New R&S ZNA high-end vector network analyzer combines outstanding RF performance with a unique operating concept

R&S ZNAThe new vector network analyzer can master the most challenging measurement tasks Component and module characterization in the aerospace and defense sector puts strict requirements on the performance, stability, reproducibility, and versatility of the vector network analyzer test platform to be used. Rohde & Schwarz has developed the R&S ZNA vector network analyzer exactly for these issues. It comes with a unique hardware architecture of up to four internal coherent signal sources, eight truly parallel measurement receivers, and two internal receiver local oscillators (LO).

The R&S ZNA provides the flexibility required to handle the testing challenges of today and tomorrow for active and passive devices (see Figure 2). The excellent trace noise of <0.001 dB (1 kHz IFBW) is the basis for accurate and highly reproducible measurements on active and passive devices.

Also unique at the market is the DUT-centric and innovative operation concept, with full touch support, shortens test setup times by providing measurement wizards for various components.

The R&S ZNA is currently available as a 26.5 GHz and a 43.5 GHz model with two or four test ports.

Mixer and amplifier characterization easier than ever before

A full mixer characterization requires time for setting up traces and channels with different parameters in order to measure conversion loss in amplitude, phase, isolation, and matching. The new device under test (DUT) centric operation concept of the R&S ZNA takes this burden away from the operator. After selecting the type of DUT (e.g. mixer or amplifier) and defining some basic parameters like frequency range and power levels the user can directly select the parameters he would like to measure, while the network analyzer configures the setup (see figure 3). The measurement can therefore be set up quickly without in depth knowledge of the instrument´s optimum settings, saving time and increasing the reproducibility.

Due to the phase-coherent synthesizers even phase and group delay measurements can be performed without additional reference mixers. The second internal LO allows to measure the RF and the IF signal at the same time, resulting in twice the measurement speed than before and highly accurate results. 

Up to 100 dB of electronic power sweep range makes the compression point analysis of amplifiers a comfortable task, without suffering from switching effects of step attenuators. The spectrum analysis functionality enables the search for spurious signals, and the internal pulse modulators allow a point-in-pulse and up to 50 times faster pulse profile test of the DUT than before, often required in A&D and wireless applications.

Reliable measurements on frequency converters without LO access

Frequency converters without LO access like the ones used in satellite industry are difficult to measure due to their frequency drift. The unique and patented Rohde & Schwarz two-tone approach allows the R&S ZNA to measure the group delay and the relative phase even on frequency drifting converters. The measurement of both tones is performed simultaneously thanks to the instrument´s hardware concept. Possible drift effects of the DUT apply to both tones and are therefore cancelled out in the measurement results. In addition, the R&S ZNA is able to perform an LO search sweep in order to handle drifts exceeding the instrument’s IF bandwidth, and the use of the second internal LO in the network analyzer doubles the measurement speed.

Highest dynamic range for filter measurements

High-blocking filters used in aerospace and defense applications or in base stations put strong requirements on the dynamic range performance of the measuring equipment. A high dynamic range is not only essential for measuring very low signal levels, but also to be able to use a wider IF bandwidth for a required dynamic range. Consequently, the measurement can be done faster and filter tuning becomes easier.

The reverse coupler mode in the R&S ZNA achieves a maximum dynamic range of typically up to 170 dB (see Figure 4). In order not to saturate the instrument´s measurement receivers in the pass band of the filter, a segmented sweep with different measurement parameters for stop and pass band is used.

Extending the frequency range

Many applications in mobile communication like 5G, on-wafer component testing, imaging, or fundamental research use frequencies in the mmWave and terahertz range, e.g. 77/79 GHz or 120 GHz for automotive. With a range for frequency converters, the R&S ZNA can be extended in frequency. High output power and dynamic range are the key parameters of the Rohde & Schwarz frequency converters, essential for the on-wafer device or antenna characterization. Using direct IF inputs of the R&S ZNA for these measurements increases the dynamic range by around 7dB, bypassing the input mixer stage of the VNA. Up to four converters can be used with the R&S ZNA for the characterization of differential, multiport and frequency converting devices.

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