Electronic Design

Analyzer Quickly Characterizes Power Devices

Power devices represent one of the fastest-growing markets in the semiconductor industry. It’s not hard to see why, with the explosion of interest in saving energy in everything from hybrid/electric vehicles, industrial equipment, and mass transportation to consumer electronics. Whatever the application, it’s critical to quickly and accurately characterize power devices to ensure that they meet the specifications.

Agilent’s answer to this need, its B1505A power device analyzer/curve tracer, has been on the market for some time. Given the new prominence of energy savings in many markets, a refresh of the instrument was in order. The previous version of the B1505A had a range of 3 kV and 40 A, which covered only a small section of the potential market.

The upgraded B1505A boasts a significantly expanded range (see the figure). Enhancements include a wide I/V range with high precision (up to 1500 A/10 kV), a medium-current measurement with high-voltage bias (500 mA at 1200 V, for example), a micro-ohm-level resistance measurement capability, and a sub-pico-amp level current measurement. All of these capabilities are traceable to international standards. The system also handles high peak power levels (22.5 kW for high current and 900 W for high voltage) to ensure complete characterization of most power semiconductors.


Agilent’s B1505A power device analyzer/curve tracer accurately evaluates and characterizes power devices at up to 10 kV and 1500 A.

Extensive device evaluation capabilities include high-power pulsed measurements down to 10 µs, a temperature measurement capability, and a gallium-nitride (GaN) current collapse-effect measurement, which is a challenging measurement involving the shift in drain current in GaN devices upon application of a high voltage. These capabilities help speed research and development cycles.

The N1265A test fixture accommodates the new higher voltages and currents while adding an oscilloscope view that enables real-time verification of I/V waveforms on multiple device terminals. They also eliminate the need to use an external oscilloscope to verify the waveform applied to the device under test (DUT). The scope view takes advantage of two independent analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) in each measurement channel. These ADCs enable accurate display of waveforms with pulse widths down to 10 µs.

Prices for the enhanced B1505A power device analyzer/curve tracer start at $45,000. A preconfigured version, the B1505AP, comes with all necessary cables and accessories and starts at $220,000.

Agilent Technologies

TAGS: Components
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