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NON-LINEAR NETWORK ANALYSIS FACILITY ESTABLISHED.

NIST researchers have established a new non-linear network analysis facility for the study of radio-frequency and microwave networks used in commercial wireless communication systems. With the commercialization of digital wireless communication methods, research and design engineers are pushing if power amplifiers into non-linear operating modes in order to reduce power consumption. The non-linear responses cannot be adequately characterized with existing measurement tools, nor can the circuits be adequately simulated due to a lack of accurate circuit models and simulation tools. The new NIST facility is dedicated to the new metrology issues facing instrument manufacturers, along with the link to new measurement-based behavioral models. Improvements in these two areas will dramatically reduce radio-link design cycles and costs.

The core instrument in the new facility is a Non-Linear Network Measurement System (NNMS). NIST has one of the seven NNMS instruments located around world and the only one located in an open research environment in the Americas. The NNMS supplies large-signal stimulus signals and measures the input and output waveforms at the boundary of a device under test (up to 50 GHz). Unlike traditional linear network analysis where the, goal is to determine an output-over-input ratio at given frequency (that is, a scattering parameter), non-linear network analysis tries to deter me how a circuit will transform a signal rich in harmonic content. To do so, the NNMS measures periodic waveforms, separating incident and returned signals. The resulting data set is large in comparison to linear network parameters, particularly when the input is similar to a digitally modulated carrier. These data sets are being used to build new models and/or verify the non-linear circuit behavior predicted by existing models.

With the new facilities, researchers at NIST now are investigating the metrology issues in this new field, and they are cooperating with industrial and academic partners in developing new methodologies for measurement intercomparisons and measurement-based behavioral modeling. The industry is just beginning to understand the complexity of non-linear network analysis, and much work remains in developing generalized and standardized languages and understanding.
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Publication:Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Words:338
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