Modern Architecture Advances Vector Network Analyzer Performance

Vector Network Analyzers (VNAs) are based on the use of either mixers or samplers. In traditional sampling VNAs, samplers are gated by pulses generated with a Step-Recovery Diode (SRD) circuit, with the Local Oscillator (LO) and RF source phase locked to a common frequency reference. An alternative architecture is a VNA based on Nonlinear Transmission Line (NLTL) samplers and distributed harmonic generators. NLTL-based samplers configured to provide scalable operation characteristics now offer a more beneficial alternative. Not only do they allow for a simplified VNA architecture, but they also enable VNAs that are much more cost effective than those employing fundamental mixing.

This paper provides an overview of the high-frequency technology deployed in Anritsu’s VNA families. It is shown that NLTL technology results in miniature VNA reflectometers that provide enhanced performance over broad frequency ranges, and reduced measurement complexity when compared with existing solutions. These capabilities, combined with the frequency-scalable nature of the reflectometers provide VNA users with a unique and compelling solution for their current and future high-frequency measurement needs.