RF waveform synthesizers with quantum-based voltage accuracy for communications metrology

Published: February 11, 2019


Peter F. Hopkins, Justus A. Brevik, Manuel C. Castellanos Beltran, Nathan E. Flowers-Jacobs, Anna E. Fox, David I. Olaya, Christine A. Donnelly, Paul D. Dresselhaus, Samuel P. Benz


We report on NIST’s development of Josephson junction-based programmable reference sources to synthesize quantum-accurate, spectrally-pure waveforms for characterizing and improving next generation communication devices and systems. The goal is to provide reference sources that together span the entire radio frequency (RF) band, equivalent to 7 orders of magnitude in frequency (20 kHz - 300 GHz). To synthesize waveforms in the microwave frequency band, we are extending the existing Josephson arbitrary waveform synthesizer (JAWS) technology that is used for ac voltage metrology at audio frequencies (<20 kHz). Using new microwave circuits and experimental techniques developed at NIST, we demonstrate JAWSbased synthesis of single and multi-tone waveforms at 1 GHz, with output power of -49dBm and spur-free dynamic range (SFDR) of 79 dBc. To synthesize waveforms in the millimeterwave frequency band, we are exploiting single-flux-quantum (SFQ) superconducting digital technology to design circuits that amplify SFQ pulses using a network of pulse splitters. Our initial SFQ-based circuit is used to synthesize a 4 GHz sine wave with output power of -74dBm and an SFDR of 70 dBc.
Citation: IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Volume: 29
Issue: 5
Pub Type: Journals


millimeter-wave, RF, waveform synthesis, superconducting electronics, Josephson junction, single flux quantum, reference source
Created February 11, 2019, Updated July 18, 2019