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Signal analyzer covers frequencies up to 50GHz

Posted: 12 Apr 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:signal analyzer? millimeter-wave? low noise path?

Agilent Technologies Inc. claims its PXA signal analyzer is the industry's highest performance millimeter-wave signal analyzer, covering frequencies up to 50GHz. With external mixing, it can cover 325GHz and beyond. Agilent claims the result is easier, more accurate millimeter-wave measurements.

The PXA touts the industry's most accurate, sensitive and frequency-stable signal analysis. Its ability to measure small signals in the presence of very large signals and enables customers to develop the advanced radar, surveillance and wireless communications systems. Extending this performance to 325GHz and beyond allows customers to develop technology for advanced radio astronomy research and new imaging techniques used in the medical and air travel industries.

The hardware design of the PXA is aimed for outstanding sensitivity and wide dynamic range. To further enhance these inherent hardware capabilities, the PXA uses technologies like low noise path and Noise Floor Extension (NFE) to remove distortion noise and further widen dynamic range. This allows the PXA to measure the smallest of signals in the presence of very large signals, a task that has challenged test engineers and is critical to designing and testing leading-edge millimeter wave systems. As a result, the PXA allows customers to measure the most demanding devices and push their designs to unprecedented performance levels.

The lower noise offered in all measurement configurations, allows the PXA to achieve the same sensitivity as other analyzers at a resolution bandwidth that is 10 times greater, resulting in sweep times of 100 times faster or more. In many cases, this eliminates the need for the engineer to sacrifice test times for dynamic range. It also gives the engineer flexibility to trade off the PXA's performance gains to optimize an ideal combination of measurement speed, accuracy and measurement confidence level.

Using the low noise path, the PXA is able to realize a displayed average noise level (DANL) of -138dBm at 50GHz. In addition, utilizing NFE, the PXA is able to further improve DANL by approximately 6dBm.

These performance characteristics, and with the PXA's extended frequency range, wide analysis bandwidth of 140MHz, high-performance full-band preamplifier to 50GHz, industry-best close-in phase noise of -110 dBc/Hz at 10kHz offset, and third-order intercept of +13 dBm (nom) at 50GHz, make it usable for aerospace and defense engineers looking to extend operating frequency to millimeter wave. It can also be used by advanced research engineers operating in millimeter-wave frequencies in the commercial space.

The PXA's frequency coverage can be extended to 325GHz and beyond with external mixing. It supports Agilent's new M1970V/W waveguide harmonic mixers, which provide higher performance, up to 110GHz, and dramatically improve ease of use in millimeter-wave measurements. These smart mixers use a simple USB plug-and-play connection to automatically configure the PXA for the specific mixer connected, including downloading conversion loss data. They also automatically compensate for local oscillator path loss for different cable lengths.

Together, Agilent's PXA and smart mixers work to improve measurement performance and reliability, along with ease of use. The PXA also supports existing Agilent 11970 waveguide harmonic mixers (up to 110GHz) and third-party mixers (up to 325GHz and beyond).

The Agilent N9030A PXA signal analyzer is currently available worldwide. Base prices range from $51,900 for the 3.6GHz option to $91,000 for the 50GHz option. Agilent's M1790V and M1970W waveguide harmonic mixers are available for order now, at a starting price of $7,934.

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