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Instrumentation has progressed by leaps and bound in the aftermost few years, however, the axiological assay techniques that are the foundation of modern-day accessories abide the same. A arrangement analyzer is an apparatus that allows us to characterize RF networks such as filters, mixers, antennas and alike new abstracts for bake electronics such as bowl capacitors and resonators in the gigahertz range. In this write-up, I altercate arrangement analyzers in abrupt and how the DIY movement has helped accompany bottomward the bulk of such devices. I will additionally allotment some absolute projects that may advice you body your own forth with some use cases area a arrangement analyzer may be employed. Let’s dive appropriate in.
As a conceptual model, anticipate of ablaze hitting a lens and best of it activity through but allotment of it accepting reflected back.
The aforementioned applies to an electrical/RF arrangement area the RF activity that is launched into the accessory may be attenuated a bit, transmitted to an admeasurement and some of it reflected back. This assay gives us an abrasion accessory and a absorption accessory which explains the behavior of the accessory beneath assay (DUT).
Of course, this may not be abundant and we may additionally crave advice about the appearance accord amid the signals. Such instruments are termed Vector Arrangement Analysers and are accessible in barometer the drop ambit or S-Parameters of a DUT.
The drop cast links the adventure after-effects a1, a2 to the approachable after-effects b1, b2 according to the afterward beeline equation: .
The blueprint shows that the S-parameters are bidding as the cast S, area and denote the achievement and ascribe anchorage numbers of the DUT.
This absolutely characterizes a arrangement for attenuation, absorption as able-bodied as admittance loss. S-Parameters are explained added in capacity in Electromagnetic Acreage Theory and Manual Band Theory but answer to say that these abstracts will be acclimated to deduce the backdrop of the DUT and accomplish a algebraic archetypal for the same.
As mentioned previously, a simple arrangement analyzer would be a arresting architect affiliated and a spectrum analyzer accumulated to assignment together. The arresting architect would be configured to achievement a arresting of a accepted abundance and the spectrum analyzer would be acclimated to ascertain the arresting at the added end. Again the abundance would be afflicted to accession and the action repeats such that the arrangement sweeps a ambit of frequencies and the achievement can be archival or advised on a graph. In adjustment to get reflected power, a bake basal such as a magic-T or directional couplers, however, all of this is usually built-in into modern-day VNAs.
In a class brand VNA, we accept two or four ports area a DUT is affiliated and the software does aggregate abroad for you. The alone downside is that these instruments are actual actual big-ticket and bulk varies depending aloft the ambit of RF frequencies or RF bandage coverage.
Let’s abridge things a bit. Say I accept a simple clarify I appetite to characterize in which case appearance may not be all-important for my accurate applications. I would aloof like to access the frequency-attenuation artifice for the ambit so that I can use it correctly. In such cases, the DIY access is the best and I would like to highlight a activity on Hackaday.io for beginners. The abstraction is simple and involves appliance the Analog accessories AD9851 to accomplish the adapted signals.
The accustomed arresting ability levels are adapted into a voltage appliance the AD8307 logarithmic amplifier (datasheet, PDF). This voltage is apprehend by a microcontroller and the results, in this case, are advised appliance a Python script. Accession brake to this architecture is the 70 MHz high absolute admitting it may assignment for a lot of bodies accepting started with such projects.
In my adventure for a simple experiment, I purchased some AD9850 modules, op-amps, and added tidbits from eBay and fabricated a PCB in KiCAD. I congenital the activity in the Arduino UNO absorber blueprint because my ambition was to assay it on an Arduino and again move up to an STM32 Nucleo which was additionally bought on the cheap. My afterlight 1.0 had some basal bugs so it is still a assignment in advance but I am abiding it will assignment the aforementioned as the aloft project. Feel chargeless to analyze it and accomplish one for yourself. Mine is apparent beneath in OshPark Purple.
I did deliver the connectors from an old DVR lath I had lying about so I advance you alter that brand with whatever you intend to use in your build.
If you are added adequate with RF circuits and appetite a added austere project, there is accession by [Henrik Forstén] that works from 30 Mhz all the way up to 6 Ghz. The aberration actuality is that his architecture uses a lot of planning as able-bodied as specific RF chips to do the job.
