4):414–20
8 Cul l en, A. L. and Stephenson, L. M. A.: Torque operated wattmeter f or 3 cm
mi crowaves, Proc. I nst. El ectr. Eng., 1952;99(4):112–20
9 Ol df i el d, L. C., and I de, J. P.: A f undamental mi crowave power standard, I EEE
Tr ans. I nstr um. Meas., 1987;I M -36(2):443–9
10 Paul esse, D., Rowel l , N., and Mi chaud, A.: Real i zati on of an atomi c
mi crowave power standard, Di gest of Conference on Preci si on El ectromagneti c
Measurements, Ottawa, Canada, 2002; pp. 194–5
11 Donl ey, E. A., Crowl ey, T. P., Heavens, T. P., and Ri ddl e, B. F.: ‘ A quantum-based
mi crowave power measurement perf ormed wi th a mi ni ature atomi c f ountai n’ ,
Proceedi ngs of the 2003 I EEE I nter nati onal Frequency Control Symposi um,
Tampabay, FL, 2003; pp. 135–7
12 Barl ow, H., and Katoaka, S.: The Hal l Eff ect and i ts appl i cati on to power
measurement at 10 G c/s, Proc. I nst. El ectr. Eng., Part B, 1958;105:53–60
13 Fernandez, L. J., Vi sser, E., Sese, J., et al .: ‘ Devel opment of a capaci ti ve
MEMS RF power sensor wi thout di ssi pati ve l osses: towards a new phi l oso-
phy of RF power sensi ng’ , Di gest of Conference on Preci si on El ectromagneti c
Measurements, London, UK, 2004; pp. 117–18
14 Al astal o, A.Kyynanai nen, J., Sepa, H. et al .: ‘ Wi deband mi crowavepower sensor
based on MEMStechnol ogy’ , Di gest of Conferenceon Preci si on El ectromagneti c
Measurements, London, UK, 2004; pp. 115–16
15 NPL News, Spri ng 1990, no. 369, p. 12
16 Ti ppett, J. C., and Speci al e, R. A.: ‘ A ri gorous techni que f or measuri ng
the scatteri ng matri x of a mul ti port devi ce wi th a 2-port network anal yser’ ,
I EEE Tr ansacti on on Mi crowave Theor y and Techni ques, 1982;M T T-30:
661–6
17 Juroshek, J.: ‘ A di rect cal i brati on method f or measuri ng equi val ent source
mi smatch’ , Mi crowave Jour nal , 1997;40:106–18
348 Mi crowave measurements
18 Rodri guez, M.: ‘ A semi -automated approach to the di rect cal i brati on method f or
measurement of equi val ent source match’ , ARMMS Conference, Bracknel l , UK,
Apri l 1999, pp. 35–42.
19 Ol df i el d, L. C., I de, J. P., and Gri ff i n, E. J.: A mul ti state ref l ectometer, I EEE
Tr ans. I nstr um. Meas, 1985;I M -34(2):198–201
20 Fantom, A.: ‘ Radi o frequency and mi crowave power measurement’ , El ectr i cal
Measurement Ser i es no. 7’ , (Peter Peregri nus, London, 1990)
21 Johnson, R. A.: Understandi ng mi crowave power spl i tters, Mi crowave Jour nal ,
Dec 1975, pp. 49–51, 56
22 Engen, G. F.: Power equati on: a new concept i n the descri pti on and eval uati on of
mi crowave systems, I EEE Tr ansacti ons on I nstr umentati on and Measurement,
1971;I M -20(1):49–57
Chapter 16
Spectr um analyser measur ements and
applications
Doug Ski nner
Spectrum anal yser i s a measuri ng i nstrument, whi ch i s used to di spl ay many di ff erent
ki nds of si gnal . Thi s chapter i s an i ntroducti on to the spectrum anal yser and covers
the most i mportant parts of the anal yser perf ormance that need to be understood. Thi s
overvi ew of spectrum anal ysers i s spl i t i nto f our parts.
Par t 1: I ntroducti on. Descri bes the basi cs of si gnal anal ysi s and compares the osci l -
l oscope ti me-domai n di spl ay wi th the spectrum anal yser f requency-domai n di spl ay
and some basi c spectrum anal yser measurements are al so descri bed.
Par t 2: How the spectr um anal yser wor ks. Provi des an expl anati on of how a basi c
spectrum anal yser works. I t i ncl udes a descri pti on of the i mportance and si gni f i cance
of the mai n operator control s and how they are used to ensure a cl ear understandi ng
of the di spl ay and to reduce or prevent mi stakes.
Par t 3: The i mpor tant speci fi cati on poi nts of a spectr um anal yser . Descri bes the
i mportant speci f i cati on poi nts that need to be known and understood i n order to
sel ect the correct i nstrument f or a parti cul ar measurement. Some sources of errors
and measurement uncertai nti es are al so covered i n thi s secti on.
Par t 4: Spectr um anal yser measurements. Di scusses some of the common mea-
surements that are made usi ng a spectrum anal yser and the measurements revi ewed
i ncl ude harmoni c and i ntermodul ati on measurements as wel l as the measurement of
modul ated and pul sed si gnal s.
16.1 Par t 1: I ntr oduction
16.1.1 Si gnal anal ysi s usi ng a spectr um anal yser
Bef ore maki ng any measurements usi ng a spectrum anal yser the user shoul d prepare
thespectrum anal yser f or useby carryi ng out any pre-cal i brati on procedure(Auto Cal )
350 Mi crowave measurements
Time
Amplitude
Frequency
Fi gure 16.1 Three-di mensi onal gr aph
recommended by themanuf acturer. Somespectrum anal ysersi ncl udeaRESET button
to return the anal yser to the i ni ti al set of condi ti ons i f the user has probl ems i n
i nterpreti ng the di spl ay.
The next step i s to consi der the type of i nput si gnal and power l evel that are to be
appl i ed to thespectrum anal yser to avoi d overl oadi ng or damagi ng thei nput ci rcui try.
The f i nal step i s to i nterpret and understand the di spl ayed resul ts.
16.1.2 Measurement domai ns
Suppose that there i s a requi rement to anal yse a si gnal that consi sts of a si ne wave
wi th a second harmoni c component.
Consi der the three-di mensi onal graph shown i n Fi gure 16.1.
I t can be seen that the graph has three mutual l y perpendi cul ar axes that are cal i -
brated i n terms of ti me, ampl i tude and f requency. The obj ecti ve of the si gnal anal ysi s
i s to di spl ay the components of such a si gnal and there i s a choi ce to vi ew the si gnal
i n terms of Ampl i tude agai nst Ti me or as Ampl i tude agai nst Frequency.
16.1.3 The osci l l oscope di spl ay
The di spl ay when vi ewed as an Ampl i tude agai nst Frequency di spl ay i s shown i n
Fi gure 16.2 and i s recogni sabl e as a typi cal osci l l oscope di spl ay and i t i s known as a
ti me-domai n di spl ay. I n thi s si tuati on onl y a si ngl e combi ned wavef orm i s shown on
the di spl ay. Thi s i s the wavef orm i n the Fi gure shown as a sol i d l i ne, but there are i n
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 351
Time
A
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e
Fundamental
Second
harmonic
Combined
waveform
Fi gure 16.2 Osci l l oscope ampl i tude agai nst ti me di spl ay
f act at l east two si nusoi ds present as shown by the two thi n l i nes. The osci l l oscope
ti me-domai n di spl ay does not separate out the i ndi vi dual f requency components and
i ts shape changes dependi ng on the rel ati ve ampl i tudes and phase of the si nusoi ds
present.
16.1.4 The spectr um anal yser di spl ay
The spectrum anal yser di spl ay of Ampl i tude agai nst Frequency i s shown i n
Fi gure 16.3 and i s known as a f requency-domai n di spl ay. I n thi s case, i t reveal s
the two separate f requency components of the appl i ed si gnal , the f undamental and
the harmoni c. The f undamental f requency i s represented on the di spl ay by the f i rst
si ngl e verti cal l i ne. The shorter verti cal l i ne that can be cl earl y seen to the ri ght of the
f undamental represents the second harmoni c. How the Ampl i tude agai nst Frequency
di spl ay i s achi eved usi ng the spectrum anal yser i s expl ai ned l ater i n thi s chapter.
16.1.5 Anal ysi ng an ampl i tude-modul ated si gnal
16.1.5.1 Amplitude modulation – Oscilloscope
The f i rst anal ysi s exampl e i s to l ook at the rel ati vel y si mpl e ampl i tude-modul ated
si gnal as di spl ayed on an osci l l oscope. Fi gure 16.4 shows the f ami l i ar osci l l oscope
di spl ay of an ampl i tude-modul ated si gnal .
I t can be seen that the hi gh-f requency carri er has a l ow-f requency si gnal super-
i mposed upon i t. The modul ati on envel ope can al so be seen on the di spl ay. I t i s
possi bl e to measure the modul ati on f requency (f mod) and modul ati on depth f rom
352 Mi crowave measurements
Frequency
A
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e
Fi gure 16.3 Spectr um anal yser ampl i tude agai nst frequency di spl ay
E
max
E
min
100
% Modulation

