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Agilent Improves Noise-Figure Measurements

Agilent Technologies has developed an improved approach to noise-figure measurements. By applying the new source-corrected noise-figure (NF) measurement capability of the Agilent PNA-X vector network analyzers (VNAs), the benefits of vector error correction enjoyed for years by those making S-parameter measurements can also be shared by those making noise- figure measurements. The technique combines the VNA with the company's ECal electronic calibration module as an impedance tuner, allowing the analyzer to make vector-error-corrected noise-figure measurements based on the highly accurate cold-source technique. The ECal module helps the analyzer find the optimum source impedance for noise measurements on a device under test, such as a low-noise amplifier (LNA), at frequencies from 10 MHz to 26.5 GHz. It also enables measurements with a single connection, saving measuring time and wear on test connectors. The error-corrected approach features fast measurement time of 42 ms/point and surpasses the accuracy provided by Y-factor-based NF analyzers or spectrum analyzers used for NF measurements. The PNA-X can also be specified with an integrated second source, signal combining network, and internal pulse generators for a variety of measurements on amplifiers and frequency-translation devices.

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