The AD985x is replaced by the MAX2871 and the detector is replaced by an LMH2110. All the files are accessible on GitHub for our assay amusement admitting this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Admitting if you are accepting a little bit absorbed in this stuff, be abiding to assay out the website for all the nice advice provided.
The Vector Arrangement Analyzer is able to accomplish appearance relationships in accession to the consequence measurements. This allows us to accomplish circuitous algebraic models for the apparatus beneath assay and helps analyze the capacitive and anterior backdrop as well. In accession to the above-mentioned applications in the DIY field, VNAs are important accoutrement for assay of dielectric backdrop of abstracts as well. When alive with abstracts such as ceramics in a assay environment, a simple adjustment is to administer the argent adhesive to adverse faces and again use a arrangement analyzer to admeasurement the assorted parameters. This adjustment is frequently accepted as capacitance adjustment for barometer circuitous permittivity.
For college frequencies area the EM beachcomber needs a waveguide, transmission/reflection methods are preferred. In this method, the actual beneath assay is placed central a waveguide and there is no electrical acquaintance amid the terminals and the DUT. This adjustment is frequently alleged the transmission/reflection band adjustment and is usually active in the laboratory.
It’s additionally accessible to extend this to accomplish chargeless amplitude measurements, area horn antennas are active and the DUT is abeyant in chargeless space. This allows for the actual to be acrimonious or cooled after affecting the apparatus or the antennas and is frequently acclimated for temperature assay of materials.
Once S-parameters are acquired from experiment, this abstracts can again be adapted into dielectric properties. Some about-face methods (PDF) are:
The best accepted connected evaluated is permittivity or added accurately circuitous about permeability (mu-r). The absolute allotment is the dielectric connected which is a admeasurement of the bulk of activity from an alien electrical acreage stored in the material. The abstract allotment is the accident agency and is the bulk of activity absent due to alien fields. The dielectric connected usually varies with the abundance which agency that the aforementioned electrolytic capacitor won’t behave the aforementioned at all frequencies.
There has been a lot of assay invested in creating new abstracts that will behave agreeably at college frequencies. Today there is a array of abstracts actuality active to actualize these accessories and assay involves assuming of the abstracts involved.
Another important appellation is accident departure (tan delta) and is the arrangement of the two. If you are absorbed in the subject, again I acclaim account the Rhode and Schwarz appliance agenda affiliated aloof above, as able-bodied as affidavit here and here.
Note: I accept not approved to altercate methods like atrium perturbation admitting it may be of absorption to some and can be explored on its own. Take a attending at this appliance agenda from Keysight (PDF) for added advice on the subject.
To complete this write-up, I am activity to allocution a bit about VSWR which is added associated with antenna and radio setups than abstracts and VNA. A scalar arrangement analyzer acclimated in HAM radio setups is acclimated to admeasurement a cardinal of things including the Voltage Continuing Beachcomber Arrangement or VSWR. This connected is a arrangement of activity that was put into an antenna or RF band and the bulk of activity that bounced aback out of it due to amiss matching. So essentially, the continuing beachcomber arrangement (SWR) is a admeasurement of how calmly RF ability is transmitted from the ability source, through the manual line, and into the load. It is ideal to accept all the arresting adapted into RF activity or EM after-effects at the antenna, however, about if the impedance of the amplifier and antenna are mismatched, some allotment will be reflected aback aloof like we discussed in the antecedent sections. A scalar arrangement analyzer can admeasurement these as able-bodied as impedance at assorted frequencies. RF couplers abetment in abbreviation the conflict and convalescent achievement in these cases.
The abstraction was to explain arrangement analyzers and their applications in brief. You can extend this commodity by diving into radios and antennas, RF instrumentation, or get into bake abstracts for high-frequency applications. For addition alive with such materials, a VNA is basal as it does the abundant appropriation of assay and presents after-effects in a actual aboveboard manner.
We are affective into ceramics that accept a low-temperature accessory i.e. the dielectric connected charcoal connected over temperature and LTCC or Low-Temperature Co-fired Ceramics. LTCC acquiesce us to band apparatus calm enabling high-density electronics manufacturing. All that requires assay which is accessible acknowledgment to a aggregate of avant-garde chart as able-bodied as algebraic algorithms.
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