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Probe, calibrate for accurate BBIQ measurements

Posted: 30 Jun 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:base band I/Q  signal-analysis measurements  probing techniques 

Designing and testing communications systems with analogue base band I/Q (BBIQ) circuits can be a challenge for RF engineers. The goal is to make traditional signal-analysis measurements in the spectral and time domains, along with digital-modulation analysis. However, compared to IF and RF, BBIQ presents unique connection challenges and an additional set of error mechanisms. Connection challenges include the need to handle differential signals, often without the connectors needed for cabled measurements. Probing provides a solution, but this requires high impedance and low capacitance to avoid loading the circuit and introducing errors. In addition, the geometries on the circuit are often small. A variety of probing techniques can meet these challenges, but accurate measurements using probes require individualised probe calibration and compensation. This article will explain the basics of BBIQ measurements and review probing approaches for different applications, along with the associated errors and calibration techniques.

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