E
max
+ E
min
E
max
− E
min
Amplitude
Time
1
F
mod

1
× =
11
Fi gure 16.4 The osci l l oscope di spl ay
the di spl ay but i t i s di ff i cul t to obtai n any f urther i nf ormati on over and above modu-
l ati on depth and modul ati on f requency. Consequentl y, the osci l l oscope i s not wi del y
used to anal yseradi o f requency (RF) and mi crowavesi gnal sbecauseof thel i mi tati ons
descri bed.
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 353
Fi gure 16.5 The spectr um anal yser di spl ay
16.1.5.2 Amplitude modulation – spectr um analyser
Fi gure16.5 showsan ampl i tude-modul ated si gnal asdi spl ayed by aspectrumanal yser.
The carri er, upper and l ower si de f requenci es and noi se can al l be cl earl y seen.
Notethat theanal ysi sof theampl i tude-modul ated wavef orm cl earl y demonstrates
the superi or anal yti cal powers of the spectrum anal yser.
Spectrum anal yser di spl ay of Ampl i tudeagai nst Frequency i smoreusef ul because
the harmoni cs, spuri ous si gnal s, si debands and noi se can be observed. One f urther
advantage of a spectrum anal yser i s i ts hi gh sensi ti vi ty, whi ch means that i t can mea-
surevery l ow-l evel si gnal s down to l ess than 0.1 µV becausei t i s sel ecti verather than
broadband. I t can al so di spl ay l ow-l evel si gnal s at the same ti me as hi gh-l evel si gnal s
because l ogari thmi c ampl i tude scal es are used. An osci l l oscope, whi ch general l y has
a l i near verti cal scal e, does not have thi s capabi l i ty.
Many other measurements can al so be made on many di ff erent and compl ex
si gnal s usi ng a spectrum anal yser as wi l l be descri bed l ater i n Part 4. I t shoul d be
emphasi sed at thi s stage that the i nterpretati on of some spectrum anal yser di spl ays of
compl ex wavef orms requi res caref ul study.
354 Mi crowave measurements
16.2 Par t 2: How the spectr um analyser wor ks
16.2.1 Basi c spectr um anal yser bl ock di agr am
A greatl y si mpl i f i ed bl ock di agram of a basi c swept-tuned heterodyne spectrum anal -
yser i s shown i n Fi gure 16.6. I n practi ce, the i mpl ementati on i s consi derabl y more
compl ex as there are many more f requency conversi on stages.
The i nput si gnal i s appl i ed to the i nput mi xer through an i nput attenuator, whi ch
adj uststhesensi ti vi ty and opti mi sesthesi gnal l evel at themi xer to prevent overl oad or
di storti on. An i nput l ow-pass f i l ter i s al so i ncl uded at thi s stage to avoi d i ntermedi ate
f requency (I F) f eed-through and to rej ect the upper i mage f requency.
The mi xer converts the i nput si gnal to a f i xed I F, at whi ch poi nt a range of
Gaussi an band-pass f i l ters or di gi tal f i l ters are swi tched i n to change the sel ecti vi ty
or resol uti on. To gi ve a verti cal scal e, cal i brated i n dB, the si gnal at the I F stage i s
passed through a l ogari thmi c ampl i f i er. The si gnal i s then appl i ed to a detector and
passes through sel ected vi deo f i l ters bef ore bei ng appl i ed to the verti cal scal e of the
di spl ay.
The hori zontal i nput of the spectrum anal yser di spl ay (f requency) i s achi eved
by usi ng a vari abl e ampl i tude ramp generator, or saw-tooth generator, whi ch i s al so
appl i ed to a vol tage-control l ed osci l l ator that f eeds the mi xer. As the ramp vol tage
i s i ncreased, the recei ver tunes to a progressi vel y hi gher f requency and the trace
on the di spl ay moves f rom l ef t to ri ght. Usi ng thi s techni que, an Ampl i tude agai nst
Frequency di spl ay i s shown on the spectrum anal yser.
16.2.2 Mi crowave spectr um anal yser wi th har moni c mi xer
The basi c bl ock di agram of Fi gure 16.6 i s general l y onl y used f or spectrum anal ysers
coveri ng up to around 4 GHz. For a 4 GHz i nstrument the f i rst l ocal osci l l ator woul d
have to cover f rom approxi matel y 5 to 9 GHz but the l ocal osci l l ator f or a 26.5 GHz
spectrum anal yser woul d have to cover approxi matel y 30–56.5 GHz. Thi s i s a maj or
engi neeri ng chal l enge especi al l y as the osci l l ator needs to be at a hi gh l evel and have
good vol tage f requency l i neari ty, l ow-noi se, l ow-l evel spuri ous si gnal s and an output
Resolution
filters
IF
attenuator
Log
amp
IF amplifier
Local
oscillator
Mixer
Sweep
generator
RF
attenuator
Detector
Video
filter
Display
Reference
oscillator
Preselector
RF
input
Fi gure 16.6 Bl ock di agr am of a basi c spectr um anal yser
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 355
l evel that i s adequatel y i ndependent of f requency. Furthermore, the desi gn has to be
i mpl emented at an economi cal pri ce.
An al ternati ve more practi cal approach, used i n most mi crowave spectrum anal -
ysers, i s to use a harmoni c mi xer. Thi s concept i s shown i n Fi gure 16.7. The
f undamental f requency of the l ocal osci l l ator i s used f or the l ower f requenci es and
hi gher harmoni cs are used to cover the hi gher f requenci es. A separate harmoni c mul -
ti pl i er i s not actual l y used i n practi ce; the mi xer i s desi gned to mi x wi th harmoni cs
of the l ocal osci l l ator.
16.2.3 The probl em of mul ti pl e responses
The system descri bed i n Fi gure 16.7 wi l l operate to hi gh mi crowave f requenci es but
there i s a maj or l i mi tati on. The type of anal yser shown i n the previ ous di agram has a
f undamental f l aw: one si gnal at the i nput generates mul ti pl e responses such that one
si gnal has many other si gnal s associ ated wi th i t, as shown i n Fi gure 16.8 whi ch i s
obvi ousl y i ncorrect.
RF
input
IF
output
Local
oscillator
X2 X1 X3 X4
Mixer
X2 X2 X2 X1 X1 X1 X3 X3 X3 X4 X4 X4
Fi gure 16.7 Mi crowave spectr um anal yser wi th har moni c mi xer
2nd Harmonic 3rd Harmonic Fundamental
Fi gure 16.8 Mul ti pl e responses for a si ngl e i nput frequency
356 Mi crowave measurements
RF
input
Local
oscillator
X2 X1 X3 X4
Mixer
YIG filter
X2 X2
X2
X1 X1
X1
X3 X3
X3
X4 X4
X4
IF
output
Fi gure 16.9 Mi crowave spectr um anal yser wi th a tr acki ng presel ector
Not onl y doesthi sonesi gnal mi x wi th each of theharmoni csof thel ocal osci l l ator
to producemul ti pl eresponsesbut addi ti onal responsesareal so generated at thei mage
f requenci es. Some of the earl i er mi crowave spectrum anal ysers used thi s techni que
but the l i mi tati ons are so severe that i t i s very rarel y, i f ever, used today.
16.2.4 Mi crowave spectr um anal yser wi th a tr acki ng presel ector
The di agram i n Fi gure 16.9 shows how addi ng a band-pass f i l ter at the i nput of the
spectrum anal yser can ref i ne the harmoni c mi xer techni que.
Thi s i s known as a tracki ng presel ector and the mi crowave spectrum anal yser
uses a YI G (Yttri um I ron Garnet) swept band-pass f i l ter f or the tracki ng f i l ter and i s
usual l y ref erred to as a presel ector.
16.2.5 Effect of the presel ector
The eff ect of usi ng a presel ector i s shown i n Fi gure 16.10.
The swept band-pass f i l ter sel ects onl y the wanted si gnal so that al l the unwanted
si gnal s are rej ected to make the measurement val i d. A qual i ty i nstrument has a pres-
el ector wi th hi gh out of band rej ecti on and the abi l i ty to track cl osel y the i nput tuned
f requency.
Certai n earl i er spectrum anal ysers requi red the presel ector to be ‘ peaked’ bef ore
a measurement was made to ensure that the presel ector i s tuned correctl y but thi s i s
not necessary wi th the l atest and more compl ex i nstruments.
16.2.6 Mi crowave spectr um anal yser bl ock di agr am
I n practi ce, modern mi crowave spectrum anal ysers are usual l y a combi nati on of a
f undamental f requency anal yser and aharmoni c anal yser. Thef undamental f requency
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 357
Fi gure 16.10 Effect of the presel ector
‘Harmonic’ mode
‘Fundamental’ mode
4.2 GHz
4.9 GHz
Input
4.5–9 GHz
4.4 GHz
To 502.6 MHz IF
Fi gure 16.11 100 Hz to 4.2 GHz spectr um anal yser
method of operati on i s used at the l ower f requenci es but at the hi gher f requenci es
the mul ti pl i cati on techni que, wi th a presel ector, i s used. Fi gure 16.11 shows the
archi tecture of a typi cal 100 Hz to 4.2 GHz spectrum anal yser.
I n the f undamental mode the i nput si gnal i s mi xed wi th a l ocal osci l l ator coveri ng
f rom 4.5 to 9 GHz. The I F i s then downconverted to a 502.6 MHz si gnal by a f i xed
4.4 GHz l ocal osci l l ator.
To cover thehi gher f requenci esthechangeover swi tch operatesto bri ng theswept
harmoni c mi xer i nto pl ay and the 4.5–9 GHz l ocal osci l l ator i s used to downconvert
the si gnal to the I F of 502.6 MHz.
Mi crowave spectrum anal ysers that use a harmoni c mi xer have a characteri sti c
‘ stepped’ noi se f l oor as i l l ustrated i n the di spl ay i n Fi gure 16.12. The ri se i n the noi se
358 Mi crowave measurements
occursat thef requency break poi ntswherethehi gher harmoni csof thel ocal osci l l ator
are used. From Fi gure 16.12 i t can be seen that the i nstrument i s approxi matel y 10 dB
l ess sensi ti ve at 22 GHz compared wi th the sensi ti vi ty at 2 GHz.
16.2.7 Spectr um anal yser wi th tr acki ng gener ator
Spectrum anal ysersaremadeeven moreusef ul by theaddi ti on of atracki ng generator.
A tracki ng generator i s a swept si gnal whose i nstantaneous f requency i s al ways the
same as the f requency to whi ch the spectrum anal yser i s tuned. Many spectrum
anal ysersi ncorporatetracki ng generatorsto i ncreasetheappl i cati onsof thei nstrument
to i ncl ude wi de dynami c range swept f requency response measurements. The use of
10 dB/
division
Stop 22 GHz Start 2 GHz
Fi gure 16.12 Noi se fl oor di spl ay
Resolution
filters
IF
attenuator
Log
amp
IF amplifier
Local
oscillator
Mixer
Sweep generator
RF
attenuator
Detector
Video
filter
Display
Reference
oscillator
Preselector
RF
input
Tracking generator
Fixed
oscillator
Mixer
Tracking
generator
output
Fi gure 16.13 A spectr um anal yser wi th tr acki ng gener ator
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 359
a tracki ng generator means that i t i s not al ways necessary to have an external si gnal
source when maki ng some measurements.
Fi gure 16.13 shows how a tracki ng generator f aci l i ty can be added to a spectrum
anal yser. The output si gnal synchronousl y tracks the i nput tuned f requency of the
i nstrument wi th theadvantagethat thedynami c rangei sbetter than woul d beobtai ned
i f a broadband detector was used. A dynami c range of over 110 dB can be achi eved
wi th a spectrum anal yser usi ng a tracki ng generator.
16.3 Par t 3: Spectr um analyser impor tant specification points
Spectrum anal ysers are compl ex i tems of test equi pment and they can easi l y be mi s-
used. At worst, awrong resul t can beobtai ned; at best, theoperator may not begetti ng
the best perf ormance f rom the i nstrument.
Thel atest spectrum anal ysershavemany automati c f uncti ons, but i ncorrect resul ts
are sti l l possi bl e. When usi ng a spectrum anal yser i t i s i mportant that the operator
understands the f uncti on of the basi c control s of the i nstrument i n order to be abl e to
use i t eff ecti vel y and to avoi d i ncorrect resul ts.
The spectrum anal yser bl ock di agram (Fi gure 16.14) i s repeated here to show
how the control s change the i nstrument f uncti ons. There are f our mai n control s on a
spectrum anal yser and they are
(1) RF Attenuator and I F gai n,
(2) sweep speed,
(3) resol uti on bandwi dth and
(4) vi deo bandwi dth.
The reason f or hi ghl i ghti ng the f our control s l i sted above i s that they are probabl y
the most commonl y mi sunderstood and abused. I ncorrect setti ngs of these control s
can cause seri ous measurement errors, so i t i s i mportant to real i se thei r si gni f i cance.
The f requency and ampl i tude are al so i mportant control s, but they are more easi l y
