NIST CTL’s Radio Frequency (RF) Technology Division develops theory, metrology and standards for the technologies that drive the future of wireless communications. Our work spans on-chip measurements of the transistors that generate wireless signals, the testing of free-field signals and the antennas that send and receive them, and the characterization of the integrated circuits that receive and process signals. We tackle fundamental radio frequency (RF) measurement problems applicable to a wide array of industry and government players and contribute to three of CTL’s major programs: Spectrum Sharing, Next-Generation 5G Wireless, and Fundamental Metrology for Communications.
The second challenge is that wireless systems of all sorts must operate in increasingly crowded, complex RF environments. In part, this is a function of inexorable wireless demand growth. But there are also concerted efforts – in particular with spectrum sharing – to squeeze more users into the same spectrum bands.
For decades, we have been developing new theories, new algorithms, new software, and new hardware to advance the metrological state-of-the-art for the U.S. wireless industry. We continue to invent new ways to accomplish this mission, including the world’s first robotic-arm antenna testing system, our electro-optic sampling system for on-chip metrology, our quantum field probe for antenna testing, and the new NIST Broadband Interoperability Test Bed (NBIT), among others. As our longstanding collaborations with the wireless industry identify new focus areas for our unique capabilities, this list will continue to grow.