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Vector network analyzer handles up to 70GHz

Posted: 14 Jan 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:vector network analyzer? VNA? RF device?


Anritsu Co. has introduced the VectorStar MS4640A premium series of microwave vector network analyzers (VNAs). The MS4640A delivers frequency coverage of 70kHz to 70GHz, dynamic range of 103dB at 67GHz, and measurement speed of 20?s/point to establish a new performance benchmark for S-parameter measurements on RF, microwave, and millimeter wave devices.

The VectorStar MS4640A family offers three standard frequency ranges that go to 20GHz, 40GHz, and 70GHz. This high-performance 2-port engine is designed to add future capabilities, and is compatible with existing 4-port and broadband mmW systems for 70kHz to 110GHz measurements, or waveguide banded measurements up to 500GHz. VectorStar brings unprecedented performance to traditional VNA markets, including aerospace/defense, satellite, commercial microwave communications, materials measurement and advanced research.

For true broadband applications such as device modeling, the 70kHz low-end provides seven octaves of additional information below the traditional 10MHz cut-off of conventional microwave VNAs. This improves the error-prone task of dc-approximation, providing better device models and circuit simulation. The result is designs that work as predicted the first time, eliminating long and costly fabrication cycles. The low-end frequency also improves stability as it eliminates coupler roll-off below 1GHz, a necessary evil of competitive VNAs.

VectorStar's 100dB dynamic range at 70GHz creates accuracy and supplementing the wide dynamic range is the MS4640A's receiver compression level. The VNA's receiver has a +10dBm 0.1dB compression level at 70GHz. With the new Precision AutoCal for 70kHz to 40GHz or 70GHz calibrations, residual directivity of 42dB can be achieved at 70GHz, and up to 50dB at 20GHz. This type of unmatched performance allows devices to be more tightly specified with greater confidence.

The analyzer's 20?s/point real measurement speed without any restrictions, such as un-synthesized, unleveled, no display, or CW frequency conditions typically found in traditional VNAs, allows the MS4640A to acquire the data necessary for the best device characterizations over multiple physical and environmental conditions, drive levels, or frequency ranges.

Innovative platform
VectorStar MS4640A achieves outstanding performance because it features a completely new VNA platform that uses an innovative architecture. For applications from 70kHz to 2.5GHz, a mixer-based receiver with bridges for directional devices is used. Above 2.5GHz, a harmonic-sampling receiver is incorporated, with the traditional couplers for directional devices. Since the couplers are not taxed by extending to low frequencies, raw directivity is not traded for frequency coverage, resulting in superior stability.

Non-linear transmission line technology, also known as Shockline technology, is used for the receiver, resulting in uncompromising performance to 70GHz and beyond. This monolithic sampling technology, along with the usage of a higher LO frequency, provides extraordinary conversion flatness, isolation, and dynamic range.

The digital and mainframe architectures behind VectorStar take advantage of the latest off-the-shelf technology. This strategy allows the platform to remain current, and helps it handle the fast-changing pace of digital standards and operating systems.

The MS4640A is built on a Windows XP Pro OS, and offers a 26cm touch-screen LCD display with USB 2.0, Ethernet, and GPIB connectivity. The VNA has enough memory and graphics capability to offer 16 independent channels, with 16 traces each, 13 makers per trace, and up to 25,000 points per channel. For applications such as time domain that require as many points as possible, 100,000 points are available when VectorStar operates in single-channel mode.

In addition, the new 70kHz to 70GHz Precision AutoCal exceeds the performance of previously available e-calibrators. This type of performance has been achieved because the new AutoCal is designed with advanced software algorithms and new switching hardware, and references an LRL calibration up to 70GHz. Anritsu's 70GHz switching technology provides the lowest parasitics to produce the lowest losses and best matches to create the most accurate corrected residuals.

Pricing for the VectorStar starts at $80,950 for the base 20GHz VNA. Delivery at introduction is set at 12 weeks, but is expected to quickly reach four to six weeks.

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