understood and l ess l i kel y to cause probl ems.
Resolution
filters
IF
attenuator
Log
amp
IF amplifier
Local
oscillator
Mixer
Sweep
generator
RF
attenuator
Detector
Video
filter
Display
Reference
oscillator
Preselector
RF
input
Fi gure 16.14 Spectr um anal yser control s
360 Mi crowave measurements
RF input
Local
oscillator
Resolution
filter
Mixer
Attenuator IF amplifier
To detector
Fi gure 16.15 I nput attenuator and I F gai n control s
16.3.1 The i nput attenuator and I F gai n control s
The bl ock di agram Fi gure 16.15 shows how the sensi ti vi ty of a spectrum anal yser
can be changed.
To i ncrease the sensi ti vi ty of the spectrum anal yser the operator has two opti ons,
ei ther the i nput attenuati on can be reduced or the I F gai n can be i ncreased, but i f the
wrong opti on i s chosen then the measurement may become i nval i d. I t i s essenti al to
arrange the correct si gnal power i nput l evel to the mi xer to ensure correct operati on.
I f the i nput attenuati on i s reduced too much then the i nput mi xer coul d be over-
l oaded wi th the resul t that unwanted di storti on products are generated wi thi n the
spectrum anal yser. I f the I F gai n i s i ncreased then the ri sk of overl oadi ng the i nput
mi xer i s removed but thenoi sel evel coul d ri seto an unacceptabl el evel wi th theresul t
that some si gnal s of i nterest coul d be masked i n the noi se. A f urther probl em that
coul d ari se i s the i ntroducti on of di storti on or i ntermodul ati on i n the I F stages.
Many spectrum anal ysers automati cal l y sel ect the opti mum RF attenuati on and
I F gai n setti ngs once the ref erence l evel at the top of di spl ay has been sel ected.
Under certai n ci rcumstances, however, i t may be an advantage to overri de the
automati c sel ecti on to sel ect a mode of operati on wi th ei ther l ower noi se or l ower
i ntermodul ati on.
16.3.2 Sweep speed control
The spectrum anal yser sweep speed must be swept suff i ci entl y sl owl y to al l ow the
si gnal l evel i n the narrow resol uti on f i l ters to settl e to a stabl e val ue. Fi gure 16.16
shows two di ff erent anal yser responses to the same si gnal and the eff ects produced
when sweepi ng too f ast are cl earl y shown. Fi rst, the ampl i tude of the di spl ayed si gnal
i s reduced because the f i l ter does not have suff i ci ent ti me to respond to the si gnal
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 361
Correct sweep speed
Sweep speed too fast
Fi gure 16.16 Shows the effect of sweepi ng too fast
and second the maxi mum i s moved to the ri ght due to the del ay i n the response. Thi s
eff ect i s someti mes ref erred to as ‘ ri ngi ng’ .
The Sweep bandwi dth f actor i s gi ven by the f ol l owi ng rel ati onshi p:
Sweep ∝
Span
Resol uti on bandwi dth
2
(16.1)
We can see that f or a gi ven Span (total f requency scal e across the screen) i f the res-
ol uti on bandwi dth i s changed then the sweep speed wi l l change. For most spectrum
anal ysers thi s i s carri ed out automati cal l y and modern i nstruments i ncorporate sof t-
ware control to ensure that the correct sweep speed i s achi eved. But under certai n
condi ti ons, where hi gh resol uti on i s requi red, the sweep speed may need to be as
sl ow as 100 seconds and then some f orm of di gi tal storage i s essenti al to ensure that
a vi si bl e di spl ay i s achi eved. Manual adj ustment of the sweep speed i s someti mes
provi ded on some i nstruments to overri de the automati c sel ecti on.
Sweepi ng f aster than the opti mum val ue can be usef ul to carry out a rapi d uncal i -
brated search f or spuri ous si gnal s or to study the eff ects of rapi dl y changi ng transi ent
si gnal s. However, the operator must be aware of the di spl ay errors that can be caused.
Sweepi ng sl ower than the opti mum sweep can be used, f or exampl e, when sweepi ng
a f i l ter wi th very steep ski rts by usi ng the Tracki ng Generator.
16.3.3 Resol uti on bandwi dth
Resol uti on f i l ters are a very i mportant part of the spectrum anal yser operati on and
they need to be caref ul l y used. Resol uti on bandwi dth i s the bandwi dth of the I F f i l ter
that determi nes the sel ecti vi ty of a spectrum anal yser. I t i s basi cal l y the abi l i ty of the
anal yser to separate cl osel y spaced si gnal s. A wi de resol uti on bandwi dth i s requi red
f or wi de sweeps whi l st a narrow f i l ter i s used f or narrow sweeps. Fi gure 16.17 shows
three di spl ays of an ampl i tude-modul ated si gnal , they i l l ustrate why i t i s necessary
to be abl e to change resol uti on bandwi dth.
362 Mi crowave measurements
Wi de Resol uti on Fi l ter
Requi red Di spl ay
Wide resolution filter
Required display
Fi gure 16.17 Usi ng a wi de resol uti on bandwi dth
Thewi deresol uti on bandwi dth i seff ecti vel y apl ot of theresponseof theresol uti on
f i l ter of the spectrum anal yser. As the resol uti on f i l ter i s swept across the f requency
scal e of the spectrum anal yser, any si gnal that i s wi thi n the pass-band of the f i l ter
wi l l resul t i n a response on the di spl ay. Fi gure 16.17 shows that i f the si gnal that i s
bei ng measured i s a carri er wi th two si de f requenci es when the resol uti on bandwi dth
(shown dotted) i s too wi de i t i s not possi bl e to di spl ay the si gnal correctl y. We can
see f requency response of the i nstrument’ s f i l ter i s swept by the l ocal osci l l ator and
the si de f requenci es are not seen i n thi s si tuati on.
The detai l of the response on the di spl ay i s cl earl y dependent upon the bandwi dth
of the resol uti on f i l ter and speed that i t i s moved across the di spl ay.
However, by usi ng progressi vel y narrower resol uti on f i l ter bandwi dths as shown
i n Fi gure 16.18, the di spl ay can resol ve the si de f requenci es. However, the penal ty
f or hi gh resol uti on i s that a sl ower sweep speed needs to be used.
Most spectrum anal ysers have a number of resol uti on bandwi dth f i l ters. The
wi de resol uti on bandwi dth f i l ters are onl y normal l y used when the di spl ay needs to
be updated rapi dl y.
16.3.4 Shape factor of the resol uti on fi l ter
Fi gure16.19 showstwo typesof f i l ter i n useasresol uti on f i l tersi n spectrum anal ysers
and they have def i ned f i l ter shapes.
Shape Factor =
60 dB Bandwi dth
3 dB Bandwi dth
The shape f actor i s def i ned as the rati o of the 60 dB bandwi dth to the 3 dB bandwi dth.
The f i rst type of f i l ter i s the Gaussi an f i l ter and i t has a shape f actor of 11:1 f or hi gh
qual i ty to 15:1 f or al ower qual i ty f i l ter. Thesecond typeof resol uti on f i l ter i s adi gi tal
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 363
Narrower Resolution Bandwidth Narrower resolution bandwidth
Narrowest resolution bandwidth
(a)
(b)
Fi gure 16.18 (a) Usi ng a nar rower resol uti on and (b) the nar rowest resol uti on
f i l ter that has a shape f actor of 5:1. The di gi tal f i l ter i s parti cul arl y usef ul where a
narrow resol uti on f i l ter i s needed, say f rom 1 Hz to 30 Hz.
Thi s mi ni mum resol uti on bandwi dth of a spectrum anal yser i s a key measure of
theabi l i ty to measurel ow-l evel si gnal sadj acent to hi gh-l evel si gnal s. Many spectrum
anal ysers have a combi nati on of Gaussi an and di gi tal f i l ters i ncl uded i n thei r desi gn.
A measurement that i l l ustrates the i mportance of mi ni mum resol uti on band-
wi dth i s the determi nati on of l ow-l evel si gnal such as a 50 Hz si de f requency (hum
si debands) cl ose to a l arge si gnal .
For exampl e i n Fi gure 16.20, the upper trace i s achi eved by usi ng a 10 Hz res-
ol uti on bandwi dth and onl y one si gnal i s di scerni bl e. The l ower trace, whi ch uses a
3 Hz resol uti on bandwi dth, cl earl y shows the l ow-l evel si gnal s.
For exampl e, i f the si debands are 70 dB down then a 10 Hz resol uti on bandwi dth
f i l ter wi th a shape f actor of 11:1 coul d not resol ve the si de f requenci es because i f the
364 Mi crowave measurements
Gaussian filter
Digital filter
3dB
60dB
Fi gure 16.19 Resol uti on bandwi dth fi l ter shape factor
10Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
10Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
10Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
10Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
10Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
3Hz Filter
100 Hz span (10Hz/div)
10Hz filter
3Hz filter
Fi gure 16.20 Resol uti on bandwi dth change
3 dB bandwi dth i s 10 Hz then the 60 dB bandwi dth i s 110 Hz. A si gnal 60 dB down
and 55 Hz away coul d j ust be di scerned but a si gnal 70 dB down and 50 Hz away
woul d not be resol ved.
By usi ng a 3 Hz f i l ter wi th a shape f actor of 11:1 a si gnal 16.5 Hz away can be
resol ved i f i t i s l ess than 60 dB down; i t f ol l ows that a si gnal 70 dB down and 50 Hz
away can be easi l y measured.
Di gi tal f i l ters are now common i n spectrum anal yser and they have a shape f actor
of 5:1 enabl i ng cl ose-i n si gnal s to be resol ved and measured.
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 365
Mixer
RF input
Local
oscillator
IF amplifier Detector
To display
Video
bandwidth
switch
Resolution
filter
Fi gure 16.21 Vi deo bandwi dths
16.3.5 Vi deo bandwi dth control s
The previ ous secti on expl ai ned that spectrum anal ysers are of ten used to measure
very l ow-l evel si gnal s that may be al most i ndi scerni bl e f rom the system noi se. Usi ng
a narrower resol uti on bandwi dth f i l ter wi l l reduce the average di spl ayed val ue of
the noi se. However, to make the si gnal s even easi er to vi ew i t i s of ten necessary to
smooth out the random f l uctuati on of noi se so that a coherent si gnal can be more
cl earl y vi ewed. The tradi ti onal way to smooth the noi se i s to use a l ow-pass vi deo
f i l ter af ter the detector as shown i n Fi gure 16.21
I n order to achi eve the noi se smoothi ng i t i s necessary to sweep more sl owl y
because the ti me constant of the f i l ter i s reduced as the bandwi dth of the f i l ter i s
reduced. Modern i nstruments coupl e the vi deo bandwi dth control s to the sweep
speed control so that the i nstrument automati cal l y sel ects a sl ower sweep speed i f
the vi deo bandwi dth i s reduced. Conversel y, a l ower f requency vi deo bandwi dth i s
automati cal l y sel ected i f the sweep speed i s i ncreased.
A usef ul general rul ei sto set thevi deo bandwi dth to beone-tenth of theresol uti on
bandwi dth bei ng used.
16.3.5.1 Video aver aging
An al ternati ve method of noi se averagi ng that has become i ncreasi ngl y popul ar on
sof tware-control l ed i nstruments i s to usemul ti pl esweep vi deo averagi ng. Successi ve
sweeps are averaged so that the ampl i tudes of coherent si gnal s are unchanged whi l st
the l evel s of varyi ng noi sy si gnal s are averaged out.
The eff ect of usi ng vi deo averagi ng i s to see the noi se l evel sl owl y f al l . Any
l ow-l evel coherent si gnal s that have been obscured by noi se may become vi si bl e.
Cl earl y, i t i smost i mportant that an operator i sawareof thedi ff erencebetween the
vi deo bandwi dth control s and the resol uti on bandwi dth control s and not to conf use
366 Mi crowave measurements
thei r di ff erent f uncti ons. Addi ti onal cri ti cal aspects of the perf ormance of a spectrum
anal yser are noi se, dynami c range, accuracy and l ocal osci l l ator phase noi se.
16.3.6 Measur i ng l ow-l evel si gnal s – noi se
The probl em when measuri ng l ow-l evel si gnal s i s that even a component such as
passi ve resi stor generates noi se due to thermal eff ects. The noi se vol tage generated
i s gi ven by the equati on:
V
2
= 4KTBR
where K i s the Bol tzmann’ s constant (1.374 ×10
−23
J

