Pico Technology Introduces New USB-Controlled VNA from DC to 8.5 GHz

Pico Technology, a provider of innovative, cost-effective alternatives to traditional test equipment and data acquisition products, has recently introduced a new PC Controlled Vector Network Analyzer that operates from 300 kHz to 8.5 GHz. The PicoVNA 108 is a professional USB-controlled, laboratory-grade VNA that provides excellent performance, portability, and value for money. Despite its simple outline, small footprint and low cost, the instrument boast a four-receiver architecture to minimize the uncorrectable errors, delays, and unreliability of internal transfer switches.

The PicoVNA 108 delivers an exceptional dynamic range of 124 dB at 10 Hz (118 dB for the PicoVNA 106) and less than 0.006 dB RMS trace noise at its maximum operating bandwidth of 140 kHz. The instruments can also gather all four S-parameters at each frequency point in just 182 μs (PicoVNA 106) or 189 μs (PicoVNA 108) or S11 + S21 in less than 100 μs. In other words, a 201 point 2-port .s2p Touchstone file in less than 38 ms or up to two .s1p files in less than 20 ms. Its low price makes it as cost-effective as deep dynamic range scalar network analyzers or single-port vector reflectometers as well as full-function dual-port, dual-path vector network analyzers. It is priced well for classrooms, small businesses and even in amateur workshops, yet is capable of meeting the needs of all users up to the laboratory or production test technician or the metrology expert.

Pico Technologies offer two VNA Models - PicoVNA 106 (DC to 6 GHz) and PicoVNA 108 (DC to 8.5 GHz). The PicoVNAs' small size, light-weight, and low cost suit them to field service, installation test, OEM embedded, and classroom applications. With their remote automation capability, they are also attractive in applications such as:

  • Test automation, including multiple VNA control and measurement
  • Manufacturers needing to integrate a reflectometry or transmission measurement core
  • Inspection, test, characterization and calibration in the manufacture, distribution and service center industries:
    • Electronics component, assembly and systems, and interface/interconnect ATE (cable, PCB and wireless)
    • Material, geological, life-science and food sciences; tissue imaging; penetrating scan and radar
  • Broadband cable and harness test and matching at manufacture and installation, and fault-over-life monitoring
  • Antenna matching and tuning

Software development kits, including code examples in MATLAB and MATLAB RF toolbox, LabVIEW, C, C# and Python, are all available for download from Pico Technology’s GitHub pages.

Key Features & Specifications of the PicoVNA's
  • 300 kHz to 6 or 8.5 GHz operation
  • High speed of up to 5500 dual-port S-parameters per second
  • Over 10000 S11 + S21 per second
  • Quad RX four-receiver architecture for optimal accuracy
  • Up to 124 dB dynamic range at 10 Hz bandwidth
  • 0.005 dB RMS trace noise at maximum bandwidth of 140 kHz
  • Half-rack, small-footprint, lightweight package 
  • PC-controlled over USB from a Microsoft Windows interface
  • Reference plane offsetting and de-embedding
  • Time-domain and port impedance transformations
  • Tabular and graphic print and save formats, including Touchstone
  • Save on trigger for high-speed device profiling (PicoVNA 108)
  • Dual-frequency mixer measurements with VSWR correction (PicoVNA 108)
  • P1dB, AM to PM, and standalone signal generator utilities
  • Guided 8- and 12-term and absolute power calibration processes
  • 6 calibration modes, including unknown through and connected DUT isolation
  • Calibration and check standards with data for confident measurements

Click here for more information on the PicoVNA.