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Understanding PSDS (Precision Spherical Dipole Source) system

Supplier: Test and Measurement Australia
07 December, 2012

The Precision Spherical Dipole System (PSDS) is a system especially designed to allow electromagnetic field professionals to create accurate and repeatable electromagnetic fields.

There are no antenna factors (often with a +/- 2 dB accuracy) and the performance of the PSDS is completely independent of the calibration of the signal source.

This PSDS is based on original work performed at National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), but the unit has been redesigned to allow improved radiated field performance, increased frequency range, easier usability, improved robustness, and longer operational utility. The original design was well tested, both in the NIST laboratories and by comparison to the theoretical performance of a spherical dipole radiator.

Creating an electric field is quite simple. Any passive antenna (or piece of wire!) when connected to a signal generator will create an electric field. However, creating an electric field with a known level accurately is not trivial! Also, creating an electric field that is repeatable over months and years, and even using different signal generators has been impossible until the creation of the PSDS system.

The PSDS is special because it allows users to create accurate and repeatable electric fields. The accuracy of the PSDS is traceable to NIST and is typically +/- 0.5 dB. The repeatability of the PSDS is typically +/- 0.25 dB. This level of accuracy and repeatability is far beyond what can be achieved with conventional radiating antennas.