K
−1
), T i s the temperature i n
K (absol ute temperature), B i s the bandwi dth of the system (Hz) and R i s the resi stor
val ue (general l y 50 f or most measurements).
Usi ng the f i gures gi ven above resul ts i n a val ue f or V
2
of 8.927 ×10
−10
V EMF
and converti ng thi s to dBm gi ves a val ue of −174 dBm.
I f a spectrum anal yser has a typi cal noi se f i gure of 20 dB then wi th a 1 Hz
resol uti on bandwi dth, the l owest l evel si gnal that coul d be di scerned woul d be 20 dB
hi gher i n ampl i tude than the noi se of −174 dBm of a passi ve termi nati on. Thi s means
that wi th a1 Hz f i l ter, aspectrum anal yser wi th a20 dB noi sef l oor coul d theoreti cal l y
measure −174 +20 = −154 dBm.
An anal yser wi th thesamenoi seFi gurebut wi th ami ni mum resol uti on bandwi dth
of 3 Hz coul d di scern a si gnal at −149 dBm and wi th a 1 kHz resol uti on bandwi dth
coul d onl y measure down to −119 dBm, whi ch i s 30 dB worse (Fi gure 16.22).
Theuseof apre-ampl i f i er at thei nput of aspectrum anal yser can assi st to measure
l ower ampl i tude si gnal s.
16.3.7 Dynami c r ange
A usef ul def i ni ti on of the dynami c range i s that i t i s the rati o of the l argest to the
smal l est si gnal si mul taneousl y present at the i nput of the spectrum anal yser that
10Hz
−120dBm
−130dBm
−140dBm
−145dBm
10 kHz
1kHz
100 Hz
3Hz
−110dBm
Noise
floor
Resolution
bandwidth
1Hz
−150dBm
Fi gure 16.22 Shows how the noi se fl oor drops as the resol uti on bandwi dth i s
reduced
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 367
permi ts the measurement of the smal l er si gnal taki ng i nto account the uncertai nty of
themeasurement. Thedynami c rangei susual l y quoted i n dB. Notethat uncertai nty of
measurement i s i ncl uded i n the def i ni ti on so we need to consi der, how the i nternal l y
generated di storti on and noi se aff ect the measurement that we make. For a constant
l ocal osci l l ator l evel the mi xer output i s l i nearl y rel ated to the i nput si gnal l evel and
f or al l practi cal purposes thi s i s true provi ded that the i nput si gnal i s more than 20 dB
bel ow the l ocal osci l l ator dri ve l evel . The i nput si gnal at the mi xer determi nes the
dynami c range. The l evel of si gnal we need f or a parti cul ar measurement can be
cal cul ated usi ng data f rom the manuf acturer’ s speci f i cati on f or the anal yser and i n
some cases the manuf acturer’ s data sheets i ncl ude graphs showi ng the i nf ormati on.
16.3.7.1 I nter modulation and distor tion
A spectrum anal yser can i ntroduce i ntermodul ati on and cause di storti on on a mea-
surement; certai n measurements cannot be made i f the i nstrument i tsel f generates
excessi ve di storti on. The di storti on i s normal l y descri bed by i ts order and i s noted
by i ts rel ati onshi p to the si gnal f requency, theref ore second harmoni c di storti on i s
known as second order and the thi rd harmoni c di storti on i s known as thi rd-order.
Let us consi der the second-order di storti on f i rst. Suppose that the i nf ormati on
f rom the manuf acturer’ s speci f i cati on gi ves the f ol l owi ng data that the second har-
moni c di storti on i s 75 dB down on the f undamental f or a si gnal l evel of −40 dBm at
the mi xer i nput. We can pl ot the data on the graph i n Fi gure 16.23.
Thi s means we can measure di storti on down to 75 dB. The val ue can be pl otted
on a graph of Di storti on (dBc) agai nst the mi xer i nput l evel . Now i f the mi xer l evel i s
changed to −50 dBm we know that di storti on changes by 10 dB to −85 dBm. Now i f
−110
−100
−90
−80
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
−60 −50 −40 −30 −20 −10 0 10 20 30
Mixer level dBm
D
i
s
t
o
r
t
i
o
n

