Terahertz power meter offers high accuracy

May 18, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In most application fields, an accuracy of ±8% might not be overwhelming, but when it comes to terahertz (THz) field strength, ±8% is impressive. Chip test equipment manufacturer Advantest now offers a terahertz power meter that features such an accuracy. Potential customers are expected in the area of commercial advanced engineering and research institutions.

The high measurement accuracy of the TAS5500 is based on the Japanese national standard for infrared power measurement, recalibrated for the THz region with measurement data accumulated by Advantest during the company's years of developing THz analysis equipment. With national and international standards for terahertz wavelengths and energies yet to be established, researchers and developers in the terahertz arena have had difficulty ascertaining the reliability and accuracy of measured values. Advantest’s new power meter provides a solution to this challenge. The TAS5500 targets R&D professionals in the fields of high-performance terahertz sources, terahertz communications, and many others.

The TAS5500 has been calibrated with reference to the AIST national power standard for infrared waves of 10.6um. Advantest has expanded the measurement range of this standard to the terahertz region by calculating the difference in heat generated when terahertz waves vs. infrared waves are absorbed. This calibration enables the TAS5500 to deliver accurate power measurement.

The amount of heat absorbed by a calorimeter varies, depending on the type of electromagnetic wave absorber used and the wavelength of the input waves, potentially creating measurement uncertainty. The TAS5500 utilizes an absorber with a steady absorption ratio, and relies on abundant absorption data for each specific wavelength accumulated by Advantest during the company’s terahertz analysis system R&D activities, improving measurement stability and accuracy. Advantest offers TAS5500 users an optional and semiannual calibration service to ensure continuous measurement accuracy. Separate fees apply.

The TAS5500 boasts a compact form factor of 115 mm (W) x 67 mm (D) x 79 mm (H) and weighs just 900 grams. It connects to the user’s PC via USB port for ease of usability. The instrument will ship in June 2014 at a projected price of 1.8 million (about €12.900).