Article Highlight | 10-Nov-2023

KRISs establishes electromagnetic wave measurement standard to secure 6G leadership

Impedance measurement standard has been developed in the sub-Terahertz frequency band for 6G, marking the first international comparison

National Research Council of Science & Technology

# The Korean government aims to commercialize 6G by 2028, with a total investment of 1 trillion KRW in the related research, leading to increased interest in the frequencies intended for 6G. However, the lack of electromagnetic wave measurement standards in the sub-Terahertz frequency range, a promising candidate for 6G, makes it challenging to verify technological reliability.


The Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS, President Hyun-min Park) has developed an electromagnetic wave measurement standard for a candidate frequency band of 6G.


The newly developed standard pertains to the electromagnetic impedance* of the D-band (110–170 GHz), which shows promise as a 6G candidate frequency band. This is one of the essential standards among electromagnetic wave measurement standards, serving as a criterion for peformance evaluation in fields where electromagnetic waves are utilized, such as communication and defense.
* Impedance: A fundamental value in electromagnetic wave measurement that indicates the degree of resistance encountered as electromagnetic waves propagate.


The frequency range to be used for 6G has not been decided yet. However, the high-frequency range is considered suitable for the fast transmission of large-capacity data because the higher the frequency range, the broader the communication bandwidth in general. It is akin to how the 16-lane roads can handle more traffic than the two-lane roads. The D-band frequency, corresponding to the sub-Terahertz** range among high-frequency bands, has come under the spotlight as a candidate frequency for 6G. This is because it experiences minimal losses due to water vapor or oxygen and can transmit a large number of signals over a wide bandwidth, both distantly and uniformly.
** Sub-Terahertz: A frequency range of 100–300 GHz, drawing attention as a candidate frequency for 6G that enables 1 TB transmission per second.


The Electromagnetic Wave Metrology Group at KRISS has established an electromagentic wave impedance measurement standard for the D-band, becoming the third in the world after Japan and Germany. Moreover, the international equivalence has been secured through the comparison with Germany. This marks the first international comparison for impedance measurement standards above 110 GHz.


The primary frequency range for 5G communication is below 30 GHz, and the established electromagnetic wave measurement standards have been confined to frequencies below 110 GHz. Even if 6G-related components or parts usable above the D-band are developed, there has been a lack of standards for performance evaluation.


The development of new standard enables the verification of the performance of various 6G-related components and parts with high reliability. This standard is applicable not only to 6G but also to all fields utilizing electromagnetic waves at D-band frequencies, including defense radar systems.


KRISS has developed its own D-band impedance calibration device to distribute the newly developed electromagnetic wave standard to the industrial sector. Previously, circuit analyzers used for impedance measurements had to be calibrated with expensive imported device. However, with this domestication, more precise measurement standards can now be provided to the industry at significantly reduced costs.


Dr. Jae-Yong Kwon, a head of the Electromagnetic Wave Metrology Group, said, “The development of the new standard and the domestication of calibration device will help Korea secure international credibility for domestic 6G technology. We will establish additional electromagnetic wave measurement standards for RF power, attenuation, antennas, and more, and continue follow-up research up to the 300 GHz frequency band, allowing stable adaptation to 6G.”


Such follow-up research has not yet been explored internationally, and the Electromagnetic Wave Metrology Group at KRISS has received collaboration proposals from leading countries such as Germany and the United States. KRISS expects to continue research for securing Korea's leadership in 6G technology by working closely with its industrial and academic partners, including LG Electronics and KAIST.



Supported by KRISS, the results of this study were published in the international journal IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement (IF: 5.6) in July 2023.

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