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Intermodulation or intermodulation distortion (IMD) is the amplitude modulation of signals containing two or more different frequencies in a system with nonlinearities. The intermodulation between each frequency component will form additional signals at frequencies that are not just at harmonic frequencies (integer multiples) of either, but also at the sum and difference frequencies of the original frequencies and at multiples of those sum and difference frequencies.

Intermodulation is caused by non-linear behaviour of the signal processing being used. The theoretical outcome of these non-linearities can be calculated by generating a Volterra series of the characteristic, while the usual approximation of those non-linearities is obtained by generating a Taylor series.

Intermodulation is rarely desirable in radio or audio processing, as it creates unwanted spurious emissions, often in the form of sidebands. For radio transmissions this increases the occupied bandwidth, leading to adjacent channel interference, which can reduce audio clarity or increase spectrum usage. It should not be confused with harmonic distortion (which has common musical applications), nor with intentional modulation (such as a frequency mixer in superheterodyne receivers) where signals to be modulated are presented to an intentional nonlinear element (multiplied) (see non-linear mixers such as mixer diodes and even single-transistor oscillator-mixer circuits). In audio, the intermodulation products are nonharmonically related to the input frequencies and therefore "off-key" with respect to the common Western musical scale.

PIM Testing

IEC 62037 is the international standard for PIM testing and gives specific details as to PIM measurement setups. This standard (IEC 62037) specifies the use of two +43 dBm (20W)tones as the industry standard test power for PIM testing. This power level has been used by RF equipment manufactures for more than a decade to establish PASS / FAIL specifications for RF components.


Anritsu business expansion has occurred chiefly in the information and communication field. The company's flagship measuring instrument business provides products and services indispensable to the development, manufacture and maintenance of a range of communication systems as typified in mobile phones and the Internet on a global scale. In addition, Anritsu technologies have incorporated into a range of products in other fields, such as IP network equipment, inspection equipment for food and pharmaceutical products, and precision measuring instruments for electronic component.


With a foundation afforded by the "Measuring Technologies" accumulated over its history of more than 110 years, Anritsu will continue to contribute to the realization of a safe, secure and comfortable society.

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Anritsu MW82119A PIM Master

Anritsu MW82119A PIM Master

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