Network analyser “Metrology Option” advances precision S-Parameter measurements

October 18, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Agilent Technologies has introduced a metrology option for its PNA family of network analysers that offers national metrology institutes and calibration laboratories around the world the ultimate in S-parameter measurement accuracy.

Stability and measurement accuracy are key characteristics metrology laboratories look for in a network analyser, Agilent says; shortcomings can arise by failing to characterise the thermal stability of an instrument. With no specific data on stability, laboratories are unable to determine its impact on subsequent measurements.

Agilent’s metrology option employs a technique for accurately characterising the thermal stability of its network analysers, independent of effects from cables and adapters. The technique provides 48 hours of stabilisation data that accurately characterises instrument drift, stored on the analyser’s hard drive. This data can be used to calculate measurement uncertainty.

In addition, the metrology option has optimised the raw performance of the PNA family to address the specific measurement needs of metrology laboratories. For example, all front-panel loops were removed to improve stability. The PNA’s raw source match and load match were also optimised. New levels of receiver linearity were realised by specialised hardware techniques based on Agilent’s in-house semiconductor processes.

Agilent’s PNA family of network analysers includes the PNA-L, PNA and PNA-X Series, covering frequencies from 300 kHz to 1.05 THz. The PNA-L is designed for general-purpose network analysis; the PNA is the highest-performing vector network analyser; and the PNA-X provides complete linear and nonlinear component characterisation in a single instrument with a single connection. The metrology option is now available on both two-port and four-port versions of all PNA frequency models up to 67 GHz. It does not support the configurable test set, attenuator or bias tee hardware options.