While our work applies to a wide variety of communications and computing technologies, it’s of particular importance to CTL’s Next-Generation 5G Wireless and Spectrum Sharing programs, for which we’re helping to develop standards and metrology for the ultrafast circuits needed for the wireless networks of the future. Our group includes two projects. The High-Speed Electronics Project develops ways to characterize high-speed transistors at the heart of wireless systems. The Waveform Metrology Project determines the quality of the waveforms generated by ultrafast and high-power transistors at the heart of advanced communications systems.
NIST CTL’s High-Speed Electronics Project is dedicated to improving on-chip measurement of very-high-speed transistors (into the hundreds of gigahertz) as well as characterizing the nonlinear behavior of high-power, lower-frequency (microwave to millimeter-wave) transistors. Combinations of these transistors will be indispensable to next-generation wireless systems and open up new high-frequency spectrum to the wireless industry.
Using electro-optic sampling and other techniques, we address transistor and other nonlinear device measurements, uncertainty propagation for communication signals and complex metrics, traceability for fundamental parameters and the development of direct calibrations on integrated circuits. The project also developed, maintains and is expanding its NIST Microwave Uncertainty Framework software for calculating uncertainties and calibrating wireless systems.
Waveform Metrology Project
The Waveform Metrology Project focuses on improving the characterization of high-speed waveforms to establish and solidify the foundations of future high-speed wireless communications.
Through various measurement services, we develop optoelectronic and statistical signal analysis techniques to provide traceability for high-speed test instrumentation and, by extension, high-speed wireless systems. In this work, we apply techniques NIST pioneered and has applied not only to wireless hardware, but also to fiber optics and integrated circuits. These techniques include calibration of impedance mismatch and loss effects in signal measurements; traceable electro-optic sampling for frequency-response calibration; the calibration of timing errors, response errors and impedance effects in sampling oscilloscopes; and uncertainty analysis that transforms waveform uncertainties between the time and frequency domains. We are now applying this experience to determining the uncertainty in various free-field measurements for CTL’s Next-Generation 5G Wireless program and, for CTL’s Spectrum Sharing program, to coexistence measurements.