Hardware design of a high dynamic range radio frequency (Rf) harmonic measurement system

Ram M. Narayanan, Kyle A. Gallagher, Gregory J. Mazzaro, Anthony F. Martone, Kelly D. Sherbondy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Radio frequency (RF) circuit elements that are traditionally considered to be linear frequently exhibit nonlinear properties that affect the intended operation of many other RF systems. Devices such as RF connectors, antennas, attenuators, resistors, and dissimilar metal junctions generate nonlinear distortion that degrades primary RF system performance. The communications industry is greatly affected by these unintended and unexpected nonlinear distortions. The high transmit power and tight channel spacing of the communication channel makes communications very susceptible to nonlinear distortion. To minimize nonlinear distortion in RF systems, specialized circuits are required to measure the low level nonlinear distortions created from traditionally linear devices, i.e., connectors, cables, antennas, etc. Measuring the low-level nonlinear distortion is a difficult problem. The measurement system requires the use of high power probe signals and the capability to measure very weak nonlinear distortions. Measuring the weak nonlinear distortion becomes increasingly difficult in the presence of higher power probe signals, as the high power probe signal generates distortion products in the measurement system. This paper describes a circuit design architecture that achieves 175 dB of dynamic range which can be used to measure low level harmonic distortion from various passive RF circuit elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation


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