d
B
c
Fi gure 16.23 Second-order di stor ti on
368 Mi crowave measurements
−60 −50 −40 −30 −20 −10 0 10 20 30
Mixer level dBm
D
i
s
t
o
r
t
i
o
n

d
B
c
Second-
order
slope = 1
Third-order
slope = 2
−110
−100
−90
−80
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
Fi gure 16.24 Thi rd-order di stor ti on added
the si gnal l evel at the mi xer changes to −50 dBm then the i nternal di storti on and the
measurement range changes f rom −75 dBc to −85 dBc. From mathemati cal anal ysi s
of the mi xer, i t i s known that f or the second-order di storti on the two poi nts are on
a l i ne whose sl ope i s 1 so we can draw a l i ne on the graph gi vi ng the second-order
perf ormance f or any l evel at the i nput to the mi xer. Si mi l arl y, we can now construct
a l i ne f or the thi rd-order di storti on. The manuf acturer’ s data sheet gi ves −85 dBc
f or a l evel of −30 dBm at the mi xer i nput and thi s val ue i s pl otted on the graph i n
Fi gure 16.24. I f the di ff erence between the two val ues changes by 20 dB the i nternal
di storti on i s changed to −105 dBc. Agai n f rom mathemati cal anal ysi s of the mi xer
these two poi nts are on a l i ne of sl ope 2 gi vi ng the thi rd-order perf ormance f or any
l evel at the i nput to the mi xer.
16.3.7.2 Noise
Therei saf urther eff ect on thedynami c rangeand that i sthenoi sef l oor of thespectrum
anal yser. Remember that the def i ni ti on of the dynami c range i s the rati o of the l argest
to the smal l est si gnal that can be measured on the di spl ay. So the noi se l evel pl aces
a l i mi t on the smal l er si gnal . The dynami c range i s rel ati ve to the noi se and becomes
the si gnal -to-noi se rati o where the si gnal i s the f undamental we requi re to measure.
To pl ot thenoi seon adynami c rangechart wetakethedataf romthemanuf acturer’ s
data sheet, whi ch gi ves −110 dBm f or a 10 kHz resol uti on bandwi dth. I f our si gnal
l evel at the mi xer i s −40 dBm i t i s 70 dB above the average noi se. Now f or every dB
we l ose at the mi xer i nput we l ose 1 dB of si gnal -to-noi se rati o so the noi se curve i s
a strai ght l i ne havi ng a sl ope of −1 and thi s can be drawn on the graph as shown i n
Fi gure 16.25.
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 369
−60 −50 −40 −30 −20 −10 0 10 20 30
Mixer level dbm
−110
−100
−90
−80
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
d
B
c
B
A
N
o
i
s
e

1
0
k
H
z

B
W
N
o
i
s
e

1
0
k
H
z

B
W
Fi gure 16.25 Dynami c r ange ver sus di stor ti on and noi se
Fi gure 16.25 shows two i ntercepts marked A and B. A i s the second-order
maxi mum dynami c range and B i s the thi rd-order maxi mum range.
Theref ore, the best dynami c range f or the second-order di storti on i s theref ore
A = 72.5 dB and f or the thi rd-order di storti on i t i s B = 81.7 dB. Practi cal l y, the i nter-
secti on of the noi se and di storti on graph i s not sharpl y def i ned because the noi se
adds to the conti nuous wave (CW) l i ke di storti on and reduces the dynami c range by
a f urther 2 dB.
Thepl ot f or other resol uti on bandwi dths can beadded to thegraph as requi red and
shows that by reduci ng the resol uti on bandwi dth the dynami c range can be i mproved.
The two poi nts A and B i n Fi gure 16.26 show the second and thi rd dynami c range
i mprovement by changi ng the resol uti on bandwi dth f rom 10 kHz to 1 kHz.
Unf ortunatel y, there i s no one to one change between the l owered noi se f l oor
and the i mprovement i n the dynami c range. And f or the second order the change i s
one-hal f of the change i n the noi se f l oor and f or the thi rd-order di storti on two-thi rds
of the change i n the noi se f l oor.
16.3.7.3 Spectr um analyser local oscillator phase noise
The f i nal i tem aff ecti ng the dynami c range i s the l ocal osci l l ator phase noi se on the
spectrum anal yser and thi s aff ects onl y the thi rd-order di storti on measurements.
For exampl e, i f a two-tone thi rd-order di storti on measurement was bei ng made
on an ampl i f i er and the test tones were separated by 10 kHz, the thi rd-order di stor-
ti on componentsareal so separated by 10 kHz. Now, supposewechoosetheresol uti on
bandwi dth of the spectrum anal yser to be 1 kHz al l owi ng f or a 10 dB decrease i n
370 Mi crowave measurements
−110
−100
−90
−80
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
−60 −50 −40 −30 −20 −10 0 10 20 30
Mixer level dbm
d
B
c
N
o
i
s
e

1
0
k
H
z

B
W
N
o
i
s
e

1
k
H
z

B
W
Second order Dynamic range
improvement
Third order Dynamic range
improvement
N
o
i
s
e

