The new method improves accuracy in calibrations of oscilloscopes, common test instruments that measure voltage in communications and electronics devices, and potentially could boost performance and save money in other fields ranging from medical testing to structural analysis to remote sensing.
A waveform can take many different shapes, from staircase steps to irregular curves. A waveform typically is described by a single number—some key parameter of interest in a particular application. For example, engineers have described waveforms using terms such as pulse duration, or transition time between the levels representing '0' and '1' (the binary code used in digital electronics). But waveforms can be diverse and complex, especially in advanced high-speed devices, and a traditional analysis may not distinguish between similar shapes that differ in subtle ways. The result can be signal mistakes (a 1 mistaken for a 0, for instance) or misidentification of defects.
NIST's new calibration method* defines waveforms completely, providing both signal reading and measurement uncertainty at regular intervals along the entire wave, and for the first time makes waveform calibrations traceable to fundamental physics. The mathematics-intensive method is laborious and currently is performed only at NIST (which has more than 750 oscilloscopes), but the developers plan to write a software program that will automate the technique and make it transferable to other users.
The new method offers NIST calibration customers, including major manufacturers and the military, more comprehensive characterization of a greater variety of waveforms, and helps to meet current and future demands for measurements at ever-higher frequencies, data rates, and bandwidths. The impact could be far reaching. The global market for oscilloscopes is $1.2 billion. Anecdotal data suggest that for one product alone, Ethernet optical fiber transceivers, industry could save tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars through manufacturing innovations (such as the new NIST method) that reduce component reject rates and/or boost yields.
Of particular interest to scientists and engineers, the NIST calibration method incorporates new techniques for quantifying errors in waveform measurements. This allows, for the first time, accurate transfer of measurement uncertainties between the time domain (results arranged by time) and the frequency domain (the same data arranged by frequency). Researchers in many fields have long used a technique called "Fourier transform," which reveals patterns in a sequence of numbers, to transfer data from the time domain to the frequency domain. "The new NIST method is, in effect, a Fourier transform for uncertainty," says NIST physicist Paul Hale.
Although the new method was developed for common lab test instruments, it also may have applications in measuring other types of waveforms, such as those generated in electrocardiograms for medical testing, ultrasound diagnostics of structural defects and failures, speech recognition, seismology and other remote sensing activities.
* P. Hale, A. Dienstfrey, J.C.M. Wang, D.F. Williams, A. Lewandowski, D.A. Keenan and T.S. Clement. Traceable waveform calibration with a covariance-based uncertainty analysis. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement. Vol. 58, No. 10. Oct.
Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University
TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy