Microwave Journal

R&S and Noisecom Demonstrate 60 GHz Noise Figure Measurement System

June 15, 2009

Rohde & Schwarz and Noisecom have jointly set up a test solution for making Y-factor noise figure measurements in the 60 GHz frequency range. The system, which is much less complex than traditional noise figure measurement systems and does not require downconversion using harmonic mixers, was demonstrated at the Rohde & Schwarz booth (2407) at the International Microwave Symposium.

The 60 GHz region of the millimeter-wave spectrum is increasing in importance because of emerging applications such as WirelessHD. Utilizing the available 7 GHz ISM band in this frequency range, WirelessHD allows simultaneous transmission of several uncompressed HD video, audio, and data signals at up to 25 Gb/s and is designed to allow consumers to wirelessly share full HD signals among various entertainment devices in the home. Other applications in the 60 GHz region include satellite-to-satellite links for secure communications.

The test system being demonstrated is based on the Rohde & Schwarz R&S FSU67 spectrum analyzer, which is the only such instrument which provides continuous coverage from 20 Hz to 67 GHz, along with the R&S FS-K30 noise figure option. They are complemented by Noisecom’s 60 GHz Noise Figure Test Set to form a complete Y-factor noise figure measurement system. It requires no additional hardware such as harmonic mixers to cover the measurement frequency range, thanks to the broadband coverage of the R&S FSU67 and Noisecom test set that includes a noise source covering 50 to 75 GHz, isolators, optional waveguide transitions, and a preamplifier. The noise source is calibrated at 1 GHz steps to ensure accuracy over the entire frequency range.

The measurement process is simple, since the Noisecom test set is controlled by firmware in the R&S FSU67 and powered by the instrument as well. The R&S FS-K30 noise figure software allows all measurement results to be obtained with a single push of a button. The system will be demonstrated at IMS 2009 measuring a Silicon Germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS 60 GHz superheterodyne receiver IC that operates from 57 to 64 GHz and has an onboard image-reject filter, 9 GHz IF filter, frequency synthesizer, low-noise preamplifier, and programmable IF gain blocks. It has a generic I/Q interface that accommodates all likely modulation types, as well as internal AM and FM demodulators.