Available Technology

Variable Frequency Coherent Hybrid Synthesizer - TRL 9

Frequency Synthesizer Step Sizes as Small as One Hz

The new synthesizer design (originally designed for radio telescopes) is used for local oscillators (LO) with increased tuning resolution and smaller synthesizer steps sizes that will provide greater flexibility and increased capability of existing hardware.

Previous synthesizer designs relied on comb generators that provided a picket fence of frequencies with fixed spacing between pickets. The flexibility of this synthesizer is obtained through the application of variable frequency comb lines where the difference between pickets is allowed to vary in order to provide tuning coverage over the full frequency range.

The evolution of synthesizers for radio astronomy has been to smaller and smaller synthesizer step sizes. The original synthesizers for the NRAO Very Large Baseline Array (VLBA) that this design replaces provided 200/300 MHz step sizes. Synthesizers designed by NRAO and used for the Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array (ALMA) second LO had step sizes of 62.5 MHz. By comparison, this new type of synthesizer can easily provide step sizes of 10 kHz.  Additionally, these new synthesizers can provide step sizes of one hertz or less with only a small increase in complexity.


R E Long

W F Brisken

R D Scott

Patent Number: 
9,306,497; 8,779,814
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