Frequency Versus Time We think of frequency sources such as RF and microwave signal generators as well controlled sources of frequency. It is easy to verify signal source performance using standard test equipment such as spectrum analyzers, frequency counters, or signal source analyzers. These instruments are fine so long as the signal source is relatively stable at a fixed frequency. But what if you need to analyze what happens as the frequency source slews from one frequency to another such as in the case of a sweep generator, frequency synthesizer or simple VCO? You won't have much luck using conventional instrumentation to measure these. What is needed is an instrument that can measure frequency versus time.
Phase Noise Testing
Quick phase noise tests can be made with a spectrum analyzer, and many spectrum analyzers have built-in phase noise measurement capability. But often times the phase noise requirement of the signal source under test exceeds the performance of the particular spectrum analyzer that might be available in your lab.
Phase noise testing is likely to be a performance test that only needs to be done occasionally, during development for example, and is not necessary on a routine unit-to-unit basis. It doesn't make sense to have a $70k+ test instrument sitting around idly in your lab.
Since phase noise analysis is a vital part of what we have to do in developing our signal source products, we have invested in the equipment to do the job. We routinely use test and optimize our products using our Berkeley Nucleonics 20GHz signal source analyzer.
We can make phase noise measurements on your product too and provide you with tabular data, PN offset frequency plots, and jitter analysis. We can also help you improve your system by offering suggestions and showing you how to improve your product’s phase noise and stability.
Contact us for a discussion on how we can help and provide you with an estimate.