1
0
k
H
z

B
W
N
o
i
s
e

1
k
H
z

B
W
Second-order dynamic range
improvement
Third-order dynamic range
improvement
Fi gure 16.26 Reduci ng resol uti on bandwi dth i mproves dynami c r ange
the noi se curve then the maxi mum dynami c range i s approxi matel y 88 dB. But i f the
phase noi se at a 10 kHz off set i s onl y −80 dBc then thi s val ue becomes the l i mi t of
the dynami c range.
16.3.7.4 Selecting the optimum conditions
Fi gure 16.27 combi nes the graphs gi ven i n the two previ ous i l l ustrati ons. From thi s
combi ned graph the opti mum dynami c range can be determi ned. The si gnal -to-noi se
rati o i mproves as the i nput mi xer l evel i s i ncreased.
An exampl e i l l ustrates the use of the graph.
To determi ne the opti mum dynami c range avai l abl e to measure thi rd-order i nter-
modul ati on productsthe‘ 1 kHz bandwi dth (BW)’ l i nei sf ol l owed; at −34 dBm mi xer
l evel the si gnal -to-noi se rati o i s al most 90 dB.
No f urther i mprovement i s possi bl ebecauseas themi xer l evel i s i ncreased f urther
the l evel of the thi rd-order i ntermodul ati on products i ncreases. At a mi xer l evel of
−30 dBm, the dynami c range i s reduced to 80 dB.
I n addi ti on to thethreekey aspectshi ghl i ghted above, other poi ntsareal so covered
i n thi s secti on, such as si deband noi se, resi dual responses, resi dual FM and i nput
overl oad, whereexperi enceshows that theseareas areal so f requentl y mi sunderstood.
16.3.7.5 Sideband noise
Three speci f i cati on poi nts aff ect the abi l i ty of a spectrum anal yser to measure l ow-
l evel si gnal scl oseto hi gh-l evel si gnal s. Two of thepoi ntshaveal ready been descri bed;
they are mi ni mum resol uti on bandwi dth and resol uti on f i l ter shape f actor.
The thi rd poi nt i s the si deband noi se of the l ocal osci l l ators i n the i nstrument.
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 371
Dynamic range
reduction due
to phase noise
−110
−100
−90
−80
−70
−60
−50
d
B
c
−60 −50 −40 −30 −20 −10 0 10 20 30
Mixer level dBm
Phase noise @
10 kHz offset
Fi gure 16.27 Phase noi se l i mi t
Phase noise
Fi gure 16.28 Local osci l l ator noi se si debands
Fi gure 16.28 shows the si deband noi se of the i nstrument’ s l ocal osci l l ator super-
i mposed on the resol uti on bandwi dth response. Measurement of l ow-l evel si gnal s
cl ose to a carri er can be i mpai red i f si deband noi se i s too hi gh. When devel opi ng
spectrum anal ysers desi gners endeavour to keep the l ocal osci l l ator phase noi se as
l ow as possi bl e.
16.3.7.6 Checking for inter nal distor tion
Some spectrum anal ysers have an ‘ I ntermodul ati on I denti f y’ key (Fi gure 16.29) to
automate and si mpl i f y the sel f -test procedure. I n the l atest spectrum anal ysers the
372 Mi crowave measurements
Mixer
Intermodulation
Identify button
(may be soft key)
IF amplifier RF attenuator
Fi gure 16.29 I nter modul ati on di stor ti on i denti fi cati on button
i ntermodul ati on key may be a ‘ sof t key’ and i s i ncl uded as a part of the sof tware
f uncti onsthat appear on thedi spl ay. However, when thekey i spressed addi ti onal i nput
attenuati on i s i ntroduced and the I F ampl i f i cati on i s si mul taneousl y i ncreased by an
equal amount. I f si gnal l evel sseen on thedi spl ay do not movethen themeasurement i s
val i d. Thi s i s a usef ul , qui ck and eff ecti ve way to check f or a possi bl e mi xer overl oad
si tuati on.
I f thi s f eature i s not avai l abl e then a usef ul way to check f or any i nternal overl oad
i s to i ntroduce temporari l y addi ti onal RF attenuati on. I f a f urther 10 dB of attenuati on
i s i ntroduced, then al l the si gnal s on the screen shoul d drop by 10 dB. I f the l evel
changes by a di ff erent amount then thi s i ndi cates that the spectrum anal yser i s bei ng
overl oaded and di storti on i s present.
16.3.8 Ampl i tude accur acy
A good ampl i tude accuracy speci f i cati on i s essenti al f or accurate and repeatabl e
measurements, but there can be consi derabl e measurement uncertai nty i f the i nput
match i s poor.
16.3.9 Effect of i nput VSWR
Thei nput match, general l y expressed asVSWR, ref l ecti on coeff i ci ent or Return Loss,
i s a measure of the proporti on of the si gnal i nci dent at the i nput that i s ref l ected back.
Ampl i tude measurement uncertai nty deteri orates; as the match becomes worse, the
eff ect i s aggravated more i f the source match i s poor.
The graph of Fi gure 16.30 shows a conveni ent pl ot to gi ve an esti mate of the
uncertai nty l i mi ts f or a vari ety of source and l oad val ues. The uncertai nti es ri se
consi derabl y as the matches become worse. For exampl e, Fi gure 16.30 shows the
mi smatch uncertai nty f or a source VSWR of 2.0:1 and the spectrum anal yser i nput
VSWR of 1.5:1 gi ves a mi smatch uncertai nty of 1.2 dB.
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 373
1.5
1.0
0.5
0dB
−0.5
−1.0
−1.5
Instrument input VSWR
2:1
3:1
4:1
Source VSWR
2:1
1.5:1
1.2:1
1.2:1
1.5:1
2:1
M
i
s
m
a
t
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e
r
r
o
r

