Articles | Volume 9
29 Jul 2011
 | 29 Jul 2011

Verification of scattering parameter measurements in waveguides up to 325 GHz including highly-reflective devices

T. Schrader, K. Kuhlmann, R. Dickhoff, J. Dittmer, and M. Hiebel

Abstract. Radio-frequency (RF) scattering parameters (S-parameters) play an important role to characterise RF signal transmission and reflection of active and passive devices such as transmission lines, components, and small-signal amplifiers. Vector network analysers (VNAs) are employed as instrumentation for such measurements. During the last years, the upper frequency limit of this instrumentation has been extended up to several hundreds of GHz for waveguide measurements. Calibration and verification procedures are obligatory prior to the VNA measurement to achieve accurate results and/or to obtain traceability to the International System of Units (SI). Usually, verification is performed by measuring well-matched devices with known S-parameters such as attenuators or short precision waveguide sections (shims). In waveguides, especially above 110 GHz, such devices may not exist and/or are not traceably calibrated. In some cases, e.g. filter networks, the devices under test (DUT) are partly highly reflective. This paper describes the dependency of the S-parameters a) on the calibration procedure, b) on the applied torque to the flange screws during the mating process of the single waveguide elements. It describes further c) how highly-reflective devices (HRD) can be used to verify a calibrated VNA, and d) how a measured attenuation at several hundreds of GHz can be substituted by a well-known coaxial attenuation at 279 MHz, the intermediate frequency (IF) of the VNA, to verify the linearity. This work is a contribution towards traceability and to obtain knowledge about the measurement uncertainty of VNA instrumentation in the millimetre-wave range.