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Improving confidence in parameters for emerging high frequency communications and electronic technologies
Future transformative technologies such as connected and autonomous vehicles are likely to depend on 5G networks, cellular Internet of Things and other digital devices operating at very high frequencies. Development is hampered, however, by a lack of traceability to the International System of Units (SI) for some key electrical parameters.
EMPIR project Traceability of electrical measurements at millimetre-wave and terahertz frequencies for communications and electronics technologies (18SIB09, TEMMT) is working to establish traceability to the SI for measuring S-parameters, which quantify loss and phase change for transmitted and reflected signals. The project is also working to establish traceability for power and complex permittivity of dielectric materials, up to terahertz frequencies. Traceability and verification techniques are being developed, contributions made to international standards bodies, and developments promoted to NMIs. This will facilitate coordinated measurement capabilities. Exploiting this part of the spectrum will result in improved product quality and end-user confidence in the communications and electronics industries, and competitive advantage for European Industry.
New measurement services
New measurement systems are now in place at the National Metrology Institutes of LNE, NPL and PTB to enable both dimensional and electrical measurements to be made of coaxial components in the 1.35 mm line size. These measurement systems will allow for manufactures using or wishing to develop new capabilities or products in the new 1.35 mm precision coaxial line size up to 90 GHz to be able to access traceability through measurement service activities and consultancy provided by the partner institutes. It is hoped that early access to such traceability will greatly aid in the uptake of this new standard.
The dimensional measurement capabilities enable the diameters of the centre and outer conductors of reference air lines to be measured and hence the characteristic impedance, as well as other properties, of these lines can be determined. The electrical measurement capabilities provide S-parameter measurement traceability for one- and two-port devices fitted with 1.35 mm coaxial connectors. PTB established traceability in 2020 and since then has already calibrated several calibration kits from industrial customers.
The measurement systems of LNE, NPL, and PTB are currently being assessed using the measurement comparison exercises that are scheduled as part of this project. Following successful completion of these measurement comparison exercises, LNE and NPL will also add these capabilities as Calibration and Measurement Capability (CMC) entries in the BIPM key comparison database (KCDB) to provide metrological traceability for this new coaxial line size.
These new measurement systems will enable manufacturers using, or wishing to develop, new capabilities or products in the new 1.35 mm precision coaxial line size up to 90 GHz to access traceability through measurement service activities and consultancy provided by the partner institutes. It is expected that early access to such traceability will greatly aid in the further exploitation of this frequency range.
Project Coordinator Xiaobang Shang from NPL said
‘These new measurement capabilities around Europe will provide manufacturers with greater confidence when working with or producing new components in this new and emerging coaxial line size.’
This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.
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