l
i
m
i
t

d
B
Fi gure 16.30 I nput mi smatch uncer tai nty
16.3.10 Si deband noi se char acter i sti cs
Fi gure 16.31 shows the typi cal si deband noi se perf ormance of a qual i ty spectrum
anal yser. The Fi gure shows how the si deband noi se can reduce cl ose-i n resol uti on
as wel l as reduci ng dynami c range even f or measurements 200 kHz away f rom the
carri er.
16.3.11 Resi dual responses
I n an earl i er secti on, the probl em of spuri ous responses was hi ghl i ghted. A spectrum
anal yser can di spl ay a si gnal on the screen al though no si gnal i s present at the i nput.
I nstrument desi gners endeavour to el i mi nate thi s undesi rabl e phenomenon but these
resi dual responses are known to be present i n al l i nstruments to a greater or l esser
extent. Resi dual responses occur because wi thi n a spectrum anal yser there are a
number of l ocal osci l l ator f requenci es and thei r harmoni cs whi ch can mi x wi th each
other to produce si gnal s whi ch can f al l wi thi n the I F bandwi dth and wi l l appear as
f al se si gnal s.
Acti ve RF and mi crowave systems f requentl y generate non-harmoni cal l y rel ated
si gnal s that need to be i denti f i ed and measured. Tracki ng down and then reduci ng
the l evel of unwanted spuri ous si gnal s i s a very common appl i cati on of a spectrum
anal yser.
I nexperi enced spectrum anal yser users can have probl ems wi th such a measure-
ment i f they areunawareof thel i mi tati onsof thei nstrument. Theprobl em of i nternal l y
generated harmoni cal l y rel ated di storti on products has been descri bed but a spectrum
374 Mi crowave measurements
10Hz 100Hz 1kHz 10kHz 100kHz 10MHz 1MHz
Frequency offset from carrier Noise
dBc/1Hz
10Hz 100Hz 1kHz 10kHz 100 kHz 1MHz
Resolution
bandwidths
3Hz
−30
−40
−50
−60
−70
−80
−90
−100
−110
−120
−130
−140
Fi gure 16.31 Si deband noi se gr aph
anal yser i tsel f can have spuri ous responses. I t i s essenti al to ensure that a si gnal
vi si bl e on the screen i s not generated wi thi n the spectrum anal yser. The i nternal l y
spuri ous si gnal s generated can ei ther be caused by resi dual responses that are an
i nherent l i mi tati on of the desi gn or caused i nadvertentl y by the operator i f the i nstru-
ment i s overl oaded. I mage responses and mul ti pl e responses are al so encountered i n
mi crowave spectrum anal ysers i f a presel ector i s not used.
Resi dual responses (see Fi gure 16.32) can create si gni f i cant measurement prob-
l ems so i t i s i mportant to purchase an i nstrument wi th a very good speci f i cati on.
Resi dual responses of a qual i ty i nstrument are typi cal l y l ess than −120 dBm to
−110 dBm. Some i nstruments can have i nf eri or speci f i cati ons or i n some cases,
the resi dual responses are not even quoted at al l .
To be absol utel y certai n that a si gnal i s not bei ng i nternal l y generated i t may
someti mes be necessary to repl ace the si gnal bei ng anal ysed wi th a known pure
si gnal and to i nvesti gate the di ff erence.
16.3.12 Resi dual FM
An i mportant speci f i cati on poi nt i s resi dual FM. I f the l ocal osci l l ator i n the spectrum
anal yser has appreci abl eFM on i t then cl oseto carri er measurements cannot bemade.
Resi dual FM on a qual i ty i nstrument wi l l vary f rom around 1 Hz to 10 Hz dependi ng
on f requency range. Fi gure16.33 showshow poor resi dual FM can i nval i datecl ose-i n
measurements.
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 375
Fi gure 16.32 Resi dual responses
Poor quality High quality
Fi gure 16.33 Resi dual FM
16.3.13 Uncer tai nty contr i buti ons
A spectrum anal yser i s avery compl ex devi cewi th many el ements, whi ch can change
wi th f requency, temperature and ti me. Each el ement contri butes towards the i naccu-
racy or uncertai nty of a measurement. Fi gure 16.34 shows a si mpl i f i ed bl ock di agram
of a typi cal i nstrument wi th uncertai nty contri buti ons added. These f i gures are taken
f rom the speci f i cati on of an i nstrument i n present wi despread use. For a gi ven mea-
surement, al l the uncertai nti es may not necessary appl y, but the accuracy of such
an i nstrument i s poor. The probl em can be worse when i t i s real i sed that wi th many
i nstruments i t i s necessary to adj ust f ront panel presets to obtai n such accuracy. Thi s
rel i es on the di l i gence and ski l l of the operator and i s theref ore not rel i abl e.
Somespectrumanal ysersusean automati c sel f -cal i brati on processand at thetouch
of abutton on thef ront panel or asof t key thei nstrument runsthrough asel f -cal i brati on
376 Mi crowave measurements
Internal
calibrator
RF
attenuator
Mixer
IF
amplifier
Resolution
filters
Detector Log amp
Display
Frequency response ±0.4 to 2 dB
Temperature drift 0.05dB/deg C.
±0.07 to 1.2dB
±0 to 0.8dB ±0.3 to 1.0dB ±0.1dB
±0.2 to 0.8 dB
Mixer and input filter
flatness ±0.1dB
±0.25 to 0.4dB
Input mismatch ± 0.13 dB
RF input
Fi gure 16.34 Uncer tai nty contr i buti ons
routi ne. A typi cal sel f -cal i brati on routi ne i ncl udes setti ng up the ampl i tude and f re-
quency of each of the resol uti on f i l ters, measuri ng and correcti ng f or the attenuati on
of each of the i nput attenuator steps.
I nstruments that have a bui l t-i n tracki ng generator can al so correct f or the f re-
quency response of the system by sweepi ng through the enti re f requency range whi l st
routi ng the ampl i tude l evel l ed tracki ng generator i nto the i nput. The advantage of
automati c sel f -cal i brati on i s that total l evel accuracy i s i mproved dramati cal l y and
the speci f i cati on i s val i d f or al l l evel s and f requenci es and f or any span or reso-
l uti on bandwi dth. For engi neers who need to produce uncertai nty budgets a usef ul
approach i s to l i st al l the contri buti ons to the uncertai nty of measurement and then to
i ncl ude onl y those that aff ect a parti cul ar measurement i n a f i nal budget as shown i n
Fi gure 16.35.
16.3.14 Di spl ay detecti on mode
Modern spectrum anal ysers use di gi tal methods f or acqui ri ng and mani pul ati ng the
data to di spl ay. The i nput data at the i nput of the spectrum anal yser i s pl aced i n
to segments someti mes cal l ed bi ns and the bi ns are di gi tal l y sampl ed f or f urther
processi ng and then di spl ayed. The poi nt i n the bi n where the data are sampl ed wi l l
cl earl y aff ect the di spl ayed i nf ormati on. Spectrum anal ysers may have a number of
sel ectabl e detector modes and the mode of detector chosen wi l l determi ne how the
i nput si gnal i s di spl ayed. Tabl e 16.1 shows the advantages and di sadvantages of the
vari ous detector modes.
16.4 Spectr um analyser applications
Spectrum anal ysers are used to make a very wi de range of measurements. I t i s not
possi bl e to cover al l the possi bl e appl i cati ons but the more common measurements
are i ncl uded i n thi s secti on.
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 377
C
W
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Absol ute l evel
Frequency response
RF attenuati on
I F gai n
Li neari ty error
Bandwi dth swi tchi ng
Resol uti on Bandwi dth
Sampl i ng
Mi smatch
Fi gure 16.35 Typi cal uncer tai nty contr i buti ons for some spectr um anal yser mea-
surements
Tabl e 16.1 Detector modes
Detector mode Method Advantages Di sadvantages
Peak Detects the hi ghest
poi nt i n the bi n
Good f or anal ysi ng
si nusoi dal wavef orms
Over responds to noi se
Sampl e Detects the l ast poi nt
i n the bi n whatever the
power
Good f or noi se
measurement
Not good f or CW
si gnal s wi th narrow
bandwi dths and wi l l
mi ss si gnal s that do not
appear at the same
poi nt i n the bi n
Negati ve peak Detects the l owest
power l evel i n the bi n
Good f or AM/FM
demodul ati on and can
di sti ngui sh between
random and i mpul se
noi se
Does not i mprove the
anal yser sensi ti vi ty
al though the noi se
f l oor wi l l appear to f al l
Rosenf el l Dynami cal l y cl assi f i es
the data as ei ther noi se
or si gnal
Gi ves an i mproved
di spl ay of random
noi se compared wi th
peak detecti on and
avoi ds the mi ssed
si gnal probl em of
sampl e detecti on
Onl y used i n the hi gh
perf ormance spectrum
anal ysers
378 Mi crowave measurements

