NIST antenna calibrations extended to 60-110 GHz

May 25, 2007

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a new "tabletop" sized facility to improve characterization of antennas operating in the 60 to 110 gigahertz (GHz) frequency range. This extended frequency capability serves needs for advanced civilian and military communication and radar systems.

Many electronic systems are moving to higher frequencies to attain higher channel capacity, better spatial resolution and other advantages. The new measurement facility will help accelerate development of technologies such as automobile collision-prevention radars, which operate at 94 GHz and require antennas small enough to be integrated into car bumpers. Improved NIST antenna calibration capability also helps to assure the accuracy of many systems. "NIST is the start of the measurement traceability chain," says Perry Wilson, leader of the Radio Frequency Fields Group. "For instance, we calibrate the probes used by aerospace companies to calibrate instruments launched on satellites and other critical systems. Weather satellites are an example; improvements in antenna accuracy mean better data for weather models, resulting in better weather predictions."

The new facility continues NIST's history of innovation in antenna measurements, building on the "extrapolated gain" technique developed several decades ago. The original extrapolation range and techniques made it practical for researchers to accurately compute an antenna's far-field characteristics based on near-field measurements. By making the range compact, costs are significantly reduced. In addition, the extrapolation technique uses over-sampling and averaging techniques to minimize the effects of scattering and range imperfections.

The tabletop extrapolation range is used to measure the gain (increase in signal power) and polarization (orientation of the electric field) of high-performance antennas. To make measurements, one antenna is fixed on the table and a second is moved along a rail. A laser tracker is used for alignment and positioning. The laser tracker is capable of following a moving target with less than 20 micrometer uncertainty at 1,000 points per second. The range is arranged on an optical table to provide the mechanical isolation and stability necessary to achieve low uncertainties at short wavelengths of radiation. Typical measurement uncertainty for certain types of antennas in the 60 – 110 GHz range approaches that of NIST's existing calibration facilities for antennas operating at lower frequencies (less that 60 GHz).

Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Explore further: Chinese scientists unveil liquid phase 3-D printing method using low melting metal alloy ink

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High-tech measurements for high-frequency antennas

Nov 18, 2013

A team of researchers at PML's Antenna Metrology Lab in Boulder, CO has devised a first-of-its-kind system – combining a precision 3-meter industrial robot arm with a metrology-grade laser tracker and other ...

New high standards for emergency wireless devices

Jul 30, 2012

First responders rely increasingly on wireless communication devices, and in emergencies they cannot afford major signal loss or delay caused by attenuation, interference, or reflection. Because lives are ...

Toward a global microwave standard

Feb 06, 2012

Much of what is known about decadal climate change – and much of what appears on the evening weather forecast as well – comes from satellite-based remote sensing of microwave radiation at different ...

Recommended for you

Minimally invasive surgery with hydraulic assistance

29 minutes ago

Endoscopic surgery requires great manual dexterity on the part of the operating surgeon. Future endoscopic instruments equipped with a hydraulic control system will provide added support during minimally ...

Analyzing gold and steel – rapidly and precisely

2 hours ago

Optical emission spectrometers are widely used in the steel industry but the instruments currently employed are relatively large and bulky. A novel sensor makes it possible to significantly reduce their size ...

More efficient transformer materials

2 hours ago

Almost every electronic device contains a transformer. An important material used in their construction is electrical steel. Researchers have found a way to improve the performance of electrical steel and ...

Sensor network tracks down illegal bomb-making

2 hours ago

Terrorists can manufacture bombs with relative ease, few aids and easily accessible materials such as synthetic fertilizer. Not always do security forces succeed in preventing the attacks and tracking down ...

Miniature camera may reduce accidents

2 hours ago

Measuring only a few cubic millimeters, a new type of camera module might soon be integrated into future driver assistance systems to help car drivers facing critical situations. The little gadget can be ...

User comments : 0