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Characterization of measurement systems and procedures for THz communication systems in the DFG research unit METERACOM

Working group 2.25



The METERACOM (Metrology for THz Communications) project will pave the way for the future developments in wireless communications systems at THz frequencies. The THz bands will be necessary for future communications as signal transmission bandwidth is drastically increasing in the long term. Metrology at THz frequencies is still in an early stage, and the challenge is represented by measuring different parameters, while frequency and path loss is much higher than in the lower frequency bands. METERACOM addresses the grand challenge of metrology in THz communication measurements systematically, in four distinct areas:

  • Traceability to the International System of Units (SI)
  • Characterization of the measurement system itself
  • Metrological characterization of the RF components and the propagation channel
  • Measurements required for enabling the functionality of THz communications


At PTB different tasks in the sub-projects T, A1, and A2 are covered:

  • Calculating the uncertainties related to the primary standards for vector network analysis (VNA), to enable a traceable characterization of channel sounder components, and the characterization of waveguide artefacts using a VNA.
  • Determining the behavior of the transmission channel, including a comparison of channel sounder measurements with VNA based propagation measurements by providing repeatable test scenarios.
  • Investigating the impact of noise and the limitations due to electronic hardware to identify the optimum modulation and constellation formats for maximum bit efficiency.
  • Analyzing the accuracy of optical sampling systems and comparing electrical sampling methods with optical sampling approaches.
  • Determination of the transfer function of the optical sampling using full waveform metrology. This includes developing necessary regularization functions, inter- and extrapolation techniques, baseline identification techniques, and Fourier transform windows.
  • The accuracy of the transfer function of optical modulators will be analyzed and the methods' residual errors will be determined, the goal is a full waveform metrology representation of the transfer function including the covariance matrix.
  • Calibration of antennas, antenna arrays, and rotational antennas, as well as the characterization of integrated phased arrays for the communication system and for channel sounding.


Figure: Measurement Setup for antenna calibration at THz frequencies.

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