Fi gure 16.36 Har moni c di stor ti on
16.4.1 Measurement of har moni c di stor ti on
A spectrum anal yser can be used to measure the ampl i tudes of the f undamental and
even very l ow-l evel harmoni cs. Someti mes, however, i t i s necessary to quote not
onl y the l evel of the harmoni c di storti on products but al so to gi ve the total harmoni c
di storti on.
The total harmoni c di storti on as shown i n Fi gure 16.36 can be cal cul ated by
measuri ng the ampl i tudes of al l the harmoni cs and then take the square root of the
sum of the squares.
16.4.2 Exampl e of a tr acki ng gener ator measurement
The di spl ay shown i n Fi gure 16.37 i s a typi cal tracki ng generator measurement, the
anal ysi s of a 10.7 MHz band-pass f i l ter over a wi de dynami c range. The di spl ay
shows two di ff erent traces si mul taneousl y.
The upper trace shows the overal l response of the f i l ter over a dynami c range
i n excess of 80 dB. The other trace shows the ri ppl e on the pass-band of the f i l ter
di spl ayed wi th a resol uti on of 0.5 dB per di vi si on.
16.4.3 Zero span
The pri nci pal f uncti on of a spectrum anal yser i s to sweep through a sel ected part of
the f requency spectrum. I n certai n ci rcumstances, however, i t may be necessary to
anal yse the characteri sti cs of j ust one f i xed porti on of the spectrum. The zero span
mode i s used f or such appl i cati ons. I n thi s mode, the l ocal osci l l ator of the i nstrument
i s no l onger swept; the osci l l ator i s hel d at a f i xed f requency so that the si gnal of
i nterest can be studi ed. I f sweepi ng ceases one woul d expect to merel y see a dot or
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 379
−34.7
−44.7
−54.7
−64.7
−74.7
−84.7
−94.7
−104.7
−114.7
−124.7
−134.7
−35.82
−36.32
−36.82
−37.32
−37.82
−38.32
−38.82
−39.32
−39.82
−40.32
−40.82
Ref
Inc
10.70000MHz
5.00kHz
5.00 kHz/Div
200ms /Div
Res bw 300Hz
Vid bw 350Hz
Atten 00dB 50Ω TG-10.0dBm
Fi gure 16.37 Measurement of a 10.7 MHz band-pass fi l ter
l i ne on the di spl ay, whi ch moves up and down accordi ng to the change i n ampl i tude
of the si gnal to whi ch the i nstrument i s tuned. Thi s woul d provi de a certai n amount
of i nf ormati on, but much more i nf ormati on i s obtai ned i f a ti me base sweeps the spot
hori zontal l y i n a manner si mi l ar to the techni que used i n osci l l oscopes.
By sweepi ng the spot hori zontal l y the di spl ay wi l l show ampl i tude versus ti me
vari ati ons of the si gnal to whi ch the i nstrument i s tuned.
16.4.4 The use of zero span
There are many appl i cati ons of zero span mode but one of the most obvi ous i s to
demodul ate an ampl i tude-modul ated carri er as shown i n Fi gure 16.38. Another com-
mon use i s to measure response ti mes, one exampl e i s the measurement of transmi tter
decay ti me at swi tch off ; thi s can be a cri ti cal measurement si nce i t may determi ne
how qui ckl y an adj acent sensi ti ve recei ver can be enabl ed. Synthesi ser swi tchi ng
ti mes and overshoots can al so be eval uated usi ng the zero span mode.
The ti me base of modern sophi sti cated i nstruments i s deri ved f rom the ref erence
osci l l ator. Thi s ensures the very best accuracy when ti mi ng measurements are made.
Some i nstruments onl y have an i naccurate ti me base, so i t i s a wi se precauti on to
check the speci f i cati on of the i nstrument bef ore maki ng a measurement.
16.4.5 Meter Mode
I n addi ti on to the zero span mode some i nstruments i ncorporate a ‘ Meter Mode’ .
Thi s i s used f or appl i cati ons where a spectrum di spl ay needs to be retai ned whi l st
sti l l moni tori ng the changi ng ampl i tude of a part of the spectrum.
A typi cal appl i cati on of ‘ Meter Mode’ i s shown i n Fi gure 16.39. The ampl i tude
of the FM carri er i s conti nuousl y updated i n real ti me whi l st the rest of the di spl ay
i s saved. Any part of the di spl ay, sel ected by the movabl e marker, can be updated
380 Mi crowave measurements
5.00
4.50
4.00
3.50
3.00
2.50
2.00
1.50
1.00
0.50
0.00
Ref 2.010914 MHz
Inc 0Hz
Zero span res bw 30 kHz
200µs /div
AM Demodulation
Atten 60dB 50Ω TG off
A Volts
Fi gure 16.38 AM demodul ati on
A dBm
FM 1kHz mod. freq 2.4kHz deviation
Atten 40dB 50Ω TG off
Meter−35.47dBm 150.000000MHz
Ref 150.000000MHz 500Hz/div Res bw 100Hz
Inc 500Hz
200ms/div Vid
bw 1kHz
0.0
−10.0
−20.0
−30.0
−40.0
−50.0
−60.0
−70.0
−80.0
−90.0
−100.0
Fi gure 16.39 Meter Mode
and moni tored. Thi s method i s very usef ul when measuri ng carri er devi ati on by the
Bessel Di sappeari ng Carri er Techni que.
16.4.6 I nter modul ati on measurement
Measuri ng the harmoni c di storti on caused by a devi ce i s not a very di scri mi nati ng
measurement. A more searchi ng method i s to use two or more test si gnal s and to
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 381
Combiner
Device
under
test
Spectrum analyzer
Signal
generator
F
2
Signal
generator
F
1
Fi gure 16.40 Two-tone test set up
measure the i ntermodul ati on products that are generated at the output of the devi ce
under test. By usi ng morethan onetest si gnal thedevi cerecei vessi gnal sthat arecl oser
to the more compl ex si gnal s that are general l y encountered i n practi cal systems. Two
separatesi gnal generators and acombi ner areneeded as shown i n Fi gure16.40. There
are al so speci al si gnal sources devel oped that contai n two or more sources i n order
to provi de the best possi bl e si gnal s f or thi s test.
Another probl em i s that any non-l i neari ty i n the output ampl i f i ers of the si gnal
generators can produce i ntermodul ati on. Further probl ems can ari se i f the automati c
l evel control (ALC) detector at the output of one si gnal generator al so detects the
si gnal f rom the other si gnal generator. I t i s f or these two reasons that i t i s good
practi ce to i nsert an attenuator between the si gnal generator output and the combi ner.
Thi s may not be practi cal i n some ci rcumstances, because the si gnal l evel may be too
l ow. For hi gher f requency measurements, an i sol ator i s recommended to i mprove the
measurement i ntegri ty.
16.4.7 I nter modul ati on anal ysi s
A typi cal spectrum anal yser di spl ay of a two-tone i ntermodul ati on test i s shown i n
Fi gure 16.41. Annotati on has been added to expl ai n the ori gi n of the i ntermodul ati on
products. Si gnal generator 1 has a f undamental f requency of F
1
and si gnal generator
2 has a f undamental f requency of F
2
. Non-l i neari ty i n the devi ce under test wi l l cause
harmoni c di storti on products of f requency 2F
1
, 2F
2
, 3F
1
, 3F
2
, etc. to be generated.
Spectrum anal yser wi l l record these harmoni c di storti on products but the si g-
ni f i cance of the i ntermodul ati on test i s that the non-l i neari ty causes the harmoni c
products to mi x together to generate addi ti onal si gnal s. Numerous i ntermodul ati on
products can be generated but the two most commonl y encountered ones are known
as the thi rd-order and f i f th-order products.
Thi rd-order products have f requenci es of 2F
1
−F
2
and 2F
2
−F
1
Fi f th-order products have f requenci es of 3F
1
−2F
2
and 3F
2
−2F
1
382 Mi crowave measurements
F
1
F
2
2F
1
–F
2
2F
2
–F
1
3F
1
–2F
2
3F
2
–2F
1
Fi gure 16.41 I nter modul ati on di spl ay
0
3rd order
products
Fundamental
Intercept point
Output
level
(dBm)
Input level (dBm)
−70
−60
−50
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
+10
+20
+30
−70 −60 −50 −40 −30 −20 −10
Fi gure 16.42 I nter modul ati on i ntercept
Even order products such as F
1
+F
2
and F
2
– F
1
are al so seen but are l ess si gni f i cant
si nce the i ntermodul ati on products are wi del y separated f rom the two f requenci es
(F
1
and F
2
) and they can general l y be readi l y rej ected.
Hi gh-perf ormance spectrum anal ysers have an i ntermodul ati on di storti on of typ-
i cal l y −95 dBc or better wi th a si gnal l evel of −30 to −40 dBm at the i nput mi xer to
al l ow f or the measurement of l ow l evel s of di storti on.
16.4.8 I nter modul ati on i ntercept poi nt
The ampl i tudes of i ntermodul ati on products change accordi ng to the ampl i tudes of
the test si gnal s appl i ed; theref ore, i t i s necessary to speci f y the l evel of the test
si gnal s. I t can bedi ff i cul t to comparetheperf ormanceof di ff erent devi cesi f they were
measured at di ff erent l evel s. The sol uti on i s to use the concept of an i ntermodul ati on
i ntercept poi nt. An i ntercept poi nt i s the theoreti cal poi nt at whi ch the ampl i tudes of
the i ntermodul ati on products equal the ampl i tudes of the test si gnal s, the i l l ustrati on
shows the concept. There are two l i nes on the graph i n Fi gure 16.42.
Spectr um anal yser measurements and appl i cati ons 383
0
+20
+15
+10
+5
0
−5
−10
−20
−30
−40
+30
+20
+10
10 −10
−20
−30
−40
−50
−60
−70
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
Intercept point (dBm) Signal level (dBm) Intermodulation products dB down
2nd Order 3rd Order
+25
35
Fi gure 16.43 Nomogr aph to deter mi ne i ntercept
The f undamental l i ne shows a l i near rel ati onshi p between the i nput and output
si gnal s, the l i ne has been extrapol ated beyond the output l evel of +5 dBm si nce at
such l evel s the response becomes non-l i near. I nput and output si gnal l evel s have al so
been pl otted f or the thi rd-order products and the l i ne i s extrapol ated. The two l i nes
meet at the i ntermodul ati on i ntercept poi nt.
The sl ope of the i ntermodul ati on product l i nes i s equal to thei r order, that i s,
the second-order l i nes have a sl ope of 2:1, the thi rd-order l i nes have a sl ope of 3:1.
Practi cal l y, thi s means that i f the l evel of the test si gnal i s reduced by 10 dB then
the thi rd-order product wi l l theoreti cal l y drop by 30 dB, provi ded that the devi ce i s
operati ng i n a l i near mode.
16.4.9 Nomogr aph to deter mi ne i nter modul ati on products
usi ng i ntercept poi nt method
The nomograph i n Fi gure 16.43 gi ves a rapi d but not very accurate means of deter-
mi ni ng the i ntercept poi nt. A strai ght edge i s used to j oi n the two known val ues so
that the unknown can be determi ned.
16.4.10 Ampl i tude modul ati on
Fi gure16.44 showsan i deal i sed spectrum anal yser di spl ay of an ampl i tude-modul ated
si gnal . The carri er f requency i s F
c
; the f requency of the modul ati ng si gnal i s F
m
.
Three separate f requency components are seen
The carri er f requency F
c
Lower si de f requency F
c
−F
m
Upper si de f requency F
c
+F
m
The modul ati on depth i n per cent i s gi ven by the f ol l owi ng f ormul a:
Per cent modul ati on = 2 ×
si de f requency ampl i tude
carri er ampl i tude
×100 (measured on a l i near scal e)
384 Mi crowave measurements
Lower side
frequency F
c
–F
m
Carrier frequency
F
c
Upper side
frequency F
c
+ F
m
Fi gure 16.44 Ampl i tude modul ati on measurement
Theampl i tudeof thecarri er al waysremai nsconstant asthemodul ati on depth changes
but the si deband ampl i tudes wi l l change i n proporti on to the modul ati on depth.
The f requency separati on between the carri er and ei ther si deband changes as the
modul ati on f requency changes.
When the modul ati on depth i s 100 per cent hal f of the power i s i n the si debands
and each si deband f requency ampl i tude wi l l be 6 dB l ess than that of the carri er. For
l ower modul ati on depths, the si deband ampl i tude i s proporti onatel y l ess. To measure
modul ati on depth i t i s thus necessary to measure the ampl i tude di ff erence between
the carri er and the si debands.
16.4.11 AM spectr um wi th modul ati on di stor ti on
I n practi ce, there wi l l be harmoni cs of the modul ati on f requency al so present at
F
c
±nF
m
. Fi gure 16.45 shows di storti on produced at F
c
±2F
m
.
16.4.12 Frequency modul ati on
An FM spectrum theoreti cal l y