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Agilent Technologies Introduces Breakthrough Technology to Analyze Nonlinear Behaviors of Active Components

Jun 03, 2008

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced nonlinear vector network analyzer (NVNA) capability for its PNA-X microwave network analyzer, establishing a new industry standard in RF nonlinear network analysis from 10 MHz to 26.5 GHz.

Requiring minimal external hardware, the Agilent NVNA software effectively converts a 4-port PNA-X into a high-performance nonlinear analyzer. Featuring nonlinear component characterization, new nonlinear scattering parameters called X-parameters, and nonlinear pulse envelope domain capabilities, it is ideal for R&D engineers and scientists researching and designing active RF components.

Tools specifically designed to make nonlinear measurements are required to accurately characterize the nonlinear behavior of active devices, particularly high-power amplifiers and frequency doublers. By understanding and being able to control and minimize a device's nonlinear behavior, engineers can create linear high-power solutions. Currently available tools and models for accomplishing this task can be difficult to use and often do not provide the required information. Agilent's new NVNA capability provides a fast and powerful approach to solving this challenge, enabling characterization of a device's nonlinear behavior with the highest level of accuracy, speed and ease-of-use in the industry.

The NVNA capability is based on a standard PNA-X microwave network analyzer and therefore provides all the power, flexibility and measurement capability of the PNA-X for linear measurements. It can then easily switch into the NVNA mode for nonlinear measurements.

One of the NVNA's key capabilities is its ability to measure the calibrated amplitude and cross-frequency relative phase of measured spectra from 10 MHz to 26.5 GHz. Component characterization is enabled by measuring and displaying both the amplitude and phase of the full spectra -- fundamental, harmonics and cross-frequency products -- in the familiar and powerful PNA-X network analyzer. As a result, engineers are now able to better understand and more deterministically control the nonlinear behavior of their device under test (DUT). Data can be displayed in time, frequency, power or user-defined custom domains, providing additional insight into the nonlinear behavior of their components.

Another key feature of the new NVNA capability is its ability to provide nonlinear scattering parameters called X-parameters. Such functionality extends linear scattering parameters into the nonlinear operating region and enables an accurate portrayal of both nonlinear device and cascaded nonlinear device behavior using measurement-based data. The X-parameters can be used in Agilent's Advanced Design System to accurately simulate and design using nonlinear components, module and systems. The result is the highest level of insight into nonlinear DUT behavior, making the NVNA capability especially useful for scientists researching new RF technologies and engineers involved in designing today's high-performance active devices.

The NVNA also provides a nonlinear pulse-envelope domain measurement, which enables researchers to gain a deeper understanding of the memory effects exhibited by their devices by displaying the harmonic pulse envelopes. Both the amplitude and phase of the pulse can be displayed in the time domain, which shows the changes over time.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

Agilent's new nonlinear vector network analyzer options for the Agilent N5242A PNA-X microwave network analyzer are available now. Option pricing starts at $56,000.

More information about the nonlinear vector network analyzer capability is available at A photo of this new software option is available at

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world's premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 19,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $5.4 billion in fiscal 2007. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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