Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Small, low-noise oscillator may help in surveillance

19.09.2006
A new design for a microwave oscillator that is smaller, simpler, and produces clearer signals at a single frequency than comparable devices has been invented at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Applications could include homeland security (e.g., surveillance of radio traffic for anomalous signals, or high-resolution digital imaging radar on unmanned aircraft), telecommunications (e.g., maintaining separation between frequencies in high-bandwidth networks), and perhaps even consumer devices (e.g., satellite television downlinks).

A patent was issued recently* for the NIST oscillator, which is about the size of a roll of 35 mm camera film. NIST researchers have built five prototypes on test fixtures, which offer several-orders-of-magnitude reductions in various types of self-generated signal interference, or noise, compared to typical commercial oscillators, resulting in improved frequency stability, according to David Howe, one of the inventors. In addition, the simple design reduces costs and improves reliability, while consuming less power than other oscillators of comparable signal purity. The small size could be an advantage on some surveillance platforms.

Microwave oscillators are used as reference or clock signals in many high-precision technologies. Through control of temperature and other variables, the oscillators produce a desired signal at one narrowly defined frequency while suppressing random, electronically induced "noise" generated by components. In the best microwave oscillators, the signal typically is amplified inside a metal cavity containing a solid insulating material that internally sustains microwaves and radio waves with minimal loss, especially at cryogenic temperatures, an expensive and complex design. By contrast, the NIST oscillator uses an ultra-stiff ceramic manifold that supports a single frequency with either a vacuum or air as the insulating medium.

The NIST device operates at high signal power (many watts) without the noise penalty found in the conventional design just described. The technique maintains such a stable frequency that it can overcome or compensate for self-generated noise produced by components such as amplifiers that sustain oscillation. NIST researchers continue to work on improvements, hoping to make the technology more tolerant of vibrations such as those from aircraft, field radars, and even sub-audible vibrations in buildings.

Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

nachricht New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot
26.04.2017 | Royal Astronomical Society

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>