NIST CTL’s High-Speed Waveform Metrology Group develops fundamental performance measurements for the high-speed devices and components at the heart of modern communications equipment.
The High-Speed Waveform Metrology Group's work applies to a wide variety of communications and computing technologies and is of particular importance to CTL’s Next-Generation 5G Wireless and Fundamental Metrology for Communications program areas. To facilitate these programs we develop standards and metrology for the ultrafast circuits needed for the communications and computer networks of the future. Our group includes two primary projects: High-Frequency Electronics and Waveform Metrology.
This project is dedicated to improving the 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 a new high-frequency spectrum to the wireless industry. In addition to the High-Frequency Electronics Project, there are two exciting activities within this program sponsored by the NIST Innovations in Measurement Science awards: Josephson Arbitrary Waveform Synthesizer (JAWS) and the DC to 1 THz Large-Amplitude Optoelectronic Multitone Electrical-Signal Synthesizer.
The NIST Microwave Uncertainty Framework is a software tool developed to calculate uncertainty using conventional error-propagation analysis and Monte Carlo analysis. Active development of this framework includes the propagation of correlated uncertainties (which are required for traceable modulated signal measurements and many communication metrics), extending uncertainty propagation to nonlinear processes and system-level applications, and facilitating complex correlated uncertainty analyses required by the traceability chains of modern communications systems. Furthermore, we are using this framework to establish traceability for mmWave channel measurements, critical to the development of 5G technologies.
This project has historically developed optoelectronic and statistical signal analysis techniques to characterize high-speed instrumentation used by the fiber optics, digital IC, and wireless industries as well as the Department of Defense (DoD) Primary Standards Laboratories and DoD contractors. Four NIST innovations lie at the core of the project’s work: calibration of impedance mismatch and loss effects in signal measurements; traceable electro-optic sampling (EOS) 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.
NIST was the first NMI to develop phase calibration capability through EOS and to map this calibration into waveform measurements and waveform measurement uncertainty. The Waveform Metrology Project maintains several calibration services that are used to provide traceability for commercial instrumentation, such as large-signal network analyzers, lightwave component analyzers, vector signal analyzers, oscilloscopes, pulsed laser radiometers, and optical time-domain radiometers. NMIs in South Korea, China, Germany, and the U.K. are actively working on developing similar